MKR, Channel 7s ratings juggernaut is off and running for 2016. No doubt two million odd Australians will be tuning in, leaving a handful to check-in on Shane Warne floundering about in the jungle hiding from his foundation’s scrutineers over on Channel 10.
It is not my intention to start a regular blog about MKR – heck, I have to have a life – but I might as well have a bit of a look at what we’ve got in store for us.
Our first home restaurant is hosted by Monique and Sarah. They’re a couple of NSW policepersons and the metaphors come thick and fast. They’re a “force’ to be reckoned with, and they can stand the “heat” in the kitchen. Their restaurant is called “Crime and Nourishment” and is decorated in a totally non-intimidating décor of crime scene tape, breath testing units and pop-up signs celebrating 100 years of women in the police force.
Thankfully, the clichés don’t continue into the menu and it is sedate enough. And we can also give thanks that it hasn’t been inspired by their workplace, Mount Druitt Police Station, because their cooking style could easily be influenced by hash cookies and meth labs.
So it’s the usual flurry of activity around the local franchise of the supermarket sponsor, deep breaths at the donning of aprons, the rush to change into appropriate glamourous waitressing garb, readying themselves just in time to greet their guests.
It’s a new bunch, but somehow it’s all a it like we’ve seen them all before.
Cheryl and Matt are from Brisbane. They’re dating. She’s fifty and he’s twenty-six. Ho hum. There was that “Captain and Tenille” couple (also from Queensland) in a recent series. He was the old one and she was a twenty-something with dubious taste in a partner; it’s just a gender switch here. However, despite bonking a boy half her age, Cheryl’s pretty smart. Having noticed that the décor is very “policey” she immediately makes the connection when Monique and Sarah announce they are policewomen. “I knew it! I knew it!” shouts, Cheryl, like she’s just discovered a cure for the Zika virus. Sheer genius.
Rosie and Paige are best mates from South Australia. They are the Shaz and Jacs of 2016 and clearly the ones that everyone will fall in love with and expect to be crappy cooks. Expect them to be the surprise packets.
Anna and Jordan are a mother and son from WA. Another web page said that Jordan is the first openly gay man to appear as a contestant on MKR. I don’t think that can be right. Wasn’t there that bitchy pair of blokes a season or two ago? Anyway, Jordan’s gay and he’s proud to be gay, and that’s great, but I get the vibe from him that he thinks he’s the only gay in the village.
Then there’s Mitch and Laura. They’re brother and sister, and students. Mitch is one of those students who wants to get a job. He wants to be a paramedic when he grows up. Laura is studying some sort of fancy schmancy niche degree (International Cultural Blah-blah something or another blah blah with a mastery of four languages blah blah). This means one of three things:she will probably be a professional student all her life OR she will get so many qualifications she will become some lowly paid university lecture OR she will pursue something totally altruistic like digging toilet trenches in far-flung, famine ravaged corner of the planet. Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with any of these, but they do explain the love of offal, like someone who knows they will always be poor and has to love offal.
It’s not long before the villains of the piece emerge: Zana and Gianni. One of the other couples describe Zana as a Megan Fox look alike. Yep, if Megan Fox was a pretentious mole with lips that could wrap themselves an entire baked snapper. They’re lawyers, don’t you know, and they look down their noses at policepersons, despite the fact that if not for the constabulary, Z&G would have no clients.
The doorbell heralds the arrival of Pete and Manu. Manu must have sprayed himself with some sort of experimental pheremone, because the reaction to his presence is more over the top than usual and I do believe that Laura, Cheryl and Jordan have all left wet patches on their chairs.
So after using blue lights to read the invisible ink on the handwritten (“How bogan!” thinks Zana) menus, the entrée is served.
It’s the usual ritual. Everybody sits around waiting for Manu to complain about a lack of sauce and for Pete to spontaneously combust when some sort of refined carb makes contact with his anointed lips. Sadly, that doesn’t happen and the celebrity chefs pass their judgement. Everything’s delicious except the pastry’s a little crumbly and there’s not much goat’s cheese, thus opening the door for everyone to complain about the lack of rigour in the shortcrust and how the girls could have sourced more industrious goats.
Zana digs through the layers of her tart to make sure that in the end she can’t even say that the presentation is nice, then pulls a face like someone has dropped a shit in her mouth and proclaims to the table that if something’s simple then it has to be done “perfect”. Well, here’s the drill, Zana. “Done” is a verb and needs to be qualified by an adverb, so you have perfectly made a perfect git of yourself.
Back in the kitchen, Monique and Sarah have experienced something akin to the Irish potato famine and their “Salmon with Thrice Cooked Chips” turns into three chips precariously balanced on the back of a piece of Moby Dick. Don’t worry, Monique and Sarah. Maybe they won’t notice.
Zana again emerges as the mouthpiece in her relationship with Gianni. And the mouthpiece speaks and critiques and pouts. “These chips have nearly killed me!” she exclaims. Better luck next time, Monique and Sarah. “I am known for my chips!” she continues, like anybody is impressed. That may have once been true, Zana (I doubt it), but you are quickly becoming known for having a stick up your arse.
The girls retreat to the kitchen to make amends with dessert while the guests seem to be using the props around the restaurant to make an audition tape for a strip-a-gram job.
Thankfully, before someone gets hit in the face by a twirling police baton, Monique and Sarah present their Sticky Fig and Date Pudding with White Chocolate Rum Sauce…and Manu, complains that there is too much sauce. None of this seems to worry Jordan who can’t wait to get a mouth full of sticky date, but Zana’s lips flat-line and she has to hand over to Gianni to bad mouth the dish. “We can do better,” he says. Well, let’s hope you can put your money where Zana’s grotesque, snarling, grammar deficient mouth is.
It’s time for the scoring and it’s sixes all round, even from Giana and Zana, the latter being lucky that the wind didn’t change while they were deliberating in the garden, lest her face look like she is trying to pass a watermelon for eternity.
Manu and Pete give decent assessments, enough to satisfy the girls in blue (yes, did I forget to mention the choice of wardrobe), and just enough to make a few of the others worried.
And so it continues. The viewers are lured into the next episode by the trailer promising kitchen disasters, cooking triumphs, but most importantly the prospect of Zana coming a cropper in that white feathered dress when her Jimmy Choos get wedged six inches deep in the muddy path to whichever bogan hovel she chooses to condescend.
Bring it on.