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Guest Post: The Hot Plate – Or Was It Kitchen Nightmares

Rosie has barely taken a break from Masterchef and she is back recapping The Hot Plate. A cracker show with some great aka polarising casting. And now over to Rosie:

And here we go with The Hotplate! It promises to be very much like MKR, only with professional restaurateurs, so we should at least never see under or overcooked food. One hopes.

There are 6 teams, but from only 4 different states, which I find distinctly odd. I guess they don’t have restaurants in SA, Tassie or the territories. 😉 Each restaurant couple will compete “to realise their food dream” and win $100 000. I would have thought running their own restaurant meant they were already living their food dream, but what do I know? Maybe you need that hundred grand to live your food dream.

There are two judges, one of whom is Scott Pickett, a Melbourne restaurateur and the other of whom is Tom Parker-Bowles, step-uncle to Prince George and Princess Charlotte. I think that would be the relationship?

They make a huge deal out of their winning the 100 grand, but well, that’s not really all that much in this day and age. I suspect the television appearance may be more of a deal than the money. Just my private opinion.

Tonight’s restaurant will be Christina’s Restaurant, run by Italian origin mother and daughter pair, Christina and Tania from Perth.

All of the contestants have fronted up at Fremantle. The judges tell us that these restaurateurs are all local food heroes, and they will be mentored by the two judges Scott has three restaurants and he knows what makes a good one. Yes, by golly gosh he does.

Tom is an international food critic and has written 5 cookbooks, so he knows what he is talking about too, just in case anybody dared to think otherwise.

It will be restaurant versus restaurant, and cuisine versus cuisine. sayeth the announcer, following up with: this IS The Hotplate. I wish I could tell you I had a shiver running up and down my spine, but I was too busy typing.

We meet each couple. There is Lauren and Nola, distressingly (to me, at least) known as Lozz and Nols. They cook seafood in a restaurant called Wings and Fins in Victoria.

Christina and Tania are a mother and daughter team from WA. They cook Italian food. Allegedly.

Aron and Vanessa are a husband and wife team who cook modern Australian food at their NSW restaurant which is called Rocksalt.

Marie and Emi are best friends and cook Japanese food at the Bird’s Nest restaurant in Qld.

Conrad and Liam are a couple who cook Asian fusion food at their restaurant, Duck, Duck, Moose in WA.

In this round, each team will cook for the judges. Just the two of them in the kitchen, not their usual team. At the end of Round 1, the two with the lowest score will compete in one of Scott’s restaurants to not be the one eliminated.

The judges can order anything from the usual menu.

Christina will start with the minestrone. Tania doesn’t usually work in the kitchen. Christina can’t rush the minestrone because it’s her love going into it. I try really hard not to poke my fingers down my throat and manage not to, mainly because I don’t want to lose my dinner. However I do not succeed in preventing the eyes from rolling.

Scott says minestrone is the ultimate Italian soup.

Conrad and Liam say they’ll get an Italian feast. Liam says he can’t eat that much.

Tom says it needs to have passion, but Scott says it also has to be accurate.

They note that none of the desserts are Italian, for example: sticky date pudding and apple crumble.

Mum seems to just want to be passionate and dramatic. It’s annoying. Tania says everything is taking a lot longer than she thought. Christina says Tania, who is displaying her substantial bazooms in a rather low cut dress by the way, has won maitre’D of the year, so should have no trouble setting the table, and with the preparation of the restaurant.

The judges are there before the guests, maybe pointing out to us how very different the show is from MKR. My eyes have another roll again, this time with triple twist and double somersault.

Scott says they look nervous. No, not my eyes, although they have good reason to be.

The restaurant has been going for 21 years.

Scott says they are obviously a highly successful local restaurant. He comments that it looks more like a local Mexican place than an Italian restaurant.

Naming it after yourself shows pride, says either Lozz or Nols. (the younger of the two. I’ll soon have ‘em figured out.)

Christina says her head is on the chopping block and she is terrified.

As the contestants enter, they see lots of Awards for Excellence hanging on the wall and find them intimidating , or at least Nols does. Or Lozz.

Conrad (the older of the gay couple) doesn’t like fake flowers. And says so. Loudly. He has no trouble saying he disagrees with many things. He has been with Liam for 15 years, which in gay years is about 150. Okay, that made me smile.

Aron and Vanessa are confused to see Tex Mex stuff  around.

Liam likes to criticize… just about anything and everything really. I guess Conrad’s attitude has rubbed off, or maybe the attitude was part of what brought them together. He criticizes either Lozz or Nols, rather drily (but not to her face), “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, oi, oi, oi.” I admit I chuckled at that. Although he’d probably say the same of me.

It appears the judges order a dish each and one of each order goes to one of each pair of contestants. So they can taste from each other’s dish if they wish, I guess.

Scott selects minestrone for his first course, while Tom goes for the grilled mushrooms with special sauce.

For mains, Tom has orders a rare steak, and Scott chooses pasta con pollo.

Scott orders the sticky date pudding and Tom the apple crumble for dessert.

They discuss at the table what they think the special sauce might be. They guess it might be a cream sauce. It’s not.

Chez Pascal is very provincial and French. Lozz (sigh, or Nols) tells Pascal he’s a hottie.

Conrad has a bitch about the napkins being paper. Marie and Emi, from the Brisbane Japanese restaurant note that their napkins are paper as well.

The food is served.

Liam describes his minestrone as an Olympic swimming pool of mush. It did look like Georgia’s mushroom soup from Sunday night… And they are all HUGE serves.

Tom asks Tania did she make the mushroom dish herself. She says yes, from scratch. Including the barbecue sauce? Ah, no. He doesn’t comment further on the lack of homemade barbecue sauce. Scott says it is good. The minestrone soup, she didn’t get there with that one. Tom says it was woefully underseasoned.

Lozz or Nols says it must be hard being criticized like that. She seems really nice. I think they both are, whatever their names are. I hope I get their identities figured by the time we reach their restaurant.

Christine and her weeping daughter return to the kitchen. We got a bad review, all we have to do is pick ourselves up and keep going, she tells her.

The first main involves porcini mushrooms cooked with port then reduced to become a sauce for the steak. Tania, who has been making pasta, realises it is terrible so she throws it out. With a flourish, of course. She wants her mother to start cooking the steaks. So Mum puts on the steaks. Eventually.

Tania has cooked the parmesan mashed potatoes for the steak. Tania has put too much sauce, against Mum’s instructions, over the steak. Why would she listen to her mother who is the actual chef?

They serve the mains. Once again, the portion sizes are gigantic. Two steaks are served, not one. Vanessa notes the pasta is good.

Tom says his steak is delivered as ordered and his was bloody lovely rare and generous although perhaps underseasoned. And a bit too generous. Scott says his fettuccine con pollo was a simple dish, but he was pleasantly surprised. It was packed full of flavour. He asks was it fresh pasts, and they admit it was bought in, but because it was good, and cooked perfectly, he is happy.

Christina takes the sticky date puddings out of the oven and they look great. But alas, the apple is overcooked. She gets Tania cooking more while she makes the butterscotch sauce.

Aron comments that Conrad and Liam seem very opinionated, so is going to be really interested to taste their food.

Nols or Lozz comments that there is strong competition around the table.

Christina and Tania serve the desserts.

Conrad is not happy that the ramekin holding his ice cream is sitting in his sauce. Liam says he has too much crumble for the apple. A couple of them comment that the sticky date puddings are dry.

Tom tells the girls there is not enough apple compared with the crumble in his apple crumble. Scott says his sticky date was heavy maybe because it was baked? Christina admits that yes, they were baked. He says they are always better steamed. Christina is embarrassed.

The contestants score. I was interested to see they just do it at the table, writing their numbers into a folder without the need to run away for privacy a la MKR.

Philippe and Pascale – 4/10

Conrad and Liam – 4/10

Aron and Vanessa – 4/10

Lozz and Nols – 5/10

Marie and Emi – 6/10

Total – 23/50


Scott scores the food – 5/10

And then the restaurant experience – 7/10

Total – 12/20

Tom scores his food – 5/10

Restaurant experience – 8/10

Total – 13/20

Grand total: 48

Christina says the guest teams maybe feel threatened to have given them such low scores. Or maybe your food was pretty bad?

Philippe and Pascale will be cooking tomorrow night. Pascal thinks they will do better. I sincerely hope so.


1 Reality Raver { 07.28.15 at 11:13 pm }

I had only been watching The Hot Plate for a few minutes and already I was mesmerised…. mesmerised by Tania’s breasts barely encased in leopard print. Thankfully NINE’s wardrobe department showed restraint and did not add a pearl necklace to the outfit.

An enjoyable show even though there were some huge hat tips to MKR.

2 lola { 07.29.15 at 7:39 am }

Maybe because this show started straight away after MC, but I couldn’t get through 5 minutes of it.
Too many cooking shows spoil the broth!
Same reaction to Restaurant revolution, although I found the Asian mother equal parts fascinating and embarrassing.

3 Pandy { 07.29.15 at 7:49 am }

I think I will have to keep watching it just to see the characters, especially Conrad and his arrogance and disdain to everyone and everything.
It was so much like MKR it wasn’t funny, its not about the food.

4 Smythe { 07.29.15 at 8:10 am }

Watched this and Restaurant Revolution. Hot Plate = MKR clone. I’m assuming that it won’t last as many weeks but then who knows. I’m not into Italian with heavy cream sauce and loads of cheese (prefer lighter Italian) so food didn’t look good to me. Interesting that, for a change, judges did not berate contestants for not making their own pasta. As per the judge many high quality restaurants buy freshly made pasta rather than making their own.
RR = not sure what I think about it yet. Will be interesting to see what the restaurants will look like when they are done and how the girls without any hospitality experience fare. Seems like a hybrid of multiple “reality” shows.

Don’t know if I will stick with either of these very long. Very much looking forward to Great British Bake Off which should be starting soon.

5 Sarah { 07.29.15 at 9:11 am }

Enjoyed it, but wish they’d chosen restaurateurs with a bit more class and style

6 Fijane { 07.29.15 at 9:16 am }

Not watching either show (I know, why bother reading the recap?) But I did hear a radio segment review of both on ABC 702. The reviewer had actually been to the Sydney RR,and said that he was pushed to comment badly about the meal. He was of the strong opinion that the Sydney guy is being set up to fail. Re Hotplate he was specifically told by the producer that the show ‘ has been carefully crafted to showcase the personalities of the contestants’. From this the reviewer concluded that the show will be highly edited and that the food will be largely irrelevant. His final conclusion was that he preferred RR.

7 Windsong { 07.29.15 at 9:41 am }

Reality Raver @1 … I’m glad you mentioned that in the very first response, because Tania’s cleavage was *overwhelming*. I’m not even attracted to women, but I just couldn’t look away. I mean, seriously, you could’ve lost the Titanic down the front there. And the leopard-print dress was *not* helping.

I’m sorry, I probably sound horrible. But damn it, wardrobe department. Subtlety is sometimes a good thing.

The whole thing was very much an MKR clone, and not even a particularly subtle or clever one. And, you know, I just sat through a season of MKR with bitchy, extroverted people who couldn’t cook. This seems like it’s gonna be more of the same. And what Fijane just said doesn’t exactly fill me with hope.

Dom was the Sydney RRer, wasn’t he? Channel-surfing past “Restaurant Revolution” last night, Dom was about the only guy I actually liked. If he’s being set up to fail, well, that bites.

I’m gonna give RR a shot tonight (although I may channel surf back through to HP because of the absurdly handsome Frenchman who’s cooking with his father).

Oh, and before I forget — Rosie, good job with the recap :).

8 Helgaz { 07.29.15 at 10:01 am }

Was intrigued to see how Nine would handle a cooking show. Coming off the finale of MasterChef, this was like going from Vue de Monde to la Porchetta, from The Press Club to Sizzler. I don’t know much of the culinary background of either judge, but I thought they showed remarkable tact and restraint when eating and judging. One can only hope that the remaining restaurants ( and it was gratifying to hear Tom pronounce the word correctly) have a little more diversity and creativity.

9 Bel { 07.29.15 at 10:45 am }

For some reason I didn’t mind it. I like the idea of people who already have restaurants competing, it’s all the more fun when they mess things up. Like Norgs & Mamma Norgs not being able to cope with pasta. I liked the judge saying it’s acceptable to bring in fresh pasta in a restaurant (see, it IS diff from MKR!)
And I like Conrad and Liam, nasty bitches they are. I live about 20 mins from Lozz & Nolls restaurant (never heard of it) so who knows, I might be tempted to check it out. There’s sure as hell nothing much else to do in Tooradin.

Tom Parker-Bowles seems nice.

10 Littlepetal { 07.29.15 at 10:53 am }

I only lasted 5 mins. I thought being restaurant owners they could cook better.

At least for the first episode, HP has more than 100,000 viewers more than RR. Interesting to see what happens tonight with competition from The Bachelor and the cricket.

11 brain dead dave { 07.29.15 at 11:01 am }

The weather may stuff the cricket up. Will the new Bachelor’s teeth fit on my tv screen?

I watched it. I’ve seen a lot worse than My Hotplate Rules, especially from Ch9. They don’t give a stuffanovic who or what they copy.

“Keep pushing”~ those norgs, Norgella.

Thanks ,Rosie.

12 Windsong { 07.29.15 at 11:08 am }

I am curious about the Bachelor this year. I’ve heard that people have been getting a gay vibe from him, and I don’t get that at all.

But I didn’t get a lying douchebag vibe from Blake, either, so what do I know?

13 Bolders { 07.29.15 at 11:09 am }

Why only 3 hours to prepare the entire menu – that’s bullshit.

Chef Christina came across as a bit of a pain and I wonder just how much of that behaviour is being coached. Future reality contestants: stand your ground. It’s just not worth giving over the top performances to suit some two bit producer’s whiteboard.

Felt sorry for the daughter – she looked like she’d been in tears throughout the whole process. I think she knew this was not going to reflect well on the family business. Mama Christina came across as loud, blowsy and needing a desperate cigarette.

14 Bolders { 07.29.15 at 11:11 am }

“My Hotplate Rules” – BDD you summed it up perfectly.

15 Windsong { 07.29.15 at 11:17 am }

“Why only 3 hours to prepare the entire menu?”

Because that’s what MKR did. That’s the only answer I can think of, but I think it’s the right one.

16 Evan { 07.29.15 at 11:19 am }

A blatant ripoff of MKR, and the mother/daughter team were irritatingly awful, but Tom Parkers Bowles comes across as a nice guy(Camilla’s boy), so I will stick at this for a bit longer.
But this show is no threat to Masterchef, none whatsoever, I doubt George/Gary/Matt have anything to worry about.

17 Evan { 07.29.15 at 11:21 am }

The Bachelor premiere tonight will dominate, you would think, given all the pre publicity for the new guy and so on.
The Restaurant show on Channel 7 – nah, I will give that one a miss.

18 Pandy { 07.29.15 at 1:46 pm }

Me too Evan, I can only cope with one at a time.

19 Rosie { 07.29.15 at 2:13 pm }

I think their being coached sums it up nicely. Mr Rosie, who, as many of you know, loathes reality shows, but somehow tolerates me, and therefore just makes lots of rude but funny remarks about “my” shows, said it seemed blatantly obvious that Mum and daughter were being set up to have lots of drarma.

20 Juz { 07.29.15 at 2:40 pm }

I watched part of Rest Rev and it was ok – pretty much My Restaurant Rules but set in shipping containers and no Dicko. No doubt it will be more exciting once the restaurants actually open.

21 Carole { 07.29.15 at 3:24 pm }

I wanted to watch both of them & hoped they would be on once a week like Bake Off was. Since The Voice is on I thought it would be on oncve a week, but it’s too much to watch both of them, so settled on Hot Plate. I’ve never watched MKR so can’t compare it to that. But it’s every day people cooking in their homes, though not their actual homes according to Woman’s Day. Hot Plate is chefs cooking in their own restaurants so it is different.

Those gay guys are going to be the nasties, they criticised everything & seemed really picky, but they were funny. Most of the other couples seemed nice, we’ll see how long that lasts.

After reading what goes on behind the scenes at MKR, I wouldn’t be surprised if they were told what dishes the judges wanted to eat & only cooked them. That menu was huge, there’s no way they cooked everything on it. I would have been pissed off if I saw a dish I liked but the judges didn’t order it. They didn’t show it, but I wonder if they consulted the contestants & ordered what the majority wanted.

I really liked the look of the mushroom with the bacon & ‘special’ sauce. And FINALLY someone on one of these cooking shows actually wanted her meat cooked.

Technically they did cook their own pasta, but it didn’t work out. They should have explained that.

Both desserts seemed to be pretty ordinary.

I liked the judges too, they gave criticism respectfully & gave advice on what they did wrong without putting them down.

I enjoyed it & look forward to tonight’s show.

22 Ali-oops { 07.29.15 at 3:38 pm }

Read in The Hun that they are spoiler shows designed to steal viewers away from each other (split the audience). Ratings not good:

“The launch episodes of Nine’s The Hotplate and Seven’s Restaurant Revolution both rated disappointingly last night.
The Hotplate averaged 784,000 viewers across Australia’s five capital cities compared to 676,000 for Restaurant Revolution.
Compare that with the 2.133 million viewers who watched the finale of MasterChef Australia the previous night.
The results are a worry considering The Hotplate and Restaurant Revolution are set to screen up to four nights per week.”

23 Ali-oops { 07.29.15 at 3:42 pm }

Sorry, off topic re The Bachelor. Seems he may not be so different after all – admits to cheating and also having pashed Tania Zaetta. Er, not sure which makes him look worse.

24 Littlepetal { 07.29.15 at 4:07 pm }

I think this year The Bachelor will have over the top acting from the girls. After 2 series they know how to get more air time.

He has been doing his rounds on radio today.


The Bachelor’s Sam Wood says overcoming the show’s ‘cynical stigma’ is a battle
July 29, 2015 – 6:00AM
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The new Bachelor Sam Wood says he has his work cut out for him to overcome the “cynical stigma” about the show, but makes no apologies about kissing some of the bachelorettes to “test the water” on a physical connection.

With season three of Ten’s The Bachelor kicking off on Wednesday, the latest lonely heart says he’s well aware of what he’s getting into.

The 35-year-old fitness entrepeneur from Melbourne admits people’s scepticism about the show is understandable, particularly after last year’s debacle with Blake Garvey who ditched fiancee Sam Frost for runner-up Louise Pillidge after the show’s finale.


Looking for love: Sam Wood from The Bachelor season three, which airs Wednesday night.
Looking for love: Sam Wood from The Bachelor season three, which airs Wednesday night. Photo: Janie Barrett
“After last season there’s a obviously a very cynical stigma attached to The Bachelor,” says Wood. “I’m not on a crusade to [tackle] that stigma or anything like that, but all I hope is that people judge me for me.

“Then if if they like me or not, that’s fine. but I hope they at least see me, meet me and give me a chance before they make a judgment.”

He says reports of a “no-sex rule” on the show are rubbish, but confesses that he’s kissed some of the 19 bachelorettes to “test the water” on physical chemistry.

“I make no apologies for kissing some of the girls. I think you’ve got to test the water. You’ve got to work out if there is that physical chemistry there. If everything else is great, that’s an important thing to work out.”

25 lola { 07.29.15 at 4:31 pm }

Ooh, looking forward to the new season of the Batch.
That Tanya Zaetta has done the rounds!

26 Pandy { 07.29.15 at 4:44 pm }

Carole, I’m with you, I couldn’t believe that woman asked for the meat well done, no one ever says that ( except me and my husband ) lol!
Looking forward to The Bach tonight.

27 Smythe { 07.30.15 at 4:47 am }

Hot Plate…episode 2….noticed that chef is missing part of one finger (kitchen accident?) and was brandishing a blue bandage on the finger next to it…ooops.
Aron and Vanessa….Drasko and Bianca all over again. Wonder if he likes to sous vide everything.
Tania…sporting another low cut animal print outfit. Not only low cut but way too tight. Is this how they are dressing her or is this her choice?
Liam and Conrad….Conrad isn’t bad but Liam is being edited like the bad guy similar to Aron and Vanessa. He seems to be arrogant.
I do think most of the teams scored Pascal and Phillipe too low. It’s old school French cooking and it’s not being advertised as anything else. The lady who wanted the lamb well done never requested that before the food was brought out. Phillipe made me think of Inspector Clousseau.
Wonder what Manu would have thought about Chez Pascal…plenty of sauce on the plate.
With those kind of ratings RR and HP may only last one season.