It's the hardcore mothers from South Australia versus the benevolent blondes from New South Wales.
“Two very different teams.” You can say that again, Evans. But by the end of the night both teams would have delivered three courses, featuring a stew of tears, passive aggression and enough flour for 30 circles of empowerment.
“We really want to win this,” say Carly and Tresne. “We do deserve to be in this competition,” exclaim Bree and Jessica. Well that does it then. Surely you can't get rid of either if both want it so much. Nope. “The gloves are off,” Carly and Tresne declare. High-fives, hugs and declarations of love soon follow.
Bree and Jessica are preparing seared prawns with fennel and leek puree and tomato salsa for their entree. They say there's a lot of things that can go wrong with this menu, which makes me wonder why they would want to cook it in sudden death.
Meanwhile across the meadow Carly, armed with a bag of flour, sprinkles perhaps the largest circle of empowerment to date - negativity be gone!
The other contestants try add to the shield of positivity. Cathy does some strange hand gesture as she attempts to transfer her life force to the circle. “Make your dreams a reality,” Bianca reinforces.
Carly and Tresne are making golden scallops with champagne sabayon, pancetta crumb and watercress. I'm impressed. Mainly because I have no idea what sabayon is.
Bree and Jessica, without the aid of fairy dust, have a lot of pressure on them today. They don't want to let themselves, their kids or their husbands down.
For main course Carly and Tresne are cooking with wagyu scotch fillet, some kind of “fancy-schmancy cow”. It's a cow that's been rubbed with paw-paw, Carly clarifies. All cows moisturise, duh.
Tresne really doesn't want to disappoint the diva cow, cooking it is all she's dreamed about.
Speaking of dairy, Jessica starts chopping butter for her dessert, a dark chocolate mousse tart with strawberries and pistachios. It seems to be going well until she realises her dough mixture is way too dry. Ergh, what to do?
Oh yeah, add some water.
Carly has a little bit more luck as she effortlessly blitzes a punnet of raspberries. “That's mushed!” she says triumphantly. Everything seems to be going well and she just can't seem to understand why all her desserts so far haven't been sweet with the judges.
The knife is out as Bree showcases her surgical skills when preparing the chicken for their main: roasted chicken ballotine with quinoa and lentil salad and garlic aioli. The other contestants are in awe. Note to self: never cross Bree.
It may be sudden death but it looks like love is in the air for Tresne and that piece of wagyu. “I'm honoured to be even touching and cooking with it today.”
The camera flips to the clock and goshdarnit neither team have made progress with their entrees. Carly's having trouble putting her mousse into glasses and a few expletives get beeped.
The other contestants try to reassure her, but it takes a few seconds because Anna seems to have forgotten her line. “Whether you think you can or you can't, you're right.”
What the hell does that even mean? Nevermind because Carly understood and a triumphant crescendo soon follows with delayed cheering from the crowd.
Now back to the entrees. “There is no way they're going to be able to plate this up,” Danielle says smiling. But they do. In your face, Danielle. Why don't you believe in the circle of empowerment?
The judges think both dishes are super pretty and tasty and have trouble picking a favourite. No drama. Next.
Time seems to be the enemy this round with both teams announcing they'd be screwed if they don't better manage it. So of course we now know they're going to mess up big time, thanks to the power of foreshadowing.
As everything is hopefully cooking in the oven, we're back to dessert. Jessica's pretty happy with the chocolate mousse but can't deal with the melting pastry as she's lining the tart tins. Very short, much butter.
Carly, the self-proclaimed queen of desserts, attempts to make herself a nice crown as she lifts the bowl of egg whites (for the meringue) over her head. Success (or is that fail?), nothing drops. Can't say the same for Tresne though as her beetroot fails to fit into the oven. Can the producers please do something about the ill-fitting trays?
Bree gets a move on the lentil and quinoa salad and actually says it's a beautiful thing to eat. Paul and Blair make a weird noise that I'm going to translate as “Oh, is that right?”. But really, nobody thinks quinoa is a beautiful thing to eat. We eat it because we look gross and unhealthy if we don't agree.
Carly explains the concept of her frizzled onions. It's like an onion ring, but wafer-thin. So pretty much an onion ring. She's going to put it at the top of the steaks as a topper.
Jessica's tarts come out of the oven and they're a little bit too crumbly for her liking. Oh well, what can you do. Just gotta wait until they cool down now.
Tresne's beef comes out of the oven and it's at 30 degrees, almost half what she wanted it to be. “30?!” scoffs Cathy from the sidelines. Girl, that's way too low.
The chicken's out of the oven for Bree and Jessica and so too are the gloves it seems. Jessica wants to cut into the meat to see if it's cooked, but Bree wants to let it rest a bit longer.
“Jessie you're a worrywart,” says Bree. Ouch. “You're too cool for school,” Jessica retaliates. “No I'm not too cool for school, okay?” Bree defends.
Wow, somebody tell the teacher because the banter is getting out of control.
Tresne pulls the wagyu out of the oven again and it's only gone up four degrees. Raw in the center. Now Bree starts to carve her chicken and although the first piece seems promising, the second is raw. Cue expletives.
So at this stage both of their mains are raw to some degree. Off to the frying pan!
It's definitely a rushed effort and a major peg down from entree. They're so scarce for time that Carly's only going to serve one beetroot slice per plate.
Jessica knows she was right and that Bree should've cut the chicken when she told her too. “Maybe you should've listened to Jessie,” she rubs in.
Tresne doesn't know what to do with the beef glaze so proceeds to shower it all over the diva steak. Presentation? Ain't nobody got time for that.
“Please don't make a mess Tresne,” Carly pleads. Too late - the underdogs have made a dog's breakfast.
Uh-oh. The judges are served inconsistent pieces of chicken. Raw, inedible … but that's okay. Pete seems to like the mayonnaise.
Out comes the second dish and Colin reckons he's missing some scotch fillet. Guy Grossi thinks it's more like a salad at a buffet than a main course. Way harsh, Tai.
It's the last course now and both teams know they've got a lot of redeeming to do. Both are doing some kind of mousse and praline.
Well, Carly and Tresne are doing a praline, not quite sure what Bree just made - some kind of oozy sugar syrup with pistachios. Change of plans, it's now a praline crumb now with random chunks of sugar. Much better.
One does wonder why you would even attempt to make a praline in sudden death if you've never really done it properly before …
Judging time. “I actually really like this,” Colin says surprisingly of the tart. “It's not overly sweet. It's almost quite a savoury kind of dessert,” says Guy. Umm … in what universe does chocolate, strawberries and pistachios equate to savoury? Maybe he's still got a bit of wagyu on his palate. Karen Martini, meanwhile, makes me rethink the correct pronunciation of "praline". The rosewater mousse comes out and everybody seems to like it. Liz loves the subtlety and Colin clarifies that although he's not usually a fan of it, it's quite nice in this dish.
It's close, but it's bye-bye to the happiest pair in the competition: Carly and Tresne. With a score of 38, one shy of Bree and Jessica's 39, the couple leave to empower those outside the competition.