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Guest Post: The Hot Plate – Is There Strategic Scoring Going On?

Rosie is knocking out these recaps on The Hot Plate and they are sensational. Now have a restful weekend Rosie:

So since we are still in Sydney, it’s Aron and Vanessa’s turn tonight. In case you don’t know, and on the offchance you care, their restaurant is called Rocksalt. After Liam’s constant carping about the other teams, it will be very interesting to see if he performs better under pressure than anyone or indeed, everyone, else.

Hmm, it seems I was wrong with last night’s total. It’s 54, not 55. Sorry to give you bad intel. That’s what comes from adding numbers up in my dopey old head instead of using a calculator, or just plain not listening as well as watching the machine with sound and pictures in front of me. Deep sigh. I promise to (try to) do better tonight.

Aron, in an incredibly bossy way, tells Vanessa she needs to listen and not be bossy. He says they have to prep the whole menu. He asks her to get him some beetroot. Bloody beetroot again. Vanessa says is this a beetroot, holding up a beetroot? I know she’s not a chef, but how can any Australian woman not know what a bloody beetroot looks like? She starts chopping sweet potato and immediately cuts her finger. I actually feel sorry for Aron for a quarter of a second. Tom and Scott discuss the roast vegie tarte tartin. Tom will be impressed if they pull it off.

Aron has been working on the balsamic toffee reduction for the tarte tartin. He pompously tells Vanessa that he needs to watch it closely. She points out that it seems to be, ah, “well done”. He agrees it’s almost burnt but adds the vinegar anyway. The main course of barramundi has lots of stuff added. Aron portions up the fish. The dish has harissa, lemon butter, cherry tomato salsa and potato rostis. Vanessa will kill him if anyone finds a bone. Unlike MKR or Masterchef, this does not appear to be a hint that someone will find a bone.

Liam tells us his expectations are higher than a drag queen’s stilettos. (I guess in case we’d forgotten he’s gay.) Vanessa is making the dessert pavlovas. Aron is nervous handing that responsibility to Vanessa. She’s halfway through setting tables as he changes his mind about the food. There is general panic. She says she’s trying to go a million miles an hour as she wanders along rather slowly. Aron gives Vanessa a heap more instructions.

Tom says the menu seems more modern than last night’s, but the question is can he deliver? The judges are here. They tell Aron and Vanessa they look relaxed. They disapprove of the light seating, some of which are animal prints. Scott, or it may have been Tom, comments that they’ll match Tania and Christina’s outfits. I chuckle. And now the guests appear, and oh look, Tania is wearing yet another low cut animal print dress. Black and white tonight. Not a zebra though. Tania thinks if the food reflects the decor, she and her mum are in trouble.

Conrad disapproves of the prints on the wall, the cutlery, oh and the glassware. What a surprise. Please don’t roll, eyes, please don’t… sigh, I give up, roll all you like, fellas. Conrad says the menu reads like a cafeteria menu at the United Nations.

Christina portentously announces that she doesn’t eat kangaroo, because she doesn’t eat any animal that’s on our coat of arms. And she’s just not eating Skippy. There’s more chat from the younger, single women about the sexiness of Pascal. His shirt is unbuttoned so far it’s barely on.

The women all seem to enjoy that. Time for the judges to order. Scott orders the tiger prawn stack, while Tom orders the roast vegetable tarte tartin. For mains, Scott will have the barra and Tom who is not afraid to eat our coat of arms, will have the kangaroo. Liam notes that there is no water on the table but, looking pointedly at Tania, there are two jugs. For dessert, Tom orders the banoffee pie and Scott says he will have pavlova.

Aron is happy with his entreés, and I must say they look good. Roasted veg tarte tartin and prawns with potato rostis. Emi, or Marie, says the flavours are not so great. Christina (to camera) says really, do you want to insult us any further? Aron and Vanessa come back for the judges’ critique. Scott says there were only four ingredients in his dish. He had reservations about the sauces: would they zing? They didn’t. The prawns were cooked well, but the dish was a bit beige. Tom says his pastry was good and he hadn’t seen the balsamic glaze for a few years. It was good, but he wanted more of it. Scott says he got nice but he wanted awesome.

Lozz says the mood in the room is awkward. Liam didn’t want them to smash it out of the park so wipes the sweat from his brow. Aron is very upset. Vanessa tries to buoy him up. Aron is still furious to the point he can’t concentrate on the mains. For the barra they work on the harissa and lemon butter. Also the beetroot jam and red wine jus which will be served with Skippy.

Christina won’t eat the kangaroo. Nor will Nols if it’s rare. And Aron won’t cook it rare. Pascal says he’ll undo one more button on his shirt if she’ll try it. She laughs but she still won’t eat it. He slices the roo and it’s perfect. The kangaroo is served with sweet potato mash, beetroot jam and a red wine jus. The barramundi comes with harissa, cherry tomato salsa and lemon butter. Tania is eating the kangaroo and Christina the barra because she can’t eat skippy. She gives us the Skippy noise to make the point. I think we’ve all heard of Skippy, love. Oh, and she mentions her fucking palate again. She loves to mention that palate of hers. Out they come for the critique again.

Tom says the barramundi had so much potential to go really wrong, but he nailed it. There’s a whisper of North African wind coming through the dish. Aron is overwhelmed. Scott says the kangaroo is just iconic and that dish was absolutely spectacular. The sauce was absolutely perfect. It was the dish of the competition so far. Tom says if you keep cooking like this, this will be the team to beat. Conrad hopes he flunks the dessert, without being too vicious. Liam says too vicious? No such thing. Lozz comments no one has picked them as being a threat. She says it with a laugh, which I take to mean she thinks they’ll be a threat, and maybe they will.

In the kitchen, Aron breaks open one of the pavs. He relaxes because it is good. They plate up the desserts. The cream is sliding off the banoffees. Eek! IMO, there’s a hell of a lot of caramel on the banoffee. I mean, I love caramel, but… Liam notes Nols inhales her dessert. She had to be hungry because she ate none of her main course. He thinks he needs insulin because the dessert was just so sweet. Scott says the pavlova is iconic, so they need to get it right with the crust crispy. He enjoyed it. It was a bit too big but he was happy. Tom had the banoffee pie. He says it was decent although it needed a touch more salt. He says the gastronomic gods won’t be jumping with joy but neither will they be weeping. It was decent.

Score time! Lozz and Nols – 8/10

Philippe and Pascal – 6/10

Christina – 3/10 Whadda bitch. You wanna tell me that’s not strategic?

Conrad and Liam – 6/10

Emi and Marie – 7/10 Total 30/50

Vanessa thinks they deserved more, and that the scoring was strategic. You mean like your 4 last night?

Scott: Food – 8/10 Restaurant experience – 7/10 Total – 15/20

Tom: Food – 8/10 Restaurant experience – 8/10 Total – 16/20 Grand total 61

They are now guaranteed into the next round. The next dinner will be Conrad and Liam. Conrad says to Liam pass me the Valium and I’ll be ready. The previews are showing major meltdowns from our precious pair, so Monday should make for fascinating viewing.


1 Windsong { 07.31.15 at 9:27 am }

I was bouncing between this and the Bachelor, last night, so I missed all the jokes about Pascal being absurdly sexy. Conrad and Liam are wearing thin (and I still say that Liam is Josh Thomas after twenty years of cosmos and break-ups. Have I mentioned that I don’t find Josh Thomas awkwardly adorable but I think he’s really obnoxious?) … but according to the preview, it all goes wrong for them in their own restaurant (an over-confident team of contestants suffering major karma and learning a valuable lesson about hubris? On a cooking show? What are the odds?!).

I saw that Tania was wearing *another* low-cut animal print top, and just cracked up laughing. Well, if you have a style, stick with it.

Another great review Rosie. In the few moments I did watch, I felt uncomfortable watching Aron boss Vanessa around. It felt a bit too Basko/Drianca for me.

2 Smythe { 07.31.15 at 9:39 am }

Thanks for the recap, Rosie. I’m adding Conrad to my list of annoying contestants which includes Liam, Aron and Vanessa. Although Aron & Vanessa did well I just find them a bit pretentious. Their food was good but I thought the presentation of most of the dishes was boring and lacked innovation. Almost every dish was served with the elements stacked.
Another tight and low cut animal print worn by Tania. Wonder if that is all we will see her wearing throughout the competition.
Tania and Christina scoring Aron/Vanessa a 3……very low for what they were served.

3 Gabby { 07.31.15 at 9:44 am }

Thanks for the recap Rosie.
Christina is definitely fighting for her place with her strategic score of 3. Their meal did not deserve that score. She must have a strange palette’.
I would have enjoyed both those deserts.
I like some of the commenters think it would be a good idea if the judges went to the restaurant on a fully functioning night, perhaps even undercover and then saw what kind of meal they were dished up. Instead of having the full attention of the chef on them for the evening.
I am enjoying this show and RR.

4 Jozzie { 07.31.15 at 10:32 am }

Why does the Asian girl (not sure what her name is) look at people with her head slightly down eyes looking up kind of way. Is it to make her look more bitchy? Who knows?

5 all happening { 07.31.15 at 11:06 am }

I am enjoying both RR and HP but would love a recap for RR. Great recap Rosie. I find I am getting contestants confused in the 2 shows. Well except for pascal. I might be old but not dead and he is sexy. I am hoping the girls cooking Japanese do well. They are not boasting like others. No bias so far on behalf of judges. Pity about Tania and the has been madam.

6 Evan { 07.31.15 at 11:29 am }

I haven’t yet watched an episode of RR yet.
The Hot Plate? Totally a ripoff of MKR, with the usual contestants conforming to the obvious stereotypes producers think will bring in the viewers.
In the Hot Plate’s favour is Tom Parker Bowles – comes across as a nice guy, and his critiques seem very fair.
And of course the gay couple on Monday night will crash and burn, which was always obvious.
Will Channel 9 renew this for another season? I doubt it, their ratings so far are mediocre, although not as bad as RR on Channel 7

7 Pandy { 07.31.15 at 12:40 pm }

I missed the scoring at the end due to the tape ending, how come Christina scored so low?
This couple seemed okay, but a bit boring, I can’t wait to see Liam and Conrad, they better be good!
I think the Japanese girls will do well.
Gabby I agree, those desserts did look good, who doesn’t love pavlova?
The judging should take place as you said just on a normal service night so we can see how the entire restaurant operates.

8 Shellbot { 07.31.15 at 1:09 pm }

SPOILERS (sort of)

I watched the preview on Jumpin last night of Conrad and Liam which was basically the whole episode minus the scoring (tune in one Monday… :s)and they bomb big time. Major issue was not realising how much they rely on their kitchen hands and prep well in advance, so basically with just the two of them and only 3 hours to prepare their quite complex menu they struggle big time and back peddle on all of the critiques they’ve dished out so far, that’s all I’ll say to not ruin it completely…

9 Veronica { 07.31.15 at 1:10 pm }

I’m enjoying both RR and HP and like you All Happening @5 I’m still getting the two shows and contestants confused.

Obviously HP is a rip off of MKR but there is a lightness about it that MKR lost somewhere along the way. I do hope they don’t bring on a second group of teams to make the show go on forever.

Looking forward to the Duck Duck Moose episode and wondering if the boys will serve moose.

10 Smythe { 07.31.15 at 2:03 pm }

I think the big difference with MKR and HP is that the judges are not as harsh. They criticize dishes as needed but always offer up something positive. Of course not realistic without the actual support in the kitchen and in the front of house.
As for Christina giving them a 3: possibly strategy, being a b*tch, not liking the kangaroo which she didn’t even taste, and her palate wasn’t happy with the taste of the food.

11 Gabby { 07.31.15 at 2:41 pm }

I don’t agree with Christina and the blonde lady scoring virtually nil just because they don’t like a meal that what was chosen by the judges. They should at least take into account that the judges said these dishes, ie the lamb and the kangaroo were cooked beautifully and correctly and give them some sort of half decent score based on that. Blondie can’t keep saying I don’t like it and then holding the points back, fair enough if it hadn’t been cooked well..
I’m with you AH and Veronica, I am getting the couple’s from both shows mixed up as well but enjoying both.
Would love to have a recap of Restaurant Revolution.

12 Izobel2 { 07.31.15 at 2:45 pm }

Thanks Rosie, I missed the scores at the end like Pandy (hi Pandy!).
So the strategic scoring has already started, knew it would.
It would be better if we only knew the judges scores each night and the others we’d see but the contestants don’t get to see.
They even dress the contestants like MKR does.

13 all happening { 07.31.15 at 2:47 pm }

Here is the winter menu for Duck Duck Moose. We will have to get Daisy to check it out when she comes home from hols.
This is a big menu to prep in case the judges order. Should be interesting ep.

14 Rosie { 07.31.15 at 3:08 pm }

Pandy, Christina scored so low because she’s an absolute bitch, who’s desperate to stay in the competition. 😉

15 all happening { 07.31.15 at 3:14 pm }

Christina really is delusional that they can influence scoring and dump someone who is so much better at cooking than them After all her palette is the bees knees. Just ask her.

16 Carole { 07.31.15 at 3:54 pm }

I thought all of their food looked really good. But I hate avocado & there was too much on the prawns & hate banana so wouldn’t like the banofee pie.

How can she have never cooked before? She owns a fucking restaurant. Surely she would have some basic cooking skills.

I feel a bit sorry for the first team, they only got 4’s from everyone, the other teams have got much higher scores.

Can not wait to see Liam & Conrad fail spectacularly on Monday. They have been nit picking about EVERYTHING & are the biggest snobs. They haven’t had a good thing to say about anything. Surely they must have liked SOMETHING. I noticed in the promo someone gives them a 1. I wonder if it’s Christine.

17 all happening { 07.31.15 at 4:27 pm }

Perhaps Christina and ?? got low scores because the food was ordinary. It sounded fairly ordinary from judges comments. pretty much all agreed with the low scores.
Whoops just realized I forgot to link the menu for duck duck moose #13

18 Justmag { 07.31.15 at 4:32 pm }

I am switching between the RR and THP so thoroughly loving the recap. Thank you Rosie:)

19 all happening { 07.31.15 at 4:36 pm }

Sorry, that link I just tried to post is iffy but if you go onto their facebook page you can get the menu. Asian fusion but looks interesting.

20 Adrianna { 07.31.15 at 5:02 pm }

Hi guys, just thought if anyone’s having Masterchef withdrawals, haha, the first ever Masterchef Asia is airing soon in Asia and Audra from Masterchef Australia from a few years back, is one of the judges.

21 Littlepetal { 08.02.15 at 8:11 am }

Seven sues Nine over MKR ‘rip-off’

Cant blame Seven for doing it.

22 Amanda { 08.02.15 at 10:31 am }

I am just catching up on this show – frankly i am not surprised they are being sued – it is a blatant ripoff

23 Helgaz { 08.02.15 at 1:23 pm }

Obviously Vanessa can’t have watched MasterChef Australia because she would certainly have found out what a beetroot is. Three ways anyone? For a know nothing novice, she certainly stepped it up in the kitchen as the night wore on. Quite liked Aron – sorry predictive text, but I think it’s just one ‘A’. He seems passionate and quite skilled. The beauty of this show is that it shows that there are still restaurants that serve real food. I’m guessing that these owners are so busy just running their restaurants that sous vide, liquid nitrogen, spray booths, kale and even Thermomixes have passed them by.

24 Pandy { 08.02.15 at 3:43 pm }

Yes, I read a similar story in The Sunday Mail, but the producers of Hot Plate do say that this show is going in a different direction soon when the contestants get $20,ooo to renovate their restaurants so it might be okay later.
The two channels were silly to put them up against each other anyway, too many cooking shows at the moment.

25 WHY { 08.02.15 at 4:54 pm }

Very much enjoying this show. Agree with you Helgaz @ 23
Has anyone else noticed that Christina looks very similar to Jennifer Paterson from The Two Fat Ladies U.K. cooking show which was on TV around 15 years ago?!!

26 Rosie { 08.02.15 at 5:14 pm }

Excellent point, WHY. I knew she reminded me of someone. But I suspect the late and much loved (by me, at least) Ms Paterson was a better cook.

27 Littlepetal { 08.03.15 at 8:14 pm }

The reviews for Duck Duck Mousse (before Hot Plate premiere) were very good.

So why their cooking is so bad? Maybe Conrad is not the real/head chef?

28 Pandy { 08.03.15 at 9:33 pm }

I was hoping the boys would get their come uppance, but then I felt sorry for them when everything went wrong.
It did look like a beautiful restaurant with great views, but Conrad was really out of his depth as head chef, they even admitted that they were hopeless without their staff.
Looks like the Japanese girls will have problems too.

29 Gabby { 08.03.15 at 9:41 pm }

I think the boys definitely rely on their staff to take care in the kitchen.
At least they were humble about it.
I bet Christina wouldn’t have been as forgiving to them if their score had beaten hers.

30 brain dead dave { 08.03.15 at 10:15 pm }

I’m enjoying this , especially the rarity of not one but two reality tv contestants accepting criticism. That really is turbo mode. Never thought I’d live to see it.

31 Windsong { 08.03.15 at 10:29 pm }

Littlepetal @21 … thanks for sharing that link, but no, I can’t say I’m surprised. In fact I’m shocked channel 7 wasn’t trying to sue them a week ago.

I tried to watch tonight’s episode, just to see Conrad and Liam get their apparent comeuppance, but I was reading a book at the time and I just zoned out of the cooking show entirely. It didn’t really look like anything interesting happened much at all, although I couldn’t help but notice Tania once again in a low-cut animal-print top. Maybe she only has the one?

32 Izobel2 { 08.03.15 at 11:13 pm }

Is it wrong, Windsong, that when I saw Tania’s top I thought of you?!

33 Rosie { 08.04.15 at 12:08 am }

Actually her top tonight wasn’t all that low cut, Windsong. For her. The first night it was just as well she had the apron on to hold the girls in place. 😉

34 Rosie { 08.04.15 at 12:09 am }

I forgot to say I’ve just sent the recap. I hope it’s not the last one.

35 Smythe { 08.04.15 at 7:22 am }

I don’t think that Conrad is the head chef or if he says he is then it’s just a meaningless faux title. He couldn’t find things in the refrigerator and then he had to call another chef up to find out about the apricots. He was generally at a loss in the kitchen and I think it went beyond stress and was probably due to the lack of better chefs in the kitchen. Probably a great place to eat, though, when the other chefs are cooking. Beautiful view especially with the dolphins almost at the doorstep.
Tania in animal print again but not low this time. Christina & Tania giving L & C a “1” was just bitter and brutal and not deserved. They were just being strategic and vengeful. At least a 3 or a 4 would have been fair.

36 all happening { 08.04.15 at 8:21 am }

Sunrise just showed a comparison of the MKR and HP and they certainly had a lot of very close similarities. It will be interesting to see what comes out of the court case. I think today it is just a mention to say whether there is a case to answer. Personally I say yes.

37 Windsong { 08.04.15 at 9:37 am }

Well Izobel, it’s nice you’re thinking of me … but no, you and Rosie are right, it wasn’t that low-cut, as tops go. But Tania does love her animal print, which is kind of nice. If it works for you, own it.

38 Rosie { 08.04.15 at 10:51 pm }

New recap sent. Recap for last night’s Rest. Rev. sent this arvo.
Heh. Now I’m having a wee dram. Mr Rosie has a heavy cold, so I need something to ward it off. It suits my palate. 😉

39 Smythe { 08.05.15 at 5:27 am }

They could have tweaked Hot Plate so it wasn’t a clone of MKR. Decision regarding whether or not the plate will continue to be hot (although ratings are not) coming up later this week.