Alex Casey delivers her latest MKRNZ power rankings, including a beautiful union between rugby and couscous, and the most violent kitchen utensil yet.
We lost a lot of good contestants out there this week, as well as a lot of fingertips by deathly mandolin. Seriously, when did MKRNZ become The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, gathering together a group of wide-eyed volunteers to mercilessly slice them to bits one by one? Almost every dish this week was seasoned with slivers of fingernail, which I guess is actually pretty textural for the old mouth feel.
We farewelled the gatecrashers Ben and Reagan after they delivered a flaccid tuile, and Brooke and Kimberley after they served an egg white omelette instead of a meringue tart. They were mercilessly destroyed by the Tasting Panel, a crowd of celeb foodies brought in to brighten the mood through a strange salt and pepper dance and Fred Durst references.
So, who is left? And where do they stand?
1) Monique and Henry
Long live the king and queen. Monique and Henry were safe in the bamboo jail on Monday night, Henry rocking a FlaxRock tee to rep his hometown. Combined with Monique’s CrossFit tee, these two seem to be single-handedly holding the Hawke’s Bay exercise industry together. Good on them.
In the People’s Choice challenge, they carved up the competition with delicious spaghetti, a delicious pita pocket and a delicious cheesecutter hat. As is his way, Henry had a massive yarn at Nosh and then wowed the crowds with his exceptionally loud voice. He couldn’t even be quashed by the dark wairua (spirit) of Ruth and Cheryl, hilariously taking shelter beneath the BBQ lid.
2) William and Zoe
William and Zoe did a great job of dressing like Russian villains in a children’s spy movie this week:
They also cooked some stonking good meals in their fish fingers and ultimate steak sandwich. A lot better than my disastrous attempt at fish finger artistry. Overshadowed by Henry’s ringleader routine, William took to telling people to “get their laughing gear” around their sandwiches, which was extremely, irrevocably unsettling. Worked though.
3) Jay and Sarah
Poor Jay, someone has clearly taken a mandolin to the bottom of his chinos!
Jay took an exceptionally long time frenching the lamb this week, which I assume means kissing it + tongue. Doesn’t matter though, because these two churned out a crazy tofu cheesecake that made Grace Ramirez do a small happy shimmy. These calm wizards can do no wrong. Tofu in a cheesecake?! Pineapple in a burger?! Just like Sarah’s brows, this team is BOLD and I love them for it.
4) Travis and Jeremy
First of all: here’s a rare production still from Zoolander 2:
Second of all: they should now be referred to forever more as “The Stick Boys”. Plating up what was entirely meat and a skewer twice over, the boys had to work very hard to come up with sauces that would make them seem different. Travis had to do a LOT of beating, whilst Jeremy rarked him up by saying “too much chest, not enough back work.”
Hope they can work it out over some Nandos.
5) Ruth and Cheryl
Who are Ruth and Cheryl, really? This week they made the weird move of cooking couscous for young rugby players, and as a result had to spend half their time explaining what couscous was.
The people thought it was fine, but the judges bloody loved it. I tip my wool beanie to them for pulling it off, but I still don’t feel 100% confident in these two just yet.
6) Jess and Stella
Big week for the gals this week, Stella celebrated her birthday and Jess went buck wild over all the rugby players in the People’s Choice challenge. Nailing their sudden death cook-off (fingernail-in-food aside), they came very close to creating heroic venison but were just shy of seasoning. Although esteemed, we still haven’t got the salty superhero we need.
Making a satay beef kebab and a steak sandwich for the People’s Choice, it wasn’t enough to keep them out of the mandolin-hell known as Sudden Death. “Not an ideal way to spend my birthday” Jess whined. Just make sure you wear mittens this time Jess.
7) Lauren and Simon
It was a dicey choice to dish up stodgy little oat balls to fresh-off-the-field rugby players – definitely better suited to “don’t-tell-anyone-I’m-cheating-my-juice-cleanse” Ponsonby types. Nonetheless, they avoided Sudden Death for next week because Ben and Gareth were about to get down on one knee and propose to their onion bhaji. Strike me with a mandolin but it’s the bottom of the rankings for you: I’m a visual person and I did not tune in to stare at sad little lumps of muesli.
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