They just need a ‘snuggly hug’ … Carly and Tresne are a breath of Australian air to the MKR kitchen.MKR casting agents – you have truly outdone yourselves this series.
You’ve given us mouthy, cocky designer Jess, who so satisfyingly met her end on Sunday night, you’ve given us the wicked witches of West Australia, Chloe and Kelly, and you’ve given us Dave “The Captain”, the wanker banker whose readiness with a clanger is second-to-none.
Just when we thought things couldn’t get any better, we have three “intruder” newcomer couples – self-proclaimed “experimental foodies” from Melbourne, a stuffy mother and daughter pair from (posh) country NSW, and the stars of tonight’s episode, Carly and Tresne. A teacher and estate agent respectively, from Clarencetown, near Newcastle.
These bubbly blondes are fuelled by positive thinking and at their pop-up restaurant, Inspire, have decorated the walls with motivational quotes and their napkins with mood rings.
If this wasn’t enough, they’re charmingly ocker to boot, prone to sayings like, “Oh holy dooley,” and “Holy snapping turtles!” Maaaaate. It makes for bloody good TV, tell ya what.
As they prepare their maiden meal, the girls, particularly Tresne, are worried about how their entree of beetroot tart with goat cheese mousse and balsamic reduction will be received. The balsamic, in particular, proves a difficult beast to tame – first it’s the victim of overheating (the solution: to cool the pot over the air vent on the floor), and then, it’s worryingly acidic.
“Puttin’ ya head in that balsamic vinegar is like putting tear gas in ya face,” squawks Tresne. It’s subsequently added to the entree with restraint, and while the rocket leaves suffer for remaining undressed, overall, Pete and Manu say they’re off to a good start.
Tresne isn’t convinced, and says she feels a bit deflated. But when she also bemoans the state of the main, a beef filet, which everyone else says is cooked perfectly, it becomes clear that this spiritual sheila is more than a bit hard on herself – and that her preferred maxim, “If you think you can, you can, and if you think you can’t, you can’t,” is not always on the money.
Elsewhere, tonight’s supporting players are delivering in ways their food never will. The West
Australian weevils appear to be feeling a bit threatened by the new “ladies of the manor”, particularly Anna being a NSW food critic. “She’s way too skinny to be a food critic, she must be hopeless!” they cackle.
Unfortunately Anna is quite odious in her own right, nodding in glittery-eyed agreement* with every minor criticism Pete and Manu make of Carly and Tresne’s meal and being generally snotty.
Dave, bless him, pronounces “jus” as if it rhymes with fuzz, and not poo, and the sniggering this induces from around the table impels him to refer to it as” gravy” from that point on.
Harry and Christo, bloody lucky to still be in the competition, continue to amuse each other and each other only, making terrible jokes and collapsing into peals of laughter, while the molecular gastronomist newbies from Melbourne remain suspiciously quiet.
Manu isn’t quiet, he’s practically climaxing as he samples the main, singling out the jus as worthy of a 10 out of 10. “Thank God, thank you for giving me my sauce that I’ve been begging for,” he swoons, and Pete is just as impressed.
The beetroot discs are deemed a little sweet, but it’s still easily one of the best mains we’ve seen so far; Tresne’s worries were completely unfounded.
Carly is delighted with the judges’ response. “It was like a big, warm snuggly hug and bowl of porridge,” she says. “Now we just need to smash out the dessert,” says Tresne, who proceeds to “fang” the cream into the caramel sauce in a worrying fashion.
Both girls are aware the Caramel Divine is too sweet but it’s too late to start again so out it goes as is, and they hope to glide through on the power of positive thinking.
The judges aren’t so easily fooled; they could barely manage to eat half the dish on account of its sweetness, cueing evil grins from their competitors as they dig into their own desserts and regurgitate the criticisms of Manu and Pete, as they are so irritatingly fond of doing.
Perhaps feeling threatened, the competitors are a little harsher than expected on Carly and Tresne when final scores are given – posh pair Cathy and Anna only award them a five, and David and Corinne a stingy six, but Pete and Manu are more generous and the girls wind up with an impressive 74 overall.
Turns out these chicks can cook. Tomorrow night, it’s Chloe and Kelly’s turn, and we’re hoping they go the way of their fellow acid-tongued West Australian, Jess.
The ads promise tears. It’s shaping up to a be a good night.