So how do we start the instant restaurant round when we don't need to introduce the contestants, their homes, their restaurant concept or their staged morning routine? In our pyjamas of course.
Dan and Steph break out of their own garage, where they keep the industrial sized sausage machine, to wash their car and mow the lawn, and when you hear about pyjama clad girls holding a car wash or scantily clad men tending to the garden in American teen flicks … they don't mean this.
My Kitchen Rules
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My Kitchen Rules
Can the MKR contestants stop the backstabbing and put their food where their mouth is?
For the second night running, the unimaginative producers force the proud nerds from Western Australia Kieran and Nastassia to make clunky Star Wars analogies about rebels and the empire. This only leaves the audience to compare the gatecrasher rounds to the Star Wars prequels, but as long as someone's happy.
Once they're out shopping, Dan and Steph discover there is a map in Coles, and waste thirty minutes trying to find the buried treasure before they realise its no frills treasure consisting of a bag of chocolate coins.
Cursing those pesky kids, Dan explains in voice over that tonight he has manned up. He has chosen beer over cola for braising, knuckles over bacon for his preferred cut of meat and sausages over not sausages as the best way to prove that he can make sausages for a living.
For that, it turns out, is the dream. Sausage making. Dan and Steph explain that if they win the competition, they will start a gourmet snag shop and start a family. How will they afford all this? Easy really, for if there is one thing that Stephen Sondheim musicals and Tim Burton films have taught us, it's that sausage shops require the sort of raw materials that can walk themselves in the door. That's right, it's time to reveal Dan's secret identity as Sweeney Dan the Demon Painter of Hervey Bay. Welcome to Decadence, mind the trap doors.
If that, or Steph's decision to use the sweat dripping off her brow and into the duck meat as an industrial lubricant in the sausage press aren't enough to make you feel queezy, try Sweeney Dan's description of sausage making on for size:
"It feels like pushing a lot of mince through a small circle."
Do with that what you must.
Some short time later after we've all scrubbed our brains, Dan is attempting to seal the bags containing the (allegedly) pork knuckle and beer using a machine that he bought from an infomercial. The Bag-o-Seal 3000 won't work though, so they are forced to adapt. The knuckles must go in the oven.
Unfortunately, as they are unwilling to utilise the additional equipment in the garage - the machines that local authorities investigating missing backpackers, surfers and hipsters have until now only speculated on - a bottle neck at the oven of biscuits, potatoes and knuckles ensues.
As the guests arrive, Angelina and Melina are surprised to discover that Ashlee and Sophia don't smile. Ashlee and Sophia offer to stab them instead. Unlike the extended Sweeney Todd reference though, I'm not making that up. They actually say they'll stab them. In the front. No mention of how they'll plate them.
Sweeney Hog breaks the tension by serving up the sausages. The "duck" sausages.
Pete and Manu are disappointed. The meat is dry and dry, though Pete thinks it has a nice flavour that he can't quite place. That one's backpacker then. Pete also feels texture is too fine to be able to tell what meat it really is, and Dan breathes a sigh of relief. Then Manu gives a professional comment on the texture: "It sucks!"
That's why they pay him the big bucks.
Manu begs them to make the main better. Dan decides its time to wheel out the hipster meat then, it's much richer and tender through lack of ever having worked a day in its life, though it can easily become bitter.
Back in the kitchen, Steph admits that because she is married to Dan she can tell that he's upset. The rest of us are left to speculate as to why he's rubbing his eyes, sighing wistfully and mumbling under his breath while he's sharpening his knives.
Soon, they pluck their knuckles from the oven, only to discover that the meat is both dry and raw. Steph suggests Dan drink the beer instead of braising the dish with it, as she hopes to knock him out before the rage descends. It's too late though, as Dan starts planning his shredding, though it turns out in this instance he only means the knuckles.
Around now Steph realises that cooking for 12 requires different calculations than cooking for 2, a sanguine lesson for us all in thermal physics and basic common sense. The braising mixture, which is mostly just beer, smells nice says Steph. it covers the stink of shame.
Soon after they save the day by shredding their "pork", they try it and discover it is full of gristle. "Damn those hipsters!" shouts Dan, "why won't they get off their arses and do something. They're RIDDLED with fat!" Dan is close to crying and announces that it's all over, a phrase that brings terror to Steph's eyes.
Manu, who can smell tears from three blocks away, chooses that moment to wander in, to see if he can help out, or just to cynically mock the contestants while using his gorgeous accent to make it sound endearing. He picks up the huge pot full of simmering pork and before Dan and Steph can say anything bellows the French for "FINALLY THERE'S ENOUGH SAUCE!"
Dan and Steph attempt to explain that they aren't going to serve the meat but Manu refuses. He's due a sauce fix and he's named Dan as his dealer.
The couple follow Manu's suggestion, of preparing an actual meal, before Dan announces that he's going to strain the pork. Steph is rightly concerned this means their chance at success will quite literally go down the drain, but Dan assures her that he's keeping the jus in a big steel bowl that he plans to just place in front of Manu with a bib and a straw if he can find one.
When it comes to service, it is quickly apparent that you can't get anything past the other teams. They don't see knuckle where the menu clearly says knuckle, so they all flail their teeth and gnash their arms in an effort to tell us all that there were no knuckles. All except for Sophia who is reduced to three letter text acronyms in shock. OMG. LOL. DCYPPUTHSMSWCSH*
(* Oh My God. Laugh Out Loud. Dan Could You Please Power Up The Human Sausage Machine So We Can Sacrifice Her.)
Manu announces that he's received the best sauce in the competition, before injecting it in between his toes. Peter puts Manu down for a nap and then talks about the actual food which he thinks is disappointing.
The sauce is claiming more victims though. Ali and Samuel joke that they could just drink the gravy. And then Samuel does. Straight from the jug.
Unswayed by the "your first jug is free" sauce offering, Ashlee and Sophia very discreetly point out at full volume that their dogs eat better than this. This is an unfair comparison though as they use the Pal Bernaise range.
With the main out of the way, Nastassia announces to the table that she is expecting really big things from dessert which is really her way of explaining that she was involved in some sort of terrible industrial accident as a teenager which has left her without the ability to remember recent events.
Sophia on the other hand decrees that she wants a chocolate to give her the will to live and each of the other teams make a note to ensure no chocolate ever appears on a menu again.
Dan provides the sort of supportive commentary to Steph that only a man who hasn't killed recently enough can pull off, as she single-handedly prepares dessert. So she hands him 5 kilos of oranges to slice. Not because she needs them for the dish, but just so he can feel the thrill of stabbing something. She really does know her husband.
As the desserts are successfully plated, Steph admits to feeling a huge weight has been lifted off her shoulders. That is the pressure of being tomorrow's sausage meat being removed.
There is no chocolate in the dish when it is served, so Ashlee and Sophia instantly attempt to kill themselves. Sadly their chosen weapon is poisonous words, and their self-preservation instinct means they just keep spitting them out in a toxic stream. Don't blame them for their litany of hare-brained barbs, they're just verbally vomiting.
The judges try the last dish and Manu points out that simple is great. Dan beams with the knowledge Manu is talking about him. Manu and Peter also liked the dessert.
Chasing 51 to not be last, Dan and Steph step up to the be sentenced once more. The guest teams award them a combined score of 22 out of 50 which Dan thinks is generous and Melina feels is gobsmacking for no reason other than it being higher than the score they got.
Peter and Manu judge as follows.
Warm Duck Sausage and Beetroot Salad
So that's 31 so far, and the Italian girls feel safe, despite the need for a mere average of 5 per score from here on in for Dan and Steph to be safe.
Pork Knuckle with Blue Cheese Potato Gratin and Red Cabbage
That makes it a bit more interesting. Then Manu sings "Hallelujah!" and it gets even more interesting. Dan points out that they need two 8s to beat the Italians and as if on cue …
Orange Tian with Toasted Almonds
The Queensland couple are safe. The West Australian nerds are next. Dan is happy. Steph is relieved to know she will live to see another dawn.
Oh and if you're a backpacker travelling in the Hervey Bay region, with family back home who only have a vague notion of where you are right now, why don't you drop in? Dan and Steph would love to have you for dinner.