By the time My Kitchen Rules contestants Kim and Suong received their scores at the end of their instant restaurant Sunday night, the drama simmering between Sydney sisters Jess and Emma and Melbourne mates Roula and Rachael had already come to a boil, with Rachael leaving the table after being called “a little cow” by Emma.
“I didn’t like the way they were talking to everyone else around the table,” says Emma, “and I’m not the type of person who will just sit there and listen to that. That’s why you hear the ‘snapping cow’ comment. I was like, ‘OK, I’m done with it. I’ll just stop this conversation now.’”
From Rachael’s vantage point, “We were on opposite ends at the table that night and Emma was just kind of hearing bits and pieces,” she says. “She then obviously decided to get involved at the end, unfortunately.”
To rewind, the night began with Roula and Rachael recovering from their disastrous instant restaurant, in which they scored a 62 out of 130, putting them at the bottom of the leaderboard. When they asked teams for feedback, Steve revealed that Emma said she would rather have a boot than their salmon.
“Steve was looking out for us by bringing that up,” Rachael says.
With their knives already out for each other, the evening got worse when the table began to debate whether it was acceptable to use packaged ingredients, like Kim and Suong’s store-bought rice noodles. “Where do you draw the line?” Rachael asked.
“I think the judges would have said, ‘Not acceptable, you guys must cook your own noodles,’ but the judges loved it,” Emma explains. “For me, it was quite clear from that point on that it was not an issue. I thought, just let the issue go.”
When Emma told Rachael to “Just stop. Honestly, I can’t deal,” Roula interjected. “Can’t with what?” she asked. “I can’t deal with your teammate,” Emma responded. After Emma’s sister Jess got involved to tell Rachael to put her hand down, Rachael said, “No, I will not, honey. Just shut up.” Emma added, “It grates on me.” Rachael retorted, “That’s great. I can’t even look at your face. Thank you. Goodbye.” Then, Emma replied, “You’re just snapping like a little… cow.”
“When she said what she said, I was taken aback,” says Roula. “Then I went and defended my friend. I was like, ‘you know what? That’s not very nice to talk to someone like that. You’re an older woman. And Rachael… I’m 34, but she’s 20. A 20-year-old isn’t gonna take it like how I’m gonna. If she said that to me, it probably would have gotten more heated.”
According to Jess, “It takes a lot to get Emma to completely snap the way she did. Rachael, that whole night, was just picking and picking and picking. I don’t think she realised how aggressive she was to people and pointing fingers in their face and calling us liars. It got to the point where Emma lost her cool.”
After the “cow” comment, Rachael left the table. Looking back, Rachael says, “I think the most hurtful part is that I knew that anyone who knows me would never call me that. I think I just needed to have that moment away. The whole table was silent and everyone was just staring at me and I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want to react and say something silly, so I thought, ‘I’m just going to walk away.’”
Rachael then walked in to “the first room I could find” at Kim and Suong’s house. “I just sat down on the bed and burst out in tears, and I almost forgot I was on the show at that point in time. I looked up randomly and then I see all this camera crew, and I was just like, ‘Oh my God. This is actually happening.’”
Roula, feeling like an older sister to Rachael, left the table to console her and give her a pep talk. “She didn’t want to go back out there,” Roula says, “but I told her, ‘No, we’re not gonna be weak. We’re gonna go back out there and if anyone says anything, don’t do any talking. I’ll do the talking from now on!”
For more about the teams involved in tonight’s episode, pick up the latest issue of WHO on newsstands now. ‘My Kitchen Rules’ airs next at 7.30 PM on Monday on Seven.