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In this episode, Paul Bartolotta says, “Everyone’s an authority on Italian food.” Especially Italians, as the contestants discovered! But to some degree everyone’s an authority on food. That’s what makes a career as a chef challenging. Of course, everyone’s a music critic or a movie critic too.
Most of us can agree on bad cooking when we encounter it. There’s nothing worse than being under time pressure in the kitchen when something goes wrong. The Black Team suffered from losing the extra hour of prep time that the Red Team won by winning the Course. An hour would have been enough time for Avery to make more pasta dough. Instead, the team was forced to use her batch of dough. You can see in the show how thick and gluey it was — there was no elasticity to it. Of course the Italian customers picked up on that right away. We all did.
Nicole’s ribeye was also a failure. In her case, more time wouldn’t have helped—you don’t have unlimited supplies of ingredients. Lucky for her, she had immunity.
Liz’s pork loin started out as too salty—at least according to Jenna—but it wasn’t an irreversible problem. She had time to fix it.
As Paul says in this episode, “Italian cuisine is interpretative. There is no definitive benchmark.” That’s true, but he’s also assuming a base level of quality. This week, some of our chefs didn’t achieve that. They blamed the Italians, calling them picky. Come on, guys, excuses are for wimps! Pick up your game.
See you next week in Thailand!