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The Taste

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There are ten chefs left after last week’s Sandwich challenge. The theme of the fourth challenge is Head to Tail, in which the chefs are venturing into unfamiliar territory to create a dish using offal. The teams will have two hours to prepare a dish using one of the four secret ingredients selected by their respective mentors. Frederic Morin and David McMillan, owners and chefs of Joe Beef in Montreal, appear as guest judges to determine the winner of the Team Taste Test, and then to assist the chefs of the winning team with their dishes for the Blind Taste Test judged by the four mentors.

The Team Taste Test

The four spoons that were selected to compete in The Team Taste Test belonged to: Uno (tongue au jus) from Team Anthony, Lauren (testile fritters) from Team Nigella, Gregg (see below) from Team Ludo, and Khristianne (pork tongue) from Team Malarkey.

Frederic and David selected Gregg’s North Carolina Head Cheese as the winning dish of the Team Taste Test. Gregg won immunity for the third episode in a row and Frederic and David joined Ludo’s winning kitchen to advise the chefs on their dishes for the Blind Taste Test, which also had a 2 hour cooking time.

The Blind Taste Test

The mentors sent home Adam (Thai style sweetbreads w/ pork rinds) from Team Malarkey,
Ninamarie (veal liver) from Team Anthony and
Uno (pork dumpling soup w/ fried shrimp heads) from Team Anthony.
They saved Lauren, the last chef remaining from Team Nigella. It appeared to me to be a political decision to help Nigella out. Gregg was lucky he had immunity because otherwise he would have been in big trouble. I think the judges made a mistake by keeping Lauren, a fairly weak chef, and ditching Uno, who had real potential.

The mentors awarded gold stars to the following chefs:

Jeff from Team Malarkey - pho w/ calf tongue
Uno from Team Anthony - pork dumpling soup with fried shrimp heads
Khristianne from Team Malarkey: Fried Pig Eggs
Khristianne earned two stars this week, one from Nigella and one from Malarkey.

Note that the assistance of the 2 guest judges once again did not seem to mean any better performance from Team Ludo. Ludo's chefs seem to have an "I know better" attitude and reject the advice from the guest judges. Also there are major battles going on between Ludo and Gregg.

The Taste, Semifinals

There are a total of 7 chefs and home cooks entering this round and only 4 will advance to the finals. The challenge is seductive food. Guest judge is Ingrid Hoffman, restauranteur and TV personality. She is the taster of the preliminary competition to win “a mountain” (literally) of cookware based on the most seductive taste. The chefs/cooks had to use at least one of 5 seductive ingredients their team mentor selected.  The individuals chosen by their team mentor to represent each team in the Team Taste Test were:
Team Nigella – Lauren cooked Italian kisses w/ blackberry + chocolate sauce
Team Anthony – Diane cooked grilled prawns w/ butter bisque + caviar
Team Brian – Jeff cooked oyster w/ passionfriut + caviar
Team Ludo – Sarah cooked Jalapeno and Vanilla Infused Panna Cotta w/ caviar

Ms. Hoffman selected the winner by blind tasting the spoon from Sarah of Team Ludo, which had won 4 straight. Sarah won the mountain of cookware. It looked like Ingrid Hoffman assisted all of the final 7 chefs/cooks and not just those from Team Ludo in the elimination challenge.

That challenge was to pair a cocktail with the cooking of a highly seductive food. It started with a trip to a local farmer’s market, but the proteins were all available in the Taste kitchen.

Lauren (Team Nigella) – octopi w/ bagel chips (a bad idea) w/ Tequila
Diane (Team Anthony) - chocolate
Jeff (Team Brian) – uni w/ sashimi
Sarah (Team Ludo) – mussels/ leeks
Khristianne (Team Brian) – uni, crab, egg 63
Gregg (Team Ludo) – uni pasta
Paul (Team Ludo) – king crab, artichoke, lemongrass + ginger beurre blanc

The blind tasting of all 7 spoons was done by the team mentors and they made choices of Best and Worst based on that. 3 mentors chose Khristiane Best and 1 chose Jeff. Worst choices were spread among Jeff, Paul, Diane and Sarah. Khristianne made it with her win and 3 total gold stars. I do not know how Gregg made it, as it was not explained. Sarah also made it, possibly because of her win in the preliminary competition. The 4 Worst contenders were being considered for the one spot left. It was easy to dismiss Paul, whose opinion of his own cooking exceeded the ratings he got from the mentors. It was also easy to dismiss Lauren, who had the weakest culinary skills of the remaining chefs/cooks. That left Diane versus Jeff and Jeff was sent home, leaving Diane in the finals.

Aw, Lauren. :(

Khristianne has dominated all season. I think she'll have the win.

I agree that Khristianne is the most probable chef to win.
I don't see Sarah as being competitive; she is the only non-professional chef still in the competition.
Gregg has won several of the Team competition but done poorly enough in the elimination challenges that he would be gone if not saved several times by his immunity.
The only chef I see as being competitive with Khristianne is Diane.

We'll see who wins.

I watched the finale and I like this show. Hopefully it's renewed.


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