Canapes, horse d'oeuvres and a lot of long faces
All dressed up, but nowhere to go ... except the kitchen.
Ah, the Melbourne Cup. Wine, winning, losing, heartache and horses. Change just one letter in just one word - wine to whine - and you have this episode of My Kitchen Rules.
Fortunately for you, the reader, I am required to write more than just those six words for this humble recap or I, too, will face a sudden death challenge. It's just that, for me, it's actually a literal prospect.
Anyway, the nine remaining teams are welcomed to Manu's Magical Melbourne, famous for food, fashion – and a little horse race. Shetland pony races, coming soon to Cranbourne!
Listen up ... Kerrie commands and Craig must listen.
All eyes of the contestants light up when they realise they'll be allowed to go to the Melbourne Cup: for years it's been their dream to get sloshed, remove their shoes and fall over into a rose garden at four in the afternoon.
Unfortunately for them, they'll have to settle for cooking the food for those in a corporate marquee, who are able to get sloshed, remove their shoes and fall over into a rose garden at four in the afternoon.
Besides, if we wanted to see these folk go to socialise, we'd have them appear on Ladette to Lady – especially Dan.
Losers are grinners too ... Jake's hair takes on a life of its own.
The challenge today is to make canapés. Angela and Melina declare that this is tough because the canapé has to look good and taste good. This is a completely different requirement to all other types of food.
The trick to the canapé, the judges remind the contestants, is to make it small enough that it can be held by the eater while they still hold their glass of plonk, which has been filled for the umpteenth time, but sufficiently filling so that the eater is fooled into thinking that what they have eaten will prevent them from becoming sloshed.
As the teams cook, Sophia confesses she is bound to get starstruck when serving the canapés to “celebrities” in the marquee. Josh and Andi talk about something but they are so beige I micro-slept instead of listening to their riveting contribution to this episode.
Spot the celebrity... Mischa Barton takes the Bird Cage literally. Photo: Angela Wylie
Angela and Melina are making some sort of lobster concoction. Angela is insistent that the lobster not be overcooked, and, in a rare display of some competent cooking, she succeeds. Melina asks for a lobster clap. Last time I checked on lobster anatomy, they didn't have hands, thus making the requested clap somewhat confusing and perplexing.
Next, they do their best Kath and Kim “look at moi” impression in an attempt to impersonate celebrity patrons of the marquee to whom they must cater. Professional impersonators everywhere die of shame.
Meanwhile, the mindless chatter continues in the kitchen. Elle emphasises that today has to be perfect, as opposed to every other day where merely average will suffice. Elle and Jake engage the “hipsters” Josh and Andi in some coached kitchen chatter, but again, it's so dull it could send insomniacs into a coma.
Jake and Elle are combining prawn and mango for some tarts, which is apparently a Queensland tradition, which confirms the theory that they're a weird mob up north.
Kerrie and the ever-silent Craig, Sam and Chris, and Jenna and Joanna are all having problems with pastry dough in the warm kitchen, and with the stakes so high, given the celebrity factor, Joanna says it would be a serious public humiliation if they failed. A serious public humiliation actually sounds promising. I'll bring the tomatoes. Jenna starts blubbing, again, about disappointing people. In the words of Jake, please, Jenna, calm your farm.
Kerrie starts shouting at Craig a lot and shouts questions but it appears that Kerrie is more interested in hearing herself shout because she yells over the top of his answers.
The pressure is getting to the teams – Jenna whines, Elle whines and Kerrie shouts. Again. And again, as her attempt at tuile cones crumbles again. She does likewise.
After a third attempt at cones comes a cropper, Kerrie aims for a round thing that looks like a Catholic mass cracker. Give us this day our daily cracker.
Josh tells Andi that he's stressed. Andi's solution? “Work faster.” Well, that's sure to help.
Jake turns into a psycho chemistry expert and makes grapefruit pearls in cold oil. Elle's cups - filo cups - look perky and crisp.
Sam steals Ashlee and Sophia's key phrase and says he and Chris will smash out their rhubarb tart. But never fear, Ashlee and Sophia reclaim their title as the reigning annoying quote users. Their flavour needs to be “bang on, babe”.
The teams flee the kitchen as though a tax officer has come to audit their books and decamp to the racetrack. They laugh as they enter when a horse whinnies because that is extremely unexpected. Sophia explains that she and Ashlee are the only team to cook on site in a tone that suggests infinite moral and intellectual superiority. Good one, babes.
Jenna asks asinine questions of Joanna, such as: “Do you think we've done enough to avoid sudden death?” Joanna unfortunately decides against clocking Jenna over the head with a saucepan.
In the space of 15 seconds, Ashlee and Sophia say "babes" four times and will be summarily executed at sunset.
Service begins and Sophia fawns over the Melbourne Cup's embarrassing “A-List star”, Mischa Barton, who no one had heard of for about, say, 10 years.
“I love your work, Mischa,” Sophia squeals, but her girl crush is smashed, babes, when Mischa walks off, staring at Sophia as though she were a sea slug.
“I was, like, her only fan left and now she's got no one,” she says.
As Kerrie and Craig's service looms, Kerrie shouts one more time, just for good measure at Craig: “EXACTLY THE SAME! EXACTLY THE SAME!”
Jake and Elle's filo cups runneth over with mango. Kevin Rudd makes an odd cameo appearance but fortunately there's not a monkey bar in sight.
Sam and Chris discuss perving on Mischa Barton. Josh and Andi stress some more, while Dan and Steph serve food to Channel Nine presenter Lisa Wilkinson. This show airs on Channel Seven – is this allowed?
Manu reveals his mango-phobia when tasting Dan and Steph's mango emulsion – he doesn't like it.
Luke and Scott make a caviar-topped salmon thingy, the name of which I have forgotten. Shane Jacobson – remember, he was Kenny the plumber – makes a bad horse joke or four and is taken to the knackery.
Samantha Armytage fakes enthusiasm for Sam and Chris' shortbread with rhubarb, destroying their crush on her. Dr Harry ventures an opinion but the wily old vet is disappointed he's not eating horse meat.
Kerrie decides as the judging begins that she hasn't done a really bad job. If part of her job was shouting at Craig, then she is right.
Pete and Manu praise Angela and Melina, and Sophia and Ashlee look as though someone has force-fed them cold vomit.
Steph is gutted when Manu and Pete confess they'd rather eat tar than the mango and prawn mash-ups she and Dan, and Jake and Elle made. Pete decides “now” means “10 years ago” when he says Ashlee and Sophia were “hip and now” to serve their dumplings on Chinese spoons.
Jenna takes steps to prevent another drought by crying, again, when Manu praises her dish.
Ashlee and Sophia win the peoples' choice award, prompting a fake clap from Melina and Angela. It's these predictable things that make you remember that everything is right in the world.
Jake and Elle are put into sudden death for too much mango, rather than for Jake's hair curl atop his head, which is higher than his fringe and could quite possibly spawn its own spin-off show.