The form-guide menus were considered, the fascinator a beguiling touch, and the entrée well received. But racing fashion enthusiasts Alyse and Matt knew they were long odds for a great Instant Restaurant when judge Pete Evans walked into their kitchen and called them out for using store-bought curry paste.
"We were very surprised we got made a fool out of it," Alyse tells WHO, adding that timing and other factors led them to use the pre-made product and they were never told it would be against any rules to use jarred paste.
Furthermore, Pete asked the Brisbane newlyweds to bring out the jar in front of the other contestants, causing Josh to label them as cheaters. "To make matters worse," Matt says, "having to hold the jar up portrayed as 'cheats,' which we feel made some of the other teams score us lower than they would have. It's not like the red curry paste was the only ingredient in our satay base."
Melbourne designer Court says she did not think the use of jarred paste was out of bounds. "If that was just the base of what they were doing and that's how they always do it, I didn't care," she says. "I didn't like the curry anyway, and I hated it when Josh was trying to get everyone around the table riled up."
Court's husband Duncan cites Group One's David and Betty as an example of a team being admonished but not punished for using a store-bought sauce. "Why weren't they eviscerated for using Sriracha?" he asks. "The only think they said about it the whole time was, I think, 'From now on, you should make your own chilli sauce.'"
Matt agrees and adds, "the fact we were made an example of when other teams had used tinned products, packet breadcrumbs, store-bought seasoning and singular bottled sauces, we did feel we were unfairly treated."
Bottom line, Matt says of rival Josh's accusation, "He called us cheaters and that doesn't sit very well with us."
How will the controversy affect Alyse and Matt in their battle against Josh and Amy? Tune in to the elimination cook-off tonight on My Kitchen Rules at 7 PM on Channel 7.