- Ashlee, Sophia 'have nothing but pride' in cutting comments
- MKR villains' elimination draws in viewers
Back when I was young and my skin had the same ruddy bloom as a beef kidney, I moved out of home to university and into a joint that shared a wall with an interesting business - Madame Cha Cha's House of Hurt. It was a popular boutique open at all hours to a clientele partial to bossy women.
The memory of the sounds and sights of Cha Cha returned vividly last night as kitchen dominatrices Ashlee and Sophia let fly with a series of dangerous statements that included: “I love power”, “we are going to own our power” and “here, put this harness on, it won't hurt a bit”.
Just like the food that brought them to last night's make-or-break episode, Mesdames Babes were bold and confident. Fresh from a food-truck victory, they were at liberty to crack the whip and determine who among their competitors would cook with what key ingredient, in a choice of three.
Cloches were clutched to reveal apples, walnuts and kidneys. Dan and Steph, and Sam and Chris trembled for fear that they would be forced to cook with offal. But led by hubris, the Cha Cha girls kept the organs for themselves and gave the nuts to the boys because “they don't have any”.
Again, I was transported to the troubling sounds of my youth.
Unstuck by swagger and sweat, the girls were reprimanded in this initial challenge by Pete for returning their kidneys to a red-wine sauce for a second searing.
Fiscal times are tough in television at present and Seven can't afford a thesaurus for Pete who offered the critique “just yum” on the sticky date and walnut pud created by Sam and Chris.
“Just yum” was insufficient to take the lads to the finals, as it turned out. That honour was reserved for Dan and Steph; a couple who'd shed their risk aversion for the big day.
“Are you crazy?” Manu demanded of Dan and Steph who had recklessly thrown a calf, half a crate of apples and all their hopes for a place in the finals into a pressure cooker. Crazy like a culinary fox, as it turned out, as the two turned out a smart rejoinder to Ashlee and Sophia's boasts.
Nationwide, fans of Lady Cha Cha were devo as we moved out of a Totes Hectic era of confidence and into a delicious second movement of judgement.
Sophie had promised that Kitchen HQ would have to “burn down” to result in her elimination. Despite the claims of our fire goddess, it seemed that the girls might fail to ignite in the face of such heated competition.
In times of great tension, the girls' mouths and minds were governed by a force beyond our ken. As they worked in a cook-off against the lads to produce a pork belly with caramel sauce, steamed buns and salad, their speech became impossible to decode.
Perhaps it was the spoken weight of "totes", "devo", "amazeballs" that turned the ladies' normally buoyant pastry to lead. Judge Karen Martini was disappointed with their buns; a complaint, incidentally, I never once heard at the House of Cha Cha.
Capably, if a little less compellingly than the Cabramatta cuties, the chaps gave us salmon with celeriac puree and dill beurre blanc sauce. Superlatives for the style of the retro dish were few, but congratulations for technique were many and the clean-cut pair of uncomplicated cooks secured their future. Leaving our dominatrices to dance with the devil toward defeat.
Personally, I think the Sophie and Ashlee montage that commemorated their chic nastiness and unusual risks, with both language and food, could have been about an hour longer. Say what you will about the impenitent pair, they are more compelling than a commercial kitchen full with Dans, Stephs and Chrises. Their impeccable lipstick and dependably diva demeanour made MKR, more often than not, a devilish joy and not a chore to watch.
Of course, Seven recognises the lure of Satan just as well as I do and in good news, special rules have been built for our Mistresses of Darkness as they will return in the Comeback Kitchen where their hellfire will consume me and many others so happily.