It was the Sudden Death round, and many celebrity chefs had shown to taste the blood (meals) of The Social Media Buddies vs The Newlyweds. And what a line-up it was. First to arrive was Robert Oliver, a homeboy who loves the Pacific flavours just as much as he likes giving TedX talks. He was followed by Grace Ramirez, the glamorous American “JLo of cooking” who urged contestants to “make dishes that make me want to break into your house.” After that malicious threat, I hope the contestants make like JLo and get themselves aligned with a Pitbull stat. Ricki found this burglary scenario quite erotic, “I would give her the keys”. Jessie did not look impressed.
The JLo of cooking was followed up by the Aaradnha of cooking, Nadia Lim. Hopefully somebody is making smoked salmon bagels tonight, they’ll have the competition in the (food) bag. Finally, Sean Connolly marched onto the scene. He is a Yorkshire chef known for putting contestants under The Grill and, on a more personal note, for his inexplicable commenting on my friend Zoe’s photos on Instagram.
First up was the entrées, with The Social Media Buddies doing a baked Hapuka paired with a potato purée. They got to work soaking potato skins in milk, irking Ben Bayly deeply. Also, in what I am voting the most absurd phrase ever applied to mashed potato in the history of the earth, Dan urged Sam to make “negative space with it” on the plate. The pair were praised for their valiant efforts – the potato was silky and the fish struck a good balance thanks to a more than generous serving of Dijon mustard. Over at The Newlyweds camp, they were making fishcakes with tomato sauce. It didn’t go down so well, more a soggy falafel than a crispy cake.
For the main course, The Newlyweds made their own pasta and their own sausage. Dan showed both kiwi ingenuity and artistic flair in hanging their fettucini over many wooden spoons throughout the kitchen. The other Dan (Social Media Dan) was having a hard time with a flaming piece of pork belly. Watching from the sidelines, it was clear that Fireman Ian wanted to get all up in that flaming fat. Maybe that’s why he always wears his shirt with one too many buttons undone, easier to rip it off and douse the flames. The pork belly was well-crisped due to this charring, and scored highly with the judges (apart from Sean who didn’t get enough crackling despite being offered some by salt-of-the-earth Nadia). The Newlywed pasta also went down a storm, with Sean saying the sausage was “off the hook”. Sheesh, turn The Grill down a notch, the competition just heated up.
Dessert for The Social Media buddies was a deconstructed lemon meringue pie or, in my own experience, “eating lemon curd out of the jar with a spoon”. Dessert Queen Sam was truly in his element here, assembling more components than a K’Nex roller coaster. He even made a crazy white chocolate powder with what looked like an industrial tub of nitroglycerin. The Newlyweds looked like they would struggle to match this, going for a safe (and therefore incredibly risky) chocolate fondant. And struggle they did. Grace Ramirez congratulated The Social Media Buddies on creating a sexy dessert that looked like a “latin party on the plate”. Everyone laughed knowingly, despite having no idea what that meant. The Newlywed fondant “lacked sex appeal”, and was definitely no latin party. It was more of a tense office work party. The Social Media boys cleaned up with their dessert bringing their overall score to 42, and sending The Newlyweds home.
Farewell Dan and Christie, I trust you will remain true to each other through good fondant and bad, through fishcakes and through health.
Moral of the story: Fondant? More like Fondon’t