Here it is then: the episode we’ve all been waiting for. If we are regular My Kitchen Rules viewers. Given that this is the nature of regular TV-watching. “A good time descends into chaos as some reveal a dark side” says the Seven website, which is a good description of almost every dinner party ever held, but being on TV adds a extra frisson I suppose.
“Previously on My Kitchen Rules…” the narrator is still having a lot of trouble with his waterworks as he runs through the incredibly mediocre scores achieved by teams so far. A clip of David saying “hustlers keep fighting” reminds us of the odd tendency of MKR contestants to believe there is something they can do to change their score after their instant restaurant is complete.
Apparently tonight will go down in the history of My Kitchen Rules. Which every episode does, of course, by definition. So nothing very interesting there.
We’re in Perth, Western Australia, and Bek and Ash’s theme song is “Single Ladies”, because Bek and Ash are…single ladies. So that’s apt I guess. Better than the completely inexplicable choice of “Shut Up And Dance” for David and Betty, who have at no point been seeing either dancing or shutting up. They are starting the day by being instructed by the show producers to browse Tinder, in case the viewing audience fails to acknowledge the massive neon signs reading “DESPERATE WOMEN” that the show has erected behind Bek and Ash in every shot.
Cut to David and Betty, who do not feel good being on the bottom of the leaderboard. It “makes us want to hustle more,” says David, continuing to fail to grasp the nature of the show. Why won’t the producers force David to explain what he means by “hustle”? Define your terms or fuck off, David.
Bek and Ash are taking too long to shop, mainly because they allocate half an hour’s raucuous-giggling time to every person they buy an ingredient from. Also, they went to Fremantle for snapper for no reason whatsoever. They rush to Coles to the strains of the worst cover of “Bad Reputation” ever recorded.
Pete looks at the menu. “Entree: roasted vegetable tart with balsamic glaze,” says Pete. “The hero of the entree is definitely the tart,” he observes with stunning insight. The ability to identify the only item in a dish as the main part of the dish is what separates the expert culinary judges from the rest of us.
Cut to Amy and Tyson. “I really hope Bek and Ash are the challenge I’ve been waiting for,” lies Tyson. The only challenge he’s been waiting for is a psychopathic personality disorder diagnosis test.
Bek and Ash’s instant restaurant is titled, “Wild Fields”, a name as stupid as the reason for choosing it. “We’ve got lots of dreamcatchers which I think really embodies the free-spirited vibe we’re going for,” says Bek, doing an uncanny impression of an idiot. “They’re actually bad luck in some customs,” interjects Ash, and she’s right: for example, in every culture on earth, entering a house where the hosts put up dreamcatchers is considered an omen of an extremely annoying evening.
Ash explains the risk of cutting vegetables small — they might lose their flavour. Although if you were worried about flavour, why would you make a vegetable tart in the first place?
The ladies wander off to get changed, and return to discover that there are only twenty minutes till guests arrive, and they’ve done pretty much nothing. But I guess the guests can occupy themselves catching dreams while they wait.
The guests show up. “We might have to resort to playing strategy,” says David, in the manner of someone who has never seen this show in his life. Strategy doesn’t exist on MKR. Strategy is what people talk about when they’ve run completely dry. Strategy is a mirage. Strategy is a filthy lie told to children to indoctrinate them into irrational belief in the MKR lifestyle.
As the guests enter Bek and Ash’s hippie nightmare-scape, Kyle attempts to conceal his enormous erection while Karen and Ros make various high-pitched bird calls.
“I definitely wouldn’t call myself a festival person,” says Tyson, unnecessarily including the word “festival” in his sentence. Amy agrees, because festivals have people at them.
The guests discuss whether they expect good food from Bek and Ash. David uses the word “hustle” incorrectly once more.
Bek and Ash are cooking, which is the most boring part of the show, but slightly more interesting this time because they are so clearly terrible at it. “If this seasoning isn’t perfect, we’re not going to get a ten,” they say, hilariously. These women are not going to get a ten even if they bake Bo Derek directly into the tart crust. “The last thing I want to hear is ‘this wasn’t seasoned properly’,” says Bek, taking a wildly optimistic view of what she’s likely to hear tonight.
The judges arrive. “You look good tonight,” Pete says to Manu, in violation of Channel Seven workplace harassment policy. He actually sounds pretty surprised as he says it: clearly Pete thinks Manu usually looks like shit. “Welcome to our home,” says Bek, cleverly keeping up the pretence that this is the house they actually live in.
Bek and Ash present their menus to the guests. “When turning over the menu it doesn’t scream out intrigue and inspire me,” says Tyson, as oil leaks from his main processing unit. On the other hand, Ros feels excited about it, but then you get the feeling Ros would get excited about finding an ant in her sink.
David declares himself “not excited” about the menu, in that cute way that MKR losers have of acting as if everyone in the room doesn’t know exactly what they’re doing. Tim says that David has started “hustling”, proving that the ignorance of what the word “hustle” means is not restricted to David.
In the kitchen, Bek and Ash have fucked up their pastry. They add more milk, which works, in their rather uninformed opinion. The tarts are taking longer than they expected. The vegetable tarts, I mean. I mean, the vegetable tarts that are being served as food.
“I love vegetables,” says Kyle. That’s right — the beard is a lie. Tim chips in to observe that if Bek and Ash get everything right, they could go to the top. Yes, Tim. That is how it works. Well done for getting your head around it.
In the kitchen, the leeks should be crispy, but they are not. Disaster! Serves them right for serving leeks. Meanwhile Tyson is whining about pastry and Damo is babbling about shortcrust and David admits that it’s good for them if Bek and Ash fail. He apparently thinks this is “strategy”: he and Betty are banging on about “shaking the game up”, which is a phrase which here means, “stating the blindingly obvious and then sipping some wine”. Amy thinks David and Betty would do anything to get off the bottom of the leaderboard. “They’ve probably got voodoo dolls,” she chuckles, and it’s true — David and Betty will do anything as long as it has no effect.
Bek and Ash are disappointed with their entree, but in fairness the only thing that’s gone wrong with it is the preparation and cooking of the ingredients. They serve it up, and Kyle is looking forward to it, but then Kyle looks forward to everything because he has a mutant metabolism and must gorge himself every fifteen minutes or his body will shut down.
The judges taste the entree. They refrain from vomiting, but only just. “From the looks on their faces, I think they absolutely hate this dish,” says Ash, who as a dental nurse is familiar with how people look when they’re in intense agony.
I just noticed that Bek and Ash’s team name, on screen, is actually “Flirty Flatmates”. Jesus Christ.
Anyway, the judges have eaten the entree and have a longing for death written all over their faces. Manu tells Bek and Ash that he likes garlic, but not raw. At least I think that’s what he told them. It sounded kind of like that. All he can taste is garlic. They chopped the vegetables too small — remember how they were worried about that? Nice foreshadowing of your own failure, ladies. Pete and Manu are generally baffled by Bek and Ash’s decision-making: like their decision to be incredibly bad at cooking. Why would you choose to be so incompetent? It’s a mystery. “Bon appetit,” says Manu, a pretty passive-aggressive thing to say to people when you’ve already told them the food is shit.
Everyone at the table is immediately punched in the face by Bek and Ash’s horrible garlic tarts. “I don’t think we’ll be getting attacked by vampires tonight,” says Kyle, implying that most nights, he is. Karen says she enjoyed the dish and would eat it again, proving, if we needed proof, that Karen actually has no tastebuds. Betty, on the other hand, says she wouldn’t order it again, seemingly forgetting that she didn’t order it this time — it was just given to her.
“There were elements I really liked,” says Amy. “It presented beautifully,” says Tyson. Say what you like about Amy and Tyson, but it’s pretty hilarious how gleefully they troll Betty and David.
Betty is furious. “If you don’t like it just say you don’t like it!” she whines desperately at Amy and Tyson, apparently believing she has a better chance of getting off the bottom of the leaderboard if everyone starts hating her. “We’re going to call people at the table out if they’re not speaking their mind,” says David, who has already indicated that he will be lying his dumb head off in the name of “strategy”.
“I’m getting angry at the fact that you guys are beating around the bush!” Betty explodes, but she’s not really: she’s actually angry at the fact that David keeps accidentally walking in on her while she’s having a shower. “Let’s be honest — I didn’t like it!” she bawls. Amy makes the quite mild observation that if people say different things about a dish it might be because they have different opinions on it. Damo and Caz make some vague observations about gloves being off as a substitute for having personalities. “Hashtag sorry not sorry,” says Betty, never letting us forget what a dickhead she is.
In the kitchen, Bek and Ash continue to fight their depressing battle against their own inadequacy. “We need to make sure this fish is cooked to perfection,” says Ash, with an amazing mastery of dramatic irony. Her butter is burning, which is weird because she said a minute ago that she was using olive oil to prevent the butter burning. It’s almost like she’s really crap at this or something.
In the dining room, everyone is agreed that eating good fish is good but eating fish that is bad is less good than that. Caz opines that if their fish fails, it will be a negative for Bek and Ash, as she gradually begins to fade from existence.
In the kitchen, Ash is saying over and over again that she thinks the heat is too high. After the fifteenth or sixteenth time making this observation, she begins to seriously consider lowering the heat. But she does not want to be hasty.
This is the kind of episode that really tears a viewer apart. Obviously, we want the hilarity of Bek and Ash failing horribly, but we also want David and Betty to be unhappy. What side do we pick here?
Anyway, the show must go on. “The food so far has been average. The scores reflect that,” says Tyson, a statement of the mathematically obvious that shouldn’t be that controversial, but somehow is. “Hashtag eyerolls,” says Betty: does she actually think that’s an endearing way of behaving?
David denies the food has been average. “We got scores of seven: seven is above average,” he says, clearly confused and naive. David and Betty accuse Amy and Tyson of “playing games”, the thing that they have been boasting about doing for this entire episode.
In the kitchen Bek and Ash are deeply depressed about their disgusting fish. They’ve tried high heat, they’ve tried low heat, nothing is working. Maybe they should have practised by cooking something at some point in their life before tonight?
It’s now 90 minutes since entree, and because they haven’t seen what the main looks like, the guests are really starting to feel hungry. Bek and Ash are giving the fish another go, figuring that if they try literally every way to cook a fish, eventually they’ll accidentally find the right way. “I’m making the dressing,” says Bek, in the voice of someone announcing that they are going to be hanged in fifteen minutes.
Two hours since entree, and Kyle is attempting to lighten the mood by…I don’t actually know what he’s doing. It’s very loud, anyway. He makes Karen do an impression of a fish, to which Karen responds by doing an impression of a crocodile. Karen is really starting to worry me.
In the kitchen Bek and Ash are finally conceding the wisdom of the old chef’s maxim: “better to serve inedible shit than put your head in the oven”. “I feel sick to my stomach about taking this plate out,” says Bek, which is a bit insensitive to say when there’s a whole room of people about to feel genuinely sick to their stomachs. Too soon, Bek.
“It’s an absolute disaster,” Bek says. “We have not had one single part of it go right.” This is a clever way of saying, “we have not done anything right.”
Bek and Ash walk into the dining room and place their pathetic little slabs of gross fish in front of everyone in what can only be called an act of sadism. They said they chose to press on rather than give up because they’re “not quitters”, but that’s a selfish attitude, because it’s not them who have to eat it.
“I don’t think I’ve ever had a dish like this in the competition,” says Pete, who usually only eats revolting crap in his private life as part of the paleo diet. “You girls are intelligent,” he goes on, without evidence. The fish is awful, the salad isn’t dressed, everything is disgusting, and the really amazing thing is that this nightmare took these women over two hours to achieve.
Bek and Ash are shattered that they disappointed the judges, although if they’re disappointed, that’s on them: there was no rational reason to expect them to have any ability.
Manu doesn’t even bother saying “bon appetit”.
“I’m like, David, we’re not on the bottom of the leaderboard anymore,” says Betty. Hopefully this means she’ll stop being such a bitch to everyone.
In the kitchen, Bek and Ash are determined to heroically bounce back with a brilliant dessert, and so naturally they immediately fuck their dessert up, because if we have learnt one thing about Bek and Ash, it is that they are terrible at everything. Bek screws up the chocolate sauce due to her inability to distinguish between teaspoons and tablespoons, and starts praying for a truck to drive through the kitchen. It’s a reasonable wish: pick any random truck off the highway and whatever it’s carrying will taste better than whatever these two cook.
The Cointreau in the chocolate sauce has failed, the custard looks like scrambled eggs, and the profiteroles have collapsed. Situation normal. In the dining room Kyle says he’s looking forward to seeing what they plate up, making him either a liar or a lunatic.
The custard is not working, and it might be a smart move to simply tell the guests that dessert is scrambled eggs. Bek says she’s “this close” to saying, “I’m sorry, you can’t have dessert, we’re walking”. This would be both clever and kind to the guests. Yet they refuse to follow this wise course.
In the dining room Amy tells the other guests that Tyson is incapable of controlling his violent rage, and everyone makes jokes about it, not realising how swiftly their deaths will come at his hands. Assuming that dessert doesn’t kill them first.
Bek and Ash are hoping the flavours are there in the custard, which just goes to show what nonsense “hope” is. They serve dessert, and it’s every bit as unimpressive as experience suggested it would have to be. It looks pathetic, it is pathetic, and you have to feel sorry for Bek and Ash. Not really though, it’s pretty funny.
Pete says dessert is the best dish of the night, which produces a burst of inspiring music on the soundtrack, although even the band doesn’t sound too enthusiastic. Manu brings the mood of depressing minor cheer down by noting what a pile of garbage dessert objectively is. Everyone agrees. David says it tastes like scrambled eggs that someone’s spilt orange juice on — that actually doesn’t sound too bad though.
“I honestly can’t see much hope for us,” says Ash, and it’s possible this remark applies only to the competition. The scores are delivered, and are as hilarious as you might expect. What’s surprising is how generous they are: mostly threes and even a four, when all indicators were that this was a dinner that would be lucky to get zero. The guests give a combined score of seventeen out of fifty, the old softies. The judges, for once, are harsher — the ladies get some minor credit for their skill in managing to convert chocolate from a solid to a liquid, but overall they get nine from the judges. Nine. Out of sixty. If you can’t get a solid laugh out of that, you’re just a humourless person.
Their total is twenty-six, the lowest score in the history of My Kitchen Rules and a massively satisfying fulfilment of the ads’ promises that records would be broken. Bek takes some comfort in believing that the score “isn’t a reflection of our cooking ability”, even though it is. It literally is. That is the one thing that this reflects: your cooking ability. This has been a definitive judgment on your cooking ability, and the consensus is: you have none.
Tune in tomorrow night, when apparently some other record might be broken as part of “record-breaking week”, so maybe Kyle will harness himself to a jumbo jet and pull it for a kilometre, or produce a record number of weevils from his beard or something.
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