Ok, so I know I’m a day late with this week’s recap, but travel plans kept me away from the tube on Wednesday and I had to catch up on the ole’ DVR.
With only six chefs remaining, we open with the survivors reflecting on Beverly’s elimination last week. Surprisingly, Grayson comes to her defense, saying that she would actually miss her. Sarah and Lindsay are too busy celebrating to notice.
While everyone is suiting up the following morning, Chris comments on how he really hopes this week is a solo challenge (presumably, so that he can show off his creativity unhindered by teammates). Be careful what you wish for…
The chefs enter the kitchen to find this week’s guest judge, Cat Cora, waiting for them with Emeril and Padma. The Quickfire will test their speed and precision. The teams of two (Chris/Grayson, Lindsay/Sarah, and Ed/Paul) have to peel and butterfly two lbs of shrimp, make a pound of fresh fettuccine, and strip a pile of corn. If their work isn’t clean, they will have to do it again until it is right. Once those tasks are done, the chefs have the rest of the 40 minutes to cook a dish using the three ingredients, and the winning plate earns the team $10K.
Lindsay/Sarah blow through their mise en place quickly and cleanly, giving them roughly 17 minutes to cook. Paul, who is convinced he is bad luck for Ed whenever they are on the same team, hurries through his corn and has to do it again, but they finish second with ten minutes left on the clock. The slow and steady Chris/Grayson finish last, leaving a mere 8:50 to whip up a dish.
The girls finish their dish first, with Sarah’s smug sense of self-satisfaction on full display. The other two teams are scrambling, putting the finishing touches on their food at the buzzer. Unfortunately, Paul was so pre-occupied with putting the herbs on their dish that he forgot to cook the shrimp. In what has become the next obvious comment, Padma can’t leave their station without hinting that the disqualified dish was going to be great. Twist that knife Padma.
Judging by the now standard incredulous-scrunchy-frowny face Sarah makes, she just can’t believe that she lost to Chris and Grayson. At least she doesn’t have to take responsibility, saying, “I think our pasta was better, unfortunately Cat Cora doesn’t like tarragon.” Allow me to clear up your distorted reality Sarah. Cat didn’t say she doesn’t like it, she said it is overpowering and was a bad choice for your dish.
Friends become enemies, as the teams are turned against each other in a head-to-head face-off for the elimination challenge. The pairs must pick a dish together and then each of their versions is pitted against the other in a people’s choice vote at a 200-person block party. The winners go to the top three at Judge’s Table and the losers have to spend 6 hours watching Heather’s highlight reels on repeat with their eyelids taped open. Oh, and one of them will be eliminated as well.
Ed/Paul decide on an Asian showdown, picking Korean barbecue beef (kalbi). Sarah and Lindsay settle on the very broad “meatballs”, and Chris gives in to Grayson’s suggestion of chicken salad sandwiches and watermelon salad since he can’t think of anything else. In case you had forgotten who the sponsor du jour is, Padma throws in the plug that since “Healthy Choice’s café steamers prides itself on creating healthy meals that are also low in fat content,” and so the chefs have to create healthier versions of their chosen dishes. (Is it just me, or should the script write have used the word “delicious” instead of “healthy” in that statement?)
Ed is convinced that he and Paul have an edge because “all Asian food is healthy,” which is about as accurate as saying that all Asians know karate.
During shopping, there is a clear divide between the chefs that really embrace the “healthy” kick and those that cheat a little. Grayson uses mayonnaise and dark meat while Chris makes a “tofu mayo” to bind his white meat, and Lindsay grabs veal and lamb for her meatballs instead of the predictable turkey that Sarah chooses.
With only two hours to prep a meal for 200 people, the chefs are all scrambling in the kitchen. What seems even worse is the fact that they also have to run their stations and serve all 200 guests completely by themselves.
Was I the only one that found it odd that the paramedics swarmed on Sarah when she got lightheaded a few weeks ago, but no one seems to mind the swarm of bees behind the guy who could die if they sting him? I kept waiting for the shot of Chris swollen up like the Michelin man. If a rattlesnake wanders into a chefs serving area, do they just tell them to suck it up and watch their step?
The crowd votes Lindsay, Grayson, and Paul into the top. By far, the best part of the winner’s circle is Grayson putting Tom in his place when he tries to knock her choice of chicken salad as not being able to stand up to the more exciting choices of “meatballs or…Asian food.” Paul’s execution on both fronts of the challenge with his lettuce wrapped turkey kalbi wins him the $15,000 top prize. I’ve lost count of how much that guy has racked up this season.
Chris took the challenge too seriously, and forgot to inject flavor into his tofu-bound chicken salad, and he finally went to reunite with his padawan, Richie.
Last Chance Kitchen is getting real…this week, Chris faces Beverly and only one more showdown stands between an eliminated chef and a spot on the finals.
- By Jon Watson, Food & More blog