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David Attenborough teaches us about the birds and the bees, Four Corners reveals what’s happening in the world, but for real lessons in life, I reckon you can’t go past MKR.

Lesson #2: Thou pancake stacks must be large and delicious

Yes, it’s over-produced and the cross-marketing is shameless and the catty contestants always [itals] say[end itals] they’re misrepresented and the ads go on forever ... but there’s nothing this show can’t teach us about self-respect, teamwork and how to get ahead.

Be humble, first and foremost.

Don’t be like beauty queens Lisa and Candice, WA’s self-consumed mother and daughter team currently plumbing the depths of the Group 2 scoreboard.

If they’d just shown one tiny, wafer-thin-mint slice of humility, they might not be Busselton-bound tomorrow night.

Less deluded contestants would have said “we had our shot and we were crap – and in hindsight that mid-course Flamenco routine was a tad superfluous”? Instead they bad-mouthed at every
opportunity and alienated other voters around the table.

Yes of course Lisa and Candice’s personalities have been exaggerated by the sly editing of producers hell-bent on ratings glory. But their direct quotes to camera (“Yuk”, “I could have done that!” etc,
etc) suggest this beauty is skin deep.

More lessons: the ends do not justify the means. Good manners cost nothing. And a generous heart will be repaid in kind.

Tassie’s terrific father and son team Mick and Matt didn’t have a bad word to say about anyone, and eventually came out on top of Group 1. See kids, nice guys don’t always finish last.

MKR reinforces the importance of being organised and methodical; that failing to prepare is preparing to fail; and that distractions are a curse. (I can’t believe how many of these teams have lingered over breakfast, or read their stars in the newspaper, or wasted time on their restaurant themes instead of being ready to roll when the clock struck 3:00.)

And speaking of distractions, this show also brilliantly highlights just how pointless and downright boring Twitter can be. The comments scrolling in the corner are notable only for their banality.

It’s said that the more you talk, the less you say. It’s also true that the less you say, the more people are likely to listen when you find your voice.

Judges Pete Evans and Manu Feildel are men of few words on the show, but their comments are wisely chosen: criticism is firm but fair, while failings are followed by constructive or kind advice.

I’ve got no idea what these blokes are like in real life, but we’ve all worked for Aussie bosses who’d do well to adopt a little best-behaviour, onscreen charm.

On a reality cooking show, you’d think the contestants would know to let their food do the talking – or at least match their mouthiness with a damn fine meal.

Group 1 losers Jessie and Biswa? Big mouths, bad meal. Group 2 trailblazers Luke and Scott? Softly spoken, super score. If you don’t have anything nice to say, keep your MKR mouth shut.

Celebrate small victories. Focus on the positives. Never sing at the dinner table.

And keep it simple, stupid. Queenslanders Dan and Steph clearly love their tucker, but no-one needs a chocolate brownie, vanilla ice-cream, cookie dough, popcorn and salted caramel sauce to round out a three-course meal that also includes confit salmon and braised slabs of bacon.

I’m surprised their guests didn’t explode over Harvey Bay.

Dan and Steph did teach us something valuable, though, about pulling together when chocolate brownie hits the fan. They didn’t apportion blame when the main and dessert went awry. They squared their shoulders, rallied the troops (each other), came up with solutions and carried on.

So, who’d have thought you could learn so much in an hour of populist, altered reality TV?

And I haven’t even mentioned “melt-in-the-marth” pastry and the need for a “good sose”.

I love the idea of small funky bars popping up in the CBD, but I question whether they need to cater for up to 120 people. I love the idea of groovy little food vans too, but I can understand why they might make local restaurant and cafe owners nervous when they pull up on their patch. Established business owners who’ve put in the hard yards and invested heavily in bricks and mortar, employees and overheads are all essential for Adelaide’s vibrancy, too. I’m impatient for change in Adelaide, but let’s get it right.

No wonder federal Liberal MPs were busy showering ex-PM Kevin Rudd with chocolate Valentine’s Day roses in Parliament House on Thursday. Mr Rudd’s been their star performer this week in the election battle against Julia Gillard.

Most commented


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    • Zack says:

      08:44am | 17/02/13

      Watching the ‘Insiders’ this morning it seems the general agreement by the panel is that Julia failed Australia by her incompetence she displayed when she ‘negoniated’ the mining tax with the miners. Greg Combet even stated the NSW ALP did have a level of corruptive component,

      In MKR we seen the personal characters of the contestents (sometimes through shoddy editing) and we see what we want to support or not support. We all know the personal character of the PM and her ALP peers. Australia has given up on them. They are in it for themselves and the big power money stucture. They are about waste and personal power. That is why the ALP is finished and why they need to blame Gillard and blame her hard.

    • Steve says:

      12:03pm | 17/02/13

      Wow….way to turn it from food to politics (!) and hijack the first post.

      Seriously, if people have nothing good to say in front of the camera, they can just behave properly and in a civil fashion.  Try making something out of that, where everyone is on their best behaviour, producers !

      Or is it too hard (I think so) for people on reality shows not to expose how vapid, nasty and rude they really must be in real life ?  If anything, it just confirms my opinion that there really are some horrible people out there with no manners, who I wouldn’t ever want to invite to my house for dinner / renovate my house / cook me a meal / vie for a business opportunity / stay with me on a tropical island.

      This is all alongside networks cancelling shows one or two seasons in, meanwhile, force feeding us junk TV where we can watch people paint, dance, cook, sing etc.; instead of really getting into a show, watching it, then watching it get cancelled.

      52 and counting, as of 2012-2013 season alone !

      I am so waiting for the Reality show of Everythingness, where contestants build a house wired up with cameras on a desert island whilst singing about cooking a meal in a renovated kitchen, all the while competing for a dancing job worth a gazillion dollars.

    • Brain drain says:

      01:24pm | 17/02/13

      I think you were watching that circle jerk of program called the bolt retort.

      Way to confuse yourself.

    • Zack says:

      02:11pm | 17/02/13

      Isn’t politics the ultimate reality show? Calm down ALP fans and sip more vodka, the pain will be over soon enough smile

    • AFR says:

      04:33pm | 17/02/13

      Steve, a big slab of those series will be ending at the right time (eg: Breaking Bad), too late (eh: the Office) or should never have been made at all (eg: US version of the In-betweeners…. seriously, what were they thinking?).

    • Mad Man says:

      08:55am | 17/02/13

      Thanks for the article but couldn’t care less. My Kitchen Rules? I don’t think so. Masterchef?? Not from what I’ve seen. Along with The Block and other “reality” shows (which end up being anything but) it’s a hastening trend in this country that we are fascinated to watch others do mundane chores - badly. Cooking a steak, painting a wall - this is TV??

      Now if it’s Nigella Lawson on the other hand….

    • Philip Crooks says:

      09:14am | 17/02/13

      For “reality” read cheap Those pretend deadlines all so silly.

      Don’t get me started on the “encore” presentations.

      Lord Thompson said having a T.V. station was a license to print money.

      Finally just how many times can 9 repeat Big Bang and Two and a half Men?

    • stephen says:

      09:35am | 17/02/13

      Nige is a con-job mate.
      (If she can cook, I can cave-dive.)

    • ramases says:

      12:30pm | 17/02/13

      She looks good enough to eat, says he licking his lips.

    • CD says:

      09:29am | 17/02/13

      It’s Hervey Bay.  Too much to ask to at least know how to spell Australian towns? Mick did have negative things to say but he was spot on anyway.

      Jessie and Biswa were def pains in the butt but did you hear how they were directed in what to say by the producers?  It’s the carbs from WA that I found mesmerizing wink

    • Daz says:

      11:53am | 17/02/13

      “I’ve got no idea what these blokes are like in real life, but we’ve all worked for Aussie bosses who’d do well to adopt a little best-behaviour, onscreen charm.”

      There are also lessons there for its competitor, Masterchef: The Professionals. Sure a little stress is good to bring out the best but I refuse to watch the other show on principle. Watching the trailers I thought this show will be a good barometer to guage just how entrenched the culture of workplace bullying is. Watching Marco Pierre White bully and scare the daylights out of some poor contestant is not my cup of tea.

      I’m glad to see it is struggling in the ratings against the two good guys on MKR.

    • NSS says:

      03:34pm | 17/02/13

      Actually, Marco is not a bully at all. He’s very fair and balanced with his critique, is always complimenting great work and is comforting to those who buckle under the intense pressure. He is demanding of excellence, especially during service, but so is any chef with his reputation on the line.

      He made Gordon Ramsay cry, the ultimate foul-mouthed bully. That alone is enough for me to like him! Ha!

    • Daz says:

      03:54pm | 17/02/13

      NSS well that’s good to hear. The trailers just turned me off completely and I haven’t watched one episode so maybe the station was a bit over the top with them.

    • Nikki says:

      11:57am | 17/02/13

      If cooking shows are ‘food porn’ then My Kitchen Rules is akin to the Target underwear catalogue. Made by and for cunts. Starring complete cunts.

    • Ben says:

      03:36pm | 17/02/13

      Nikki may have faults, but beating around the bush isn’t one of them…

    • Loddlaen says:

      11:57am | 17/02/13

      Reality tv…
      Nothing real about it when it is as scripted as a soapie. A person close to me has twice been approached by a particular talent show to perform on it. They even went as far as to guarantee him to round 3 both times.

    • NSS says:

      12:10pm | 17/02/13

      For once, very happily, I agree with you, Lainie. There are definite life lessons to learned from MKR and the biggest one is about karma. If you sling it, it comes back, maybe sideways, maybe not immediately, but it will happen.

      I love all cooking shows, I freely admit. I’m fascinated by culinary vision and expertise and am also fascinated by how people behave under pressure, that’s why I watch both it and Masterchef Pros. And I even watch dear Nigella, even though her Kitchen Goddess schtick gets a tad overly saccharine and vomit- inducing at times.

      Why did you have to disappoint me though with the last couple of tortured paras? I was totally with you until then.

    • vox says:

      12:27pm | 17/02/13

      Anyone who watches “reality” Tv has lost all right to complain about anything.
      Visiting friends last week, and looking forward to a sesion of to-and-froing about politics, (they are Lib/Nat supporters) and they put on this Real Estate crap and settled in for “Our favorite show”. Goodnight Dick!
      My wife informed that they actually vote for people on some music show and get pissed off if their guy/girl doesn’t win. Jeez!m87

    • ramases says:

      12:41pm | 17/02/13

      Your whole article hinges on the assumption that every one watches this drivel in the first place.
        The fact that anybody with an IQ about that of a gnats arse would rather put their head in a vice and have someone turn the handle should give you some clue as to what the thinking person feels about this claptrap that is put on as entertainment.
        What really worries me is the fact that those with limited cognitive thoughts watch these shows and you can see the lights slowly going out in their eyes as their brains are turned to mush at the sheer banality of the so called entertainment.
        A warning should be posted on the TV before these shows are shown, like the warnings that are shown when a show is Restricted. Something like, “Watching this show will result in permanent brain damage, Psychoanalysis help should be obtained immediately if subjected to even a minute of this mind-numbing slop.”
        This warning could also go on before the following shows, Masterchef, The Block and any other so called reality shows that we are subjected to on a daily basis.

    • NSS says:

      03:08pm | 17/02/13

      A case in point of someone who actually needs to watch the odd ep of MKR, it appears.

      Just sayin.

    • Duane says:

      03:33pm | 17/02/13

      Turn the TV off. I did. About 60 seconds after the first edition of ‘Big Brother’ went to air. Rarely turn it on at all these days. I agree with your sentiments. Why any sentient being would subject themselves to this type of drivel is a complete mystery.

    • Cedric says:

      01:40pm | 17/02/13

      Couldn’t care less, I want some of those pancakes!

    • Paul C says:

      03:20pm | 17/02/13

      It’s OK.  This show is best taped (or what ever you do these days) and watched in Reader’s Digest fashion. Easier to stomach this way.


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