My Kitchen Rules Recap: Gravlax To Grind

On we go with a special Valentine’s Day episode of MKR, at the (not really) home of Court and Duncan, the only couple in the competition with any affection for each other.

Court begins the day by blithering idiotically about coffee, while cunningly dodging the key issue: what kind of name is “Court”? Court and Duncan are apparently “hipsters”, so…I don’t really know what significance that holds. I mean, I’m not sure what we’re supposed to think about the designation “hipster” in 2017. Should we despise them? Admire them? It’s a mystery, just like Court’s name.

Anyway, Court and Duncan, who drink coffee and own chickens, are shopping at Coles, a favourite hipster haunt. For entree they are making beetroot gravlax. Pete explains to Manu what gravlax is, because Manu probably doesn’t know, not being much of a foodie. For dessert they are making s’more. S’more what? Who knows? Not Manu, who again needs the dish explained to him.

Some quick establishing shots of Melbourne later, and Court and Duncan are off to the butcher to buy the meat for the main. The main is obviously a simpler dish, as Pete feels no need to tell Manu what it is. On the drive home, Court and Duncan debate the ethics of eating two animals in one meal versus eating only one. Duncan thinks it’s fine to eat as many animals as possible, while Court believes you should eat animals one at a time, so she’s practically a vegan.

Back home, Court and Duncan prepare their instant restaurant, which is called “Gastroturf” because they are trying to make their guests feel like they are eating grass while suffering from diarrhoea. Horrible decor implemented, Duncan goes out the back to set fire to some things, and then starts rubbing his meat.

“I always feel something when I’m cooking meat,” says Court, who is incapable of emotion at other times. However, she gets Duncan to skin the fish, because trout makes her sad, so it’s hard to figure out what’s going on with her or what her real name is.

The guests show up, struggling more than ever to find anything interesting to say. Queens of the Stone Age’s “No One Knows” plays as they walk up the street, to denote the fog of ignorance hovering over the group.

“Welcome to Gastroturf,” Court says to the guests, causing Kelsey and Amanda to emit horrific wordless noise for several minutes. Pete and Manu arrives, causing them to do it again. I don’t know when people will learn that providing any kind of stimulus to Kelsey and Amanda is a bad idea.

Court and Duncan reveal their menu, which horrifies Alyse because she hates seafood and also anything that has been touched by human hands. This makes gravlax especially distasteful to her. On the other hand, the promise of marshmallow and chocolate for dessert makes Kelsey and Amanda’s siren go off a bit more.

Controversy strikes, as Josh remarks that he is intimidated by Della, but not by Tully. This is a slightly weird thing to say — especially since Tully is objectively the scarier woman — but everyone at the table kind of overplays their reaction. I mean, the night before Matt pretty much told Amy she was a human pig: Josh will need to work a bit harder to generate real outrage.

In the kitchen Duncan is making something called a “cremo”, which is apparently another word for custard, just like “Court” is another word for whatever Court’s actual name is. But he is no good at making cremo: like everyone else who ever tries making custard on MKR, he has made scrambled eggs. Why doesn’t everyone put scrambled eggs on their dessert menu? It’s clearly much more likely that they’ll end up serving it.

Meanwhile in the dining room Josh confesses that he doesn’t know what gravlax is, bringing shame upon him and his family. Everyone makes fun of the “seafood king” who doesn’t even know what gravlax is, even though it was prominently featured in one of Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events books, which means any reasonably literate person should be aware.

Following Josh’s public humiliation, the guests cruelly threaten Alyse with vicious descriptions of trout. Alyse can’t remember what she said about fish previously, and struggles to keep her story straight. Her whole alibi is falling apart and they’re closer than ever to nailing her.

Gravlax is served, surprising Josh, who had assumed it was some kind of bulletproof fabric. Also the dish is basically a salad with a minuscule slice of fish buried deep beneath it and is clearly a load of crap.

Manu thinks the fish was delicious, or something that sounds like delicious. But he is disappointed there is so little of it. He asks Court and Duncan if they ran out of fish. Court and Duncan mumble something inaudible. I rewind to hear what they said. I still can’t hear. I rewind again and turn the volume up. They said, I think, “We’ve got so much of it upstairs”. Manu is furious. How DARE these filthy hipsters deny him the gravlax he has been craving? He is just about ready to throw in this whole goddamn farce: if you can’t trust people not to keep gravlax from you, what’s the fucking point?

Meanwhile Alyse attempts to eat the gravlax without vomiting or revealing that actually she loves fish and eats it for every meal. Josh angrily denounces her deception while the guests agree that there wasn’t enough fish on the plate. Josh adds that the fish wasn’t all that good anyway, but he doesn’t even know what gravlax is, all his credibility is gone.

In the kitchen, Court and Duncan prepare their lamb ribs, being careful to cook enough to let Manu stuff his enormous greedy face.

In the dining room the guests quiz Josh on what his favourite thing to do with fish is, an extremely dangerous question to ask a man as perverted as Josh. Apparently, this master of seafood doesn’t really do anything with fish: according to him, he “gets it so fresh” that he basically just puts some butter on it, rubs it all over his naked body, and serves it. That’s how all the best potential male models cook fish.

For the first time tonight, Dave and Albert suddenly start talking. They don’t say anything very funny, but nevertheless Kelsey and Amanda explode into a frenzy of hysterical screeching, causing thousands of parrots to surround the house, seeking mates. Kelsey then reveals that what she really wants to do is become an actress, in which case why is she on this show? Everyone has a good laugh about the thought of Kelsey being on Home and Away and learning to read so she can memorise her lines, and then Josh mentions Alf Stewart and everyone goes deathly silent. Too soon, Josh. Too soon.

Main is served. Tully declares herself “frothin’”, which either means she’s looking forward to eating the ribs, or she’s looking forward to having sex with the ribs. The judges try the ribs, which probably have Pete in raptures, as nothing says paleolithic like smoky ribs.

“It was bloody delicious!” Pete exclaims, meaning that the blood was delicious. Court immediately bursts into tear, remembering how a bloody delicious piece of lamb killed her parents. He declares it the best piece of meat he’s had in eight years of competition, consigning the inept oxygen thieves of previous instant restaurants to the cesspit of history. Manu agrees, I think. He sounds fairly happy.

Albert and Dave are now feeling under pressure as they realise that unlike them, the other teams can actually cook. Della and Tully, who are really going against the show’s grain with their whole “decent human beings” act, loved the ribs. Alyse and Matt, who are in no way going against the grain, did not. Alyse bitches about cumin seeds. Matt bitches about dryness — probably not for the first time in his life. Josh, who ate every single piece of the meat, absolutely hated it, the lying sardine-scented little creep. Amy probably has an opinion too, but god only knows. Kelsey and Amanda squawk their approval.

It is time to prepare dessert, the “s’more”, a delicious dessert invented in America by people who were looking for a tasty treat that could be made without doing anything difficult or impressive in any way. Duncan is determined to include his cremo, and to keep saying “cremo” as much as he can. He doesn’t have time for his cremo to set, so he cheats with gelatin — one of the bible’s Seven Deadly Sins. They have basically made a deconstructed s’more, which is a s’more that takes less effort to make.

Dessert is served. Della thinks the ratios are wrong. Josh objects to the fact that the marshmallow isn’t toasted, because he’s a complete twat.

“The first few bites and I was like, mm, it’s nice,” says Manu, “and then I couldn’t do any more.” He has been living a lie and he cannot, in good conscience, go on. He has to admit that he’s not French.

Dammit, all he’s doing is bitching about the dessert. And so is everyone else. Such a cliche. Except Della and Tully, who are nice about the marshmallow. Like they say, if you can’t find anything nice to say…you’re probably Alyse.

Time for the scores, and finally Josh lets Amy talk a bit. Albert and Dave give them three out of ten. THREE. What a goddamn joke. Kelsey and Amanda give them a five, which is freaking harsh itself. Even Alyse and Matt give them a six. What the hell are Albert and Dave thinking? When did they become such hard-arsed bastards? Court and Duncan get 26 from the guests, proving the old adage, “fuck the guests in the ear”.

Pete opens his remarks by saying that he’s frustrated, and I think most of us would be if we were Pete. A non-frustrated man would not be making these life choices. Anyway, judges’ scores, blah blah, mediocre entree, outstanding main, mediocre dessert, Court does a chicken dance for no reason, and so forth. Thirty-six from the judges, and a total of 62, which means they’ve beaten Albert and Dave, so suck it you stingy bastards.

Tune in tomorrow, when Josh embarrasses himself in a very funny way.

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