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My Kitchen Rules 2016 episode 9 recap: Tasia and Gracia face the great spice dilemma

Exotic flavours … Melbourne sisters Tasia and Gracia wanted their instant restaurant to feel like a romantic dinner in Bali. Photo: Network Seven My Kitchen Rules judge Manu Feildel likes his meat cooked so well, it falls off the bone. Photo: Network Seven

Hot, hot, hot … My Kitchen Rules competitor Tasia does a taste test to she if she has added enough spice to the dish. Photo: Network Seven

My Kitchen Rules judges Manu Feildel and Pete Evans like it super spicy

It’s a special night on MKR, as Tasia and Gracia introduce their fellow contestants to the joys of excessive spice. And as always we’ll be playing the exciting new parlour game, “which common foodstuff will Jessica say she doesn’t eat tonight?”

Tasia and Gracia are a couple of wacky sisters who are unsure of their own ages, and they begin the episode by hinting at the possibility of a murder-suicide before the night is out. They want to let everyone know how great Indonesian food is, and Pete loves Indonesian food because of how thoroughly Indonesians activate their various nuts.

Manu and Pete read the menu and are in agreement: it’s quite important for tonight’s meal to have nice flavours. Glad we got that sorted out. Manu also emphasises that the sisters’ ribs must be cooked just right, because he wants the meat to fall off the bone. That’s how lazy Manu is: he can’t even be bothered detaching his own meat. Typical European.

Tasia and Gracia want their instant restaurant to feel like a romantic dinner in Bali, although where they’re going to find five hundred drunken Australians to stumble around outside is anyone’s guess. Their preparation hits a snag when Gracia discovers that her mackerel smells like fish, which could really blow a hole in their plan to trick the guests into thinking it’s actually grouse.

The guests approach. Jessica is not expecting healthy, but to be fair Jessica’s definition of “healthy” doesn’t actually encompass the concept of digestion. As they ring the doorbell, Lady Marmalade plays for reasons that no mortal can possibly discern. JP and Nelly express their wild excitement over the Balinese décor, but then JP and Nelly would express their wild excitement over the existence of tablecloths.

As the diners await their meal, it becomes clear that Jessica has sniffed the wind in regards to being universally hated, and has now assumed a cheerful, constantly giggling persona that may actually be more annoying. Certainly she is entirely to blame for various contestants breaking into Staying Alive and for that alone she deserves disqualification. Meanwhile in the kitchen Tasia and Gracia have decided that no meal is complete without enough chilli to kill a giraffe.

Manu and Pete arrive, which is getting a bit predictable. Nelly takes the opportunity to tell JP that she would rather be with Manu than him. JP agrees that this seems reasonable. All that JP wants from tonight is for “the girls to stick to their Indonesian ways”: JP is vehemently opposed to fusion, and multiculturalism in general.

Tasia and Gracia are working hard in the kitchen to make sure the entrée is spicy enough to offend God. The concern is that if they put too much chilli in the sauce, there will be none left to infuse the drinking water with.

Entrée is served: grilled fish cakes in banana leaves with peanut sauce – dangerous for anyone with a peanut allergy or without a Hazmat suit. Jessica is excited about the sauce, and the fact the fish is grilled: it fits in with her healthy, joyless lifestyle. Mind you, she doesn’t usually eat things wrapped in banana leaves because she doesn’t like pre-packaged meals.

Manu and Pete taste and immediately burst into flames. Tasia worries that it might have too much spice, but in a horribly ironic twist, Pete and Manu’s problem was that it didn’t have enough! O cruel fate! The judges actually want something with tons of spice – to be honest, they just want to be able to feel something, anything, to remember what it means to be alive. Also the fish cakes aren’t fishy enough because they mixed snapper in with the mackerel, and if you combine one fish with another fish, it’s not … fishy … enough … I dunno. Cooking is stupid.

Nev does find it a little over-spicy: if anything it’s hotter than the KFC Zinger Stacker. Marcos says he doesn’t like it at all, which is good because most of us had forgotten he was there.

Main course is ribs and chips. Jessica informs us that she eats chips, but “the healthy version”, which probably means asparagus or triathlons or something. In fact, the sisters are serving up rice chips, which aren’t really a thing but they don’t know that.

After being told the entrée was insufficiently spicy, they declare, “If they want spicy, they’ll get spicy” in what can only be described as a viciously threatening manner. “We don’t want to kill them,” says Tasia in a moment of moral hesitation, but then she remembers: she’s met them. The sisters keep putting in more and more chilli: they have become the Sweeney Todds of spice, no longer able to remember their cause, fixated only on bringing death and mayhem to their enemies via sauces.

As the diners wait for main, Jessica confesses, “I haven’t always been this healthy”. In her previous life as a repulsive Hutt-esque mountain of wobbling sin-blubber, she actually ate chocolate! Put it in her mouth! Stuffed her face like a common Oompa Loompa. But one day she decided she was addicted to chocolate, so she stopped eating it, and at that point her story kind of fizzled out. She also confesses that pizza is her weakness, but doesn’t specify whether she means eating it or dating it.

Meanwhile Tasia and Gracia are bickering over chilli and hearing problems and continuing to pretend rice chips are food. Jessica objects to the rice chips, as they “look very fried”, and she took an oath, on the day her parents were thrown into a deep fryer by pirates, to fight fried food wherever she may find it.

Manu is having trouble eating his ribs: that’s that laziness shining through again. Pete finds the ribs sensational: as any Flintstones fan will tell you, ribs are very paleo. However, he found that the rice cakes “didn’t make much sense.”

The rest of the diners get straight to moaning, except for Martino, who has been transported straight to Bali, where he remembers eating a similarly poorly-prepared meal. Marcos, on the other hand, objects to the ribs’ fat: “It needs to be rendered badly,” he whispers to Jessica, so I don’t know what his problem is: Tasia and Gracia seem to have rendered it very badly indeed.

Dessert is black rice pudding. Jessica loves black rice because it’s healthier than white rice, which is blatant reverse ricism. Others note that Jessica’s embrace of black rice somewhat contradicts her previous blanket condemnation of carbs, although actually this is very easy to explain: Jessica is a host body shared by several diverse disembodied spirits.

Tasia and Gracia are worried about dessert, because they made it very salty. They are right to be worried, because salty dessert is disgusting. Manu and Pete lie and say it’s delicious but we know better, we who have never tasted it but have our suspicions based on ingrained prejudices.

“I’m struggling to taste anything,” says Jessica. It’s edited to imply she’s talking about dessert, but it’s more likely she’s just describing her life in general. “I can’t say I’m a fan,” says Marcos: again, edited to seem he’s referring to the dessert and not to Jessica. On the other hand Nev, who lost his sense of taste in a duck-castrating accident as a boy, thinks it’s fantastic.

Scores time, and the contestants are mean. Like, really mean. Some of them give Tasia and Gracia a three. Nev feels bad because they’re such nice girls. Kell tells him “it’s not about the girls”, but maybe it should be – Kell, did you think of that? Isn’t it more important to be nice than to make tasty ribs? Shouldn’t they get a niceness bonus? I say, yes, dammit.

Anyway the judges are slightly kinder to them and thanks to two nines for the dessert, and the fact that Pete miraculously got the one edible piece of lamb, they stay off the bottom of the leaderboard by one point. Everyone breathes a sigh of relief except Alex and Gareth, who are still last, but nobody cares about those guys.

Tomorrow, tune in to see JP and Nelly cook, with the assistance of the various woodland animals who follow Nelly everywhere and three fairy godmothers.

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