Soulless food: My Kitchen Rules

Yet another unreality food show has hit our Australian telly screens. My Kitchen Rules, where teams representing five states vie for the title of most-self-confident but not-quite-expert home entertaining maestros. People showing off to each other isn’t exactly my idea of fun cooking viewing, but hey, maybe there’s something to enjoy in it.

My arse.

The first episode surprised me with the ageist comments of some dinner guests (and co-competitors) about their advanced-middle-age hosts. So, like, wrinklies aren’t meant to be able to cook like pros? I wonder what granny might have to say about that…

The competitors, mostly 20-somethings, show a startling lack of humility (except for the lovely, warm Queensland sisters), but if the second episode is anything to go by (perhaps best subtitled The Guys Who Couldn’t), viewers might be in for more lashings of hubris and patchily competent execution. You know you’re watching quality TV when overconfident lads have a range of high class restaurant chinaware on which to serve up their leathery ravioli, burnt pinenuts and (thankfully) excellent chocolate cake, all the while observing that their performance just wasn’t up to their normal standard (what does it take to boil your pasta to the right consistency when you’re competing for food show-offs of the year?).

It’s good that each pair is locked into whatever menu they submitted before the filming started, otherwise the strategic menu designing would perhaps lead to the last couple having a distinct advantage. But of course, that couple will still be able to correct some of delivery problems that the first two pairs have experienced.

Such a pity that the last couple (some episodes away yet) are the most putridly bitchy pair from Adelaide. May their custards curdle, their fish be dry, their spices stale and their dishes greasy. They seem to deserve little better.

We have yet to endure the we’re-perfect meltdown of the Perth team, and (I hope) a fine performance by the only people who seem truly nice: the aforementioned Queenslanders.

Something tells me that out there in high-end-food-mag-land there are in fact obnoxious people actually engaged in this sort of repulsive pseudo-culinary exhibitionism. I’m glad it’s been a long while since I’ve been to any such “event”.

Meanwhile, I was sitting in front of the telly happily, quietly, unexhibitionistically consuming a delicious plate of rigatoni with red capsicum, bacon and delicious naturally cured Victorian olives. Cooked by me for my tastebuds. Cooked for satisfaction, not show. Just like thousands and thousands and thousands of other foodloving people around Australia.


Now, if you want to see how really frightening these guests-to-dinner competitions can get, check out some of the mortifying episodes of the UK series Come Dine With Me on YouTube: (competitor 2 Val, part 1) (competitor 2, part 2) (competitor 4 Dawn, part 1)

And if that didn’t make your day, dear readers, nothin’ will! 🙂

10 thoughts on “Soulless food: My Kitchen Rules”

  1. Huh, just last week I was talking to you about what a perfect DUH moment it was when Anthony Bourdain said that rustic, homely cooking is what chefs love the most. Apparently that sentiment does not hold true in some very wankery homes in Australia. Your pasta looks perfect but the teams would probably slaughter it for not being presented in a ring mold. I was shocked when the teams gave their scores for the lovely (and nervous) NSW couple. Your cheesecake is not f*cking raw. If it doesn’t spill over the plate, it is cooked. Haven’t you ever had good creamy cheesecake before, Adelaide non-couple? Sheesh.

    Have yet to watch the second episode, but for the love of Manu, I can make better pasta that doesn’t filigree as I’m rolling it out through the machine.

  2. I couldn’t watch more than about half an hour of the first episode. I thought they contestants might be encouraging of each other – the closest anyone got to that was the sisters from QLD. I agree the ‘not-a-couple’ flatmates from SA were astonishingly cruel and snaky in their comments.

    Would have liked to have heard the comments from the contestants on the food *before* the Judges gave their views rather than after.

    I would never enter such a competition, hardly any of my food qualifies as something other than ‘rustic’, and *I* don’t mind a big heaping of mash now and again!

    Manggy – I’d rather have slightly under than slightly over-cooked cheesecake any day but maybe the flatmates were looking for a rubbery rather than a silky cheesecake – mmmm;)

    Not going to be tuning in again.

  3. I am so with you Duncan. I watched out of curiosity, but spent most of the time harrumping loudly and exclaiming at the TV. People telling me over and over and over again how much they love food, and what knowledgeable foodies they are is *not* very interesting.

    I did think Manu and Peter’s comments were interesting, thoughtful and very kind.

    I find the whole state vs state competition a tedious, has-been idea. Surely it would have been a good idea to get the *best* people? I’ve noticed adverts on local buses for MKR, promoting “Mossy and Gabe” and entreating us to support NSW.

    Nah, not interested.

    PS your rigatoni looks wonderful – exactly my kind of food.

  4. I actually missed the airing time for MKR—which is a good thing, judging from what’s being said here. Oh gosh if anyone that bitchy ever came to over for dinner they’d be leaving the house wearing slices of smooth, velvety cheesecake.

    But I thought about it, and decided that they don’t really deserve such good cheesecake. Maybe one of those frozen Sara Lee ones.

    Thanks for the heads up, folks. I’ll be spending my time watching something else.

  5. Kathryn, here in Vic I haven’t seen any buses (yet) but the ads on 7 are certainly looking to find a supporter base for the Victorian guys. Maybe that’s the type of follower the programmers are hoping for – not fans of food and cooking but reality TV junkies – only those addicted to the worst of the ‘unreality’ (as Duncan puts it) shows could be into this show surely.

  6. I’ve watched all the episodes so far and I hate it. It is slow, tedious, cold and worse of all, I’m not really learning much about food.

    But I’m going to give it a chance, since I didn’t particularly like the Masterchef auditions last season but was completely hooked to Masterchef by the end.

  7. Dear Syrupandtang, your opinion of the show My Kitchen Rules is awesome! You had me laughing at what you said about each of the contestants. Love reading your posts and what you have to say! By the way your rigatoni looked so good!!! This site was such a pleasure to visit. Well presented, clean, clear and beautiful photos. I shall be returning for another delicious bite. Thank you for sharing,
    Cheers, Gaby
    You can visit me at

  8. What an ungracious woman contestant from Tasmania
    I wonder how long it will take her husband to grow a backbone and tell her where to go.

    She has a nasty jealous nature which will only grow worse with time.

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