My Kitchen Rules Recap: Life is Ashers

It’s time for the instant restaurant of Della and Tully, the “foodie friends” who have won hearts all around Australia with their mild observations and mostly unobjectionable personalities. “The pressure is on to deliver a menu that lives up to everyone’s high expectations,” says the lying voiceover man — the pressure is actually on to deliver a menu that is slightly better than mediocre in order to pass through to the next round.

Introduction montage: “people say we’re extroverts and the life of the party,” says Tully: none of these people are MKR viewers. Della works as a construction worker, while Tully is award-winning actress Asher Keddie researching a role for a new movie about a terrible reality show.

Della is sure that she and Tully can “play on each other’s strengths”, Della’s strength being cooking and Tully’s strength being standing next to Della while she cooks.

“We’re on top of the leaderboard, but I’m really really worried about Della and Tully tonight,” Amanda pops up to say, as part of the show’s ongoing efforts to insult the audience’s intelligence: Della and Tully might get a higher score than Amanda and Kelsey, but they can’t possibly knock them down to the bottom of the leaderboard, so Amanda is either lying about being worried, or even stupider than she sounds.

Anyway Della and Tully are at Coles and Manu is talking bollocks to Pete who responds in kind. Manu enjoys it when family traditions make it onto the menu, as it means failure shames not just the cook, but the cook’s family.

Della and Tully’s instant restaurant is called “Pepper Tree”, because there’s a pepper tree in the backyard, and…that’s it, really. They claim it’s “hobo chic”, hoping to demonstrate to their guests that they don’t know what the word “hobo” means. They also say “boho” a lot, which I think they think means the same thing as “hobo”, but looking at the decor suggests that whether boho or hobo, these women have no idea what they’re talking about.

Della begins making yoghurt sorbet, driven by an all-consuming hatred of humankind. Meanwhile Tully is putting marinade on some quails, narrating her actions slowly and deliberately in the manner of someone who has never been in a kitchen before.

Della and Tully cooking is even duller than other people cooking. The music is busting its gut trying to make the scene seem dramatic, and failing miserably. Della keeps going on about cake. I don’t know.

The guests arrives. Josh expects a lot from Della, which is his way of saying that he is a creep who will invent things to bitch about because his dinner was shit.

In the kitchen the music is having a thrombosis while Della and Tully continue to discuss cake.

Josh is excited by Della and Tully’s flustered demeanour. He expresses his excitement via a slight twitch in his cheek muscle, and the complete absence of emotion in his voice.

Alyse doesn’t think much of Della and Tully’s instant restaurant, as they have failed to transform the house into the dining room from Downton Abbey, which Alyse considers an absolute minimum for a decent evening. Kelsey and Amanda love it though, so probably Alyse is right. Kelsey and Amanda have a brief discussion about whether “Mediterranean” means the same thing as “bohemian” and no firm conclusion is reached.

In the kitchen, Della and Tully have hit a snag in the form of their inability to read a couscous packet. The “foodie friends” are really shining here.

The foodies introduce the menu to the guests. Alyse finds everything on it utterly pathetic: when Della and Tully say that entree is charred quail, she looks like she’s watching someone else’s children fuck up their Christmas concert.

Back to the kitchen, where Della and Tull wrestle with the case of the tangy glaze.

Then back to the dining room, where Duncan and Josh plunge into a quietly passive-aggressive dispute over what colour quail should be. Matt then complains that he’s never had good couscous, leading Josh to suggest in a cutaway that Alyse is a bad cook, an idea that amuses him so much his mouth has a minor spasm.

Back in the kitchen, I mean, who cares.

In the dining room, Josh admits he wants people to fail, a sentiment which aligns with his aims to win the competition, but which he definitely felt beforehand anyway. Court says people who score strategically need a kick in the shin, and she has a point, but the counterpoint is that Court is annoying.

Meanwhile in the kitchen Della has lost her mojo, which I assume means she is claiming to have had some at one point. She can’t tell which quails are cooked and which are uncooked, something she maybe should have learnt to determine before trying to cook some quails.

Somehow or other, and in an incredibly uninteresting way, Della gets her quails on the plate. “This looks amazing,” says Kelsey. “Wah wah wah couscous boo fucking hoo,” says Matt.

Pete and Manu try their nasty little birds. “Who doesn’t love quail to start off a three-course meal?” says Pete, a question with an amazing number of different answers. Including, of course, “everyone, when Della and Tully are cooking”. The quail is undercooked and the glaze is kind of gross. Manu asks Della what she could have done to fix it. Della says she could have cooked it for longer. Manu asks her why she didn’t. Della says she didn’t want to keep people waiting. Manu tells her it would only have taken another minute. Della deeply regrets being dumb. She had assumed that the only way to get the quail right would have been to cook it for another four hours, but this was a miscalculation caused by not being able to read the quail packet.

Off they go making their main course, which is duck and pretty likely to be awful as well.

Meanwhile Duncan admits that though he’s smoked many meats, he’s never smoked a duck. His wild experimentation sickens everyone.

Josh is feeling great about the likelihood of Della and Tully failing — so great that he does his version of a smile, where he tries to push his teeth out of his mouth.

The couples at the table discuss how they met. Kelsey and Amanda squawk wildly as Alyse describes how she won Matt’s heart by assaulting him. Josh opines that he wouldn’t want Alyse pushing him against a wall, which is lucky because Alyse isn’t going to, so everyone wins.

Meanwhile in the kitchen, the duck is raw, and the possibility has to be entertained that Della does not actually know how to apply heat to birds. Della is so shattered by her raw duck that she runs out of the kitchen in tears. She wants to give up, but then she remembers that she is on the show to make her daughter proud, and goes back to try again. This is an odd way to react, since surely the more times she fails, the less proud her daughter will be.

Anyway, Della comes back and cooks the duck, disappointingly for anyone who was hoping for a contestant to actually quit the game to make it more interesting. Back to tedious “cooking” action.

Back at the table, Alyse demands to know what Josh and Amy’s problem in the kitchen was. Josh explains that he and Amy sucked. He returns fire by asking Alyse how she handled his seafood menu. Alyse explains that she vomited. Josh finds this deeply suspicious. Amy is sure that it was strategic vomit. After all, the young stupidweds reason, Alyse managed to eat seafood at other instant restaurants, what possible reason could there be for her to get sick eating the objectively worse seafood that Josh and Amy served and everyone hated? IT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE.

Anyway, while that wankfest goes on, Della and Tully finish their duck and serve it, and Manu and Pete love it. But Pete says there’s too much stuff on the plate, and that Paleolithic man would’ve found it far too fussy.

The guests enjoy the duck, sort of. Duncan is disappointed that he could smell the smoke more than he could taste it, which I guess is an opinion that a person could have. Josh found the duck just “OK”, by which he means it was great but he’s a dick. He makes an impassioned speech about how opinionated Della has been and how much she’s spoken about food and how you’d think someone who talks about food that much would be better at cooking and it’s impossible not to assume that he is talking about himself.

In the kitchen, the sorbet is looking good, but look out, a minor setback is looming, which means Della is about to throw her hands up and burst into tears and Tully will stand in the corner looking exasperated.

In the dining room, the guests discuss their hopes and dreams for dessert. Kelsey and Amanda are looking forward to dessert. Josh and Amy are looking forward to dessert being terrible. The audience is looking forward to dessert being stuffed into these people’s faces so they stop talking.

Pete wanders into the kitchen to demand Della and Tully put more bone broth in their sorbet. He leaves them in dead silence and fighting over how to moisten their cake. “All of a sudden, I think, accentuate the orange!” exclaims Della, who has gone quite mad. They do something or other with oranges and so forth, and then Della throws up her hands and Tully looks exasperated.

Della tells Tully she has to decide what to with dessert. Tully finds it hard to make a decision about dessert, because she has never cooked anything in her life and her entire contribution to the team is drawing in Offspring viewers.

Dessert is served, and Alyse and Matt make snuffling noises about how much better their own desserts are. Josh follows with a snide remark about Della and Tully being glad the evening is almost over, obviously getting Della and Tully confused with the viewing audience.

The judges compliment the dessert’s restraint, but Manu says the cake was too dense, or something that sounded like that. Pete says the cake is dry and could’ve used some orange syrup, like possibly the orange syrup that they made and left in the kitchen because Della let Tully decide.

“I think you’ve got the makings of a great cooking team here,” says Pete, and he’s right: put Della together with someone else who can cook and you’ve got something.

The guests taste the awful dry cake. Kelsey says that it’s not her “forte”, just like English. Amy says the cake was lacking in flavour and that she is lacking in self-awareness.

Scores time, and it doesn’t get much bitchier. Josh is so happy he’s had surgery to allow the stretching of the corners of his mouth. Yet he allows Amy to give them a five, while Albert and Dave give a four and the mystery continues: why are Albert and Dave such dicks when it’s scoring time? The guest teams give a combined score of 24 out of 50 — all fives except for the bafflingly cruel Albert and Dave. The judges give them 34, which makes a total of 58. This places them second last on the board, but also shows that they are much, much better than Josh and Amy. Who are terrible. Like, in every way.

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