Franxaverian appears to be away, so I offer this recap for this week's episode:
TCM3, Ep. 7
The Quickfire Challenge was one dear to Tom Colicchio’s (Executive Producer) heart, testing the senses, and also would have been for Gordon Ramsay of the “Masterchef” series. The master chefs were given headphones, earplugs and a blindfold and used one or more for each of the following tests. One chef was eliminated for each of the first several rounds, then the last 2 chef competed to win $5,000 for his charity, but no immunity.
The first round had 5 ingredients tasted with sight, sound and smell blocked. The ingredients were water chestnuts, Worcestershire sauce, cashews, papaya and mustard greens. The Floyd got none right and was eliminated from the Quickfire. The second group was epoisses cheese, hot sauce, root beer, rice vinegar and mayonnaise with smell unblocked. Naomi could not believe she missed mayonnaise but it was Traci eliminated. The next one was testing the sense of touch and the ingredients were okra, gummy bears, blackberries, chayote/mirlaton and arborio rice. Celina and Naomi were knocked out. That left MarySue versus Hugh for a test of hearing. They both missed rice Krispies with milk but were almost simultaneous for celery breaking. Hugh was very slightly faster. The next one was eating a potato chip, which neither got. Hugh got shucking oysters and then won with buttering toast.
The Elimination Challenge was about food for love. A male named Chris came in to describe his romance and how he was planning to propose to his girlfriend at a special dinner that the master chefs would create based on the story of his romantic life with this woman. The chefs designed this 6 course menu, with each responsible for one course:
Floyd – Kama Sutra Black Pepper Shrimp with Watermelon, Lime, and Mint
Celina – Soft Pretzel with Pale Ale Cheese Sauce, Frisée Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette
MarySue – Mussels and Clams Portuguese Style with Sausages and Wine Broth
Naomi – Porcini Braised Chicken Thigh with Sweet Potatoes Two Ways
Hugh – New York Strip Steak with Broccoli, Onion Ring, Celery Root Purée, and Bordelaise Sauce
Traci – Pink Lady Apple Galette, Whipped Crème Fraîche, and Caramel Sauce
The master chefs cooked this meal for 21 couples, including judges James Osener, Gael Greene (finally back and desperately missed), Gail Simmons and Curtis Stone. The mothers of the couple came to the kitchen to watch the action through a special window. The courses were designed to provide hints of what was to come, but the target of the proposal Victoria did not get the hints. After the dessert course, Chris went down on bended knee and proposed, which Victoria after a brief pause accepted. The mothers then rushed into the room as the betrothed couple was toasted with champagne.
One of the more fascinating exchanges ever took place when James Oseland asked his dinner partner Gael Greene about her sexual encounter with Elvis Presley (in 1956) which ash been documented in writing by Greene multiple times so it was not a revelation. She said she was left with him when there were no other females in the after-concert, so she was led into his bedroom. As she was departing, he asked her to place an egg sandwich order with room service for him.
OK, so who did well and who did less well. The food was generally simple, almost pedestrian, with only a few fine touches to indicate who had done better. The Winners’ Group was Naomi, MarySue and Floyd. Floyd had taken a risk on spiciness but the results were fruity, spicy and wonderful according to judges’ feedback. MarySue’s Portuguese stew (I would have loved to eat that) was cooked perfectly and the spiciness of the sausage was just right. Naomi did something to enhance the crispness of the skin and the judges loved it. The winner of the $10,000 prize for Seed Savers’ Exchange was Naomi.
The Losers’ Group was Traci (first time), Celina (almost all the time) and Hugh. Hugh’s meat was chewy and his exchange with the judges indicated that he prefers to cook down to his audience. Traci’s apple tart was missing moisture or sauce, probably because the apples she used are somewhat dry. Celina did a standard pretzel (part of the dating ritual with beer and a hockey game for the dating couple) and what appeared to be a decent salad, but was criticized for not doing anything special with the pretzel (such as turning it into a pot pie) and for two disparate elements in her dish that did not meld well.
Celina at Judges’ Table was told that a variation on the pretzel would have been preferred. Hugh was told he was banal and not ambitious. Traci was advised she should have considered applesauce for under the tart.
Final comments before the verdict was announced were:
Celina – good salad and pretzel but they did not go together
Hugh – it’s never a good idea to cook down
Traci – you missed an opportunity.
Celina, who had escaped numerous times before, was eliminated. I have to believe her poor showing on the Quickfire also contributed.