My Kitchen Rules NZ kicked off on TV One last night, grabbing much of New Zealand straight by the tongs. The show itself is part Come Dine With Me, part Masterchef and part Real Housewives. This stellar format promises to deliver cooking, judging and, best of all, tense times between contestants from all walks of life. Last night’s debut ep of MKR introduced us to the teams in Group One and teased the talent to come in Group Two (particularly endeared by ‘Corporate Dads’ and lazily/offensively named ‘Polynesian Cooks’). This season, teams are competing for $100,000 and will be judged by thin-lipped Michelin star Ben Bayly and soul brother Gareth Stewart (he’s the head chef of Soul so, not racist).
The first round of the competition is the “instant restaurant”, wherein teams unmethodically zig-zag up and down the country to dine in each other’s houses. Our first competing team the ‘Modern-Day Hippies’ Neena (hippy spelling) and Belinda (regular spelling) did well to convince us of their earthly spirits. Sticking to their mantra “let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”, they foraged around on the forest floor for the bulk of their ingredients. Other hippy touches included 5+ lava lamps in the background and ensuring their home restaurant sign ‘Dandelion’ was hung square over their enormous yuppie flatscreen TV.
They dished up a three-course menu sautéed in about 30 Maori words. A highlight was the sticky venison, which was criticised for tasting like it was “rolled in dirt”. Nothing wrong with a little bit of Papatuanuku, man. Disaster came in the form of melty white chocolate tart, perhaps another example of why the world should calm down and stop using coconut oil as a substitute for earth, wind and fire.
The pair scored 71 points, impressing the judges with their interesting blackberry and fish combo despite their dirt-laden “mumsy” meat. Hopefully they can “love, learn and let go” and not let this critique bring down their chakra too much.
Buzzword of the ep: “endearing” (3 times)
Prop of the ep: tie between woven foraging baskets and lava lamps
Screengrab of the ep: When Ben dropped the “mumsy” bomb