The Sudden Death hype started early. As early as Monday when K.Rudd was spotted on MKR spitting out mango and prawn tarts. Listen babes, I'm talking about reality TV. I'm not suggesting that Channel Seven could broadcast the alleged Labor Party spill as a 90-minute My Kitchen Rules cook off, but seriously babes. Babes, our leaders may as well battle it out in the kitchen because, babes, they haven't exactly achieved much in the rest of the House this week have they?
"Bring on Sudden Death, molls," Rudd's fellow Queenslander Jake says as the MKR kitchen lights flicker on and we're transported, somewhat vertiginously, back to Kitchen HQ for one couple's last supper.
Unlike another prominent South Australian, the Cupcake Queens can rest easy knowing that they are safe for another week as this elimination means all eyes are on #TeamQld v #TeamVic. Banana Benders Jake and Elle and the Real Housewives of Frankston, Angela and Milena, will face off in the Mediterranean.
When I say "Mediterranean", a more accurate description would be "Tasmania", as tonight's production brief called for simple food. The teams, which are on-edge because the angry Irish judge with dirty hair is back, get to work on various dishes containing veal, octopus, duck, John Dory, pears and a chocolate cake.
As Manu reels off some new cooking cliches he's recently picked up, it gives the viewer time to notice how ridiculous the product placement in this show has become. Shiny-haired Jake and Elle appear to be sponsored by the haircare aisle at Coles, while Angela and Milena are sporting the latest in discount false eyelashes (you'll find them at the check-out near the chewing gum).
This is the Real Housewives' second appearance in Sudden Death. They were told by their husbands not to return home unless they won. No pressure. "Tonight is all about youth verses experience," Pete says with a rather daring reference to the ladies' age, who both raise their "youthful" brows skywards.
With 90 minutes to produce the entree, the Housewives get cracking by handling octopus faeces and working on a dish Angela learned from a lovely Greek lady called Helen a few years ago. No word yet if Helen is from Troy or Torquay. The dish in question involves boiling the baby squid and serving it with a potato salad.
The girls have got all the popular flavours covered tonight. "We want to do other things than just beautiful, authentic Italian cooking – tonight we've got Greece in, the Middle East in and we've got Italian."
Elle and Jake are heading to Italy also and will be bringing back vitello tonnato. Jake is in charge while Elle is off busy trying not to scramble the icecream for their dessert, which according to the format of this show, should be served sometime this month.
The veal is so sensitive, poor Jake is left to count the milliseconds as it boils just enough to be brown on the outside but still pink on the inside. He then performs a culinary bris only to discover his tuna-flavoured mayo dressing is "too thick and can't be squirted from the squeeze-bottle". If your mind isn't already in the gutter, he then screams, "This squeeze bottle is driving me nuts! I'm just going to have to spoon it out and spray it all over it."
"Don't do that Jake, it looks so messy and unprofessional," Elle cries, lifting the tone of the segment.
Some cross-bench bitchiness simmers over, with Jake telling the Housewives he's cooking better Italian than they ever could. He quickly diffuses the situation by patronising them and calling them "darling".
Time is up and the frayed nerves are already starting to show, especially during garnish time. Angela hates chives, while Jake's "micro herbs" are MIA.
Both dishes are deemed delicious by all the judges. The angry Irish judge with dirty hair even likes them, mainly the potatoes. "I do like my potatoes," he says.
"To be sure, to be sure," Manu whispers and high-fives himself.
Once the table has been cleared, it's time to meet the world's most beautiful duck.
As Jake and Elle get to work on whipping up a fennel salad and frying some John Dory fillets, the Housewives are busy stuffing ducks with Middle Eastern herbs and spices and using the adjective “beautiful” to describe the dish.
As Melina appears to cover the birds in cinnamon, the Cupcake Queens chime in, cooing, "oh there's a lot of love being rubbed into that duck", as Ashlee and Sophia scowl, pout and roll their eyes.
"I love ripping the spines out of ducks," Melina says as the camera pans back to Ashlee and Sophia.
"Eww, it tastes like Christmas ham," they of "babes" fame say as they shovel it into their foul mouths. Over at the next table, the judges ignore the hate and rave about the "beautiful, ambitious pink duck with gorgeous flavours".
With mains done it's time for sweets. For one team it will mean sweet success, for the other it will mean sweet sorrow – this is Sudden Death after all.
The chocolate molten cakes with coffee and fig icecream that Elle has been working on since 1986 are still causing her stress. She needs them to be firm enough to stand on their own, yet soft and gooey enough on the inside to be palatable. She's a clever cookie isn't she? Surely they'll get bonus points for interpreting the Liberal Party's election campaign via baked goods.
Meanwhile, the Housewives are aiming to core, poach and bake pears in world-record time to ensure their poached pears stuffed with fig and walnut and vanilla bean icecream will be ready in time to be critiqued.
After the final 10 seconds are counted down, we are escorted back to the serving area for judgment time. Too much garlic and firm pears have let the Housewives down: their score is 37 out of 60.
The only thing holding strong in Elle and Jake's corner before their judgment is Jake's Astro Boy hairstyle. While the adjudicators avoid discussing the chocolate cake dessert, they say they enjoyed their non-offensive veal and John Dorey dishes.
While it appears they may be pulling an Anna Wintour by just ignoring how bad it was, the angry Irish judge with dirty hair caves first, just like the cake. Out pours oodles of praise for the "exquisite, decadent and cakey" dish. All the others follow suit and deliver a score of 50 out of 60.
Much to Ashlee and Sophia's pleasure, they say "see ya" to the Housewives while Elle and Jake promise to continue showing Australia that young people can cook.
Next week the remaining teams will cook again, but with a tight budget, something which also happens to be the next big event on the political calendar.