It was time for a People’s Choice challenge, and the top five teams were making pizza – the people’s food. At this point, the teams were feeling overwhelmed by the wild MKR journey from their homes, to Kitchen HQ, all the way to Federal Street: “this train has not stopped, we must be on the express!” exclaimed Corporate Aaron. I think you’ll find you’re actually on a comfortable and reliable Jetstar© flight mate, but okay. The wood-fired ovens were blazing, the group of vaguely interested/confused tourists was growing, it was time to head over to the Holden Colorado© inexplicably full of ingredients to get cracking on the pizzas.
FASHION INTERJECTION: Check out this stylish MKRNZ bystander standing behind Neena in a full-length yellow raincoat. With that royal blue dress underneath! Mwah, colour blocking. Most of the time the crowd blend into an amorphous crowd of suits and inexplicable radio presenters. Can’t believe Four Eyes didn’t get all over this. Good on her for standing out. Your hard work has not gone unnoticed, dear lady. She would later celebrate by sampling quite a lot of pizza.
The Corporate Dads were up in arms about what ingredients would “get the biggest share of wallet.” They decided to go for prosciutto, mozzarella and mushrooms. More importantly, they needed to get the fires blazing. Corporate Aaron needed his scouts skills, and lamented dropping out of scouts to watch Dukes of Hazzard on TV instead. The Hippies wanted to make a cauliflower base for their pizzas, which, as well as sounding terrible and being the stuff of Ian’s nightmares, was not possible due to the limited stock in the Holden Colorado© pantry. The settled for the Italian classic, an Indian Masala pizza.
The Cuties wanted to stand out. Fighting the urge to make a pizza cupcake, they went for a roast vege pizza and decided against roasting any of the veges on top. More of a raw vege pizza, really. Dai and Dal wanted to put duck on theirs, but again were shunned by limited ingredients of the Holden Colorado©. Aaron and Heather were, as always, making 69 dishes more than they needed to. But it was Heather’s birthday so, celebrate. Hell, make 100 pizzas!
Corporate Aaron had started “working the street” in the friendly way, not the prostitute way. The crowds were semi-responsive, semi-comatose – you have to wonder if they roped in a sleepy tour bus because there wasn’t a single New Zealand accent. Apart from Vaughan from Fletch and Vaughan©, an incredibly unwelcome media personality presence who randomly showed up started stirring Dai and Dal’s sauce. Corporate Aaron continued working the crowd, roping in a girl called Maddy to do their stall’s artwork. I mean, she was wearing giant dark glasses and seemed reluctant – was the poor girl blind? Turned out no, but that would have been really good TV. Neena and Belinda were getting stuck in, literally. Their pizzas were sticking all over the place, as if Belinda needed another reason to vilify white flour, come on!
Cutie Jessie was going nuts, throwing dough all over the place and talking in a Dolmio accent. Polynesian Cook Aaron, on the other hand, had stopped talking completely. It was hard work getting those pizzas out, if the thick layer of sweat on the Corporate Dad’s was any gauge. Vaughan was still milling around, or was it Fletch? Oh wait, Fletch has shown up, and Megan. What is happening. The judges did their judging and some of the most appalling pizza handling I have ever seen. Ben Bayly rolled his up like a carpet and ate it, whilst Gareth folded his into some sort of origami swan. It was crazy, it was disrespectful.
The Corporate Dads won by a country mile, due to their generous lashings of meat making it a great “man’s pizza” (bad Gareth, our woman in the yellow coat enjoyed it), and no doubt their exquisite seasoning (salt = sweat). Aaron couldn’t believe it, “holy balls Batman, we’re through to the semifinals.” Jessie and Ricki were the losers of the challenge, getting the lowest score with their raw vege topping. Ricki was confused as to why they would have cooked the veges in the first place, “it’s not a pumpkin oven it’s a pizza oven?!” They will be the first team in Sudden Death, and seem prepped and ready:
Ben Bayly: “Have you got another good menu up your sleeves?”
Cutie Ricki: “No.”
I just pray to god that Kitchen HQ has a pumpkin oven.
Moral of the story: Keep your fires burning (both a life mantra and practical pizza-making advice)
The Spinoff Weekly compiles the best stories of the week – an essential guide to modern life in New Zealand, emailed out on Monday evenings.