Can you believe this? The first round of semifinals? It’s happening, it’s all happening. One of these four teams will hold the glistening MKR shield (what actually is the prize?) of glory within a few episodes. It was time for a showdown between The Polynesian Cooks and The Corporate Dads. The tension was palpable, and boy had Belinda dressed up for it.
FASHION INTERJECTION: Belinda was wearing a giant one-shouldered magenta cape, and looked quite a lot like Sabrina-era Melissa Joan Hart. It was enchantingly large and billowy. She certainly cast a spell on the audience, that’s for sure.
The teams immediately got started with the entrées, whitebait fritters (Corporate) vs tuna tatare (Polynesian). The Corporate Dads had a hell of a lot of whitebait stock, really packing it in to the point where each fritter just had too many eyes for my liking. Meanwhile, Heather was partaking in a breathtaking cultural demonstration, scraping coconut fresh from it’s shell using a traditional board with some sort of bracket on it. It was a trick that Aaron’s grannie taught her in Rarotonga and, to be honest, was a hell of a lot more interesting than watching Corporate Aaron watch his eye-fritters cooking. Grace Ramirez, aka Earrings McGee absolutely loved the tuna tartare, saying it “takes her back to her home.” I thought she was Spanish, but I guess she originally hails from Earrings Island, deep in the Pacific. The fritters were also good, causing the normally placid Nadia Lim to do a racy Ramirez-style boogie.
For the mains, Corporate Aaron got to finally fulfil his dream to cook a banger of a cray. You may remember, he moaned all the way through the Instant Restaurants about the lack of cray dishes, much to Gareth’s chagrin. Meanwhile, Heather and Aaron were cooking beef in their signature style of ‘forty ways’. Corporate Aaron was sweating up a storm, pacing up and down and yelling about getting plates for the cray. Not for the first time, the editors chose to rack up the tension at Aaron and Heather HQ by using polynesian drumming. It was cultural, it was vibrant, and it was working. It looked like everyone was truly freaking out. The judges weren’t blown away by the the cray, preferring the beef cooked 687 ways. Talk about starting some cray-cray beef.
For dessert, it was the return of the crumble for The Corporate Dads, a risky move based on their past shambolic attempts at their Corporate Nana’s recipe. Heather and Aaron were making a medley of pacific inspired desserts, including panikeke – a fried banana loafy thing. See? Learning! The Corporate Dads can’t teach me anything new about crumble, or can they? Turns out yes. Turns out to make a crumble, you can just poach a pear and bung it on a plate with some crushed up biscuits under it. I’m anti-deconstruction of a crumble for some reason, but the judges loved it. Ol’ twinkly eyes Sean Connolly said that it was a “retro chic” dish that took him all the way back to the 70s. Ah yes, the 1970s. Peace, love and poached pears.
Although they put up a hell of a fight with that poached pear, The Corporate Dads’ chances were crumbled by The Polynesian Cooks. Robert Oliver was very impressed with their pacific cuisine that he could “not just taste, but feel.” Everyone was crying, both Aarons were crying and I was crying. “Shit, I wasn’t going to do this,” said Corporate Aaron, through corporate tears. Fare thee well Corporate Dads, may you hold your head high as you leave the boardroom of Kitchen HQ one last time.
Moral of the story: “Everything in life is luck”- Donald Trump, presumably untrue quote by presumably corporate mentor.