Colin Hogg on television

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Colin Hogg: Had my fill of sweet and sour fare

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Local version of My Kitchen Rules offers usual rudeness and tears - but please sir, I don’t want any more.

Judges Ben Bayly and Gareth Stewart at least know their stuff.
Judges Ben Bayly and Gareth Stewart at least know their stuff.

I'm increasingly concerned about what might be the next household task to be celebrated by a nationwide television contest. New Zealand's Cleanest Bathroom perhaps? Or maybe My Lawn Rules?

Yes, dear viewers, it could all get so much more interesting on screen over the next few years. In the meantime, we have to get the cooking contests out of our systems - though there's little sign of that happening.

In fact, Sunday evening marked the arrival of yet another new series, My Kitchen Rules NZ (TV One, 7.30pm), a local version of a hit foreign franchise that viewers can't, apparently, get enough of.

Though I have to say that after swallowing the first serving of the thing, I felt I had had quite enough and didn't feel much at all like seconds. Filling but not exactly fulfilling.

Also, it might have been the moment when one of the contestants ate off the wrong side of his fork that faith flew out the window. After all, if you don't know how to eat properly, how can you be expected to cook?

Though I'm sure MKR, as the show likes to call itself, will go on to boil up good ratings. It's a proven format and the producers have certainly done a slick job of giving it a local flavour and finding a decent mix of personalities - some nice, some possibly even a little nasty.

Among them there's a sweet young couple from Dunedin, a set of Waikato hippies, a pair of lady bogans and two bitchy boy metrosexuals from Auckland (of course).

The judges are the dullest things about the show, but at least chefs Ben Bayly (from The Grove) and Gareth (Soul Bar) Stewart seem to know what they're talking about, even if they were a little generous with their judging on Sunday's opener.

This show's trick is to take the cooking contest out of the usual studio kitchen and into the competitors' homes, getting them to set up like restaurants, cook and host three-course dinner parties for their fellow contestants and the judges who then all score their efforts.

Sunday's episode - the second one screens tonight - had the hippies, Neena and Belinda, cooking up three courses, battling both the clock and the prejudices of their fellow contestants.

All the while we're being reminded - as if we didn't know - that "only one team can win" and, of course, that the inevitable "pressure's starting to show".

Meantime, Neena and Belinda, who are related by marriage, had six hours to get their culinary act together for the critical dinner.

The potential fun in this show is in letting the competitors have turns at being critics and several side-servings of nastiness were duly delivered, most especially from the bogans and those bitchy boys, Sam and Dan.

Someone said the main-course venison tasted like dirt, someone said "mumsy", someone else was rude about the plates and there was even some outright hostility about the fermented Japanese tea.

There were tears in the kitchen, naturally, with many more to come.

- NZ Herald

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