Hello my little Roastmaster Generals! I call you that of course because this week's episode featured Jeffrey Ross, and that is his unofficial title. In this week's Signature Dish Challenge, the underdog seemed to come out on top. Although Jennifer was the most frazzled, Rocco said it was her dish that he would've wanted to eat more of. Just like last week's episode, the other chefs seem to underestimate the caterer or private chef. Hopefully they now realize they're a force to be reckoned with! Although -- in my opinion -- Fabio's dish looked great, apparently it didn't have much flavor, and so Fabio goes home, and Jennifer competes in the Dinner Party Challenge against Ryan, another adorable guy! He had a sort of Patrick Dempsey vibe (i'm sure it was just the hair) that I was digging. I think Jennifer may have been digging it too -- either they were flirting or they really were just busting each other's chops. Who knows! I prefer to believe the former, even though the latter is probably more accurate.
Ryan and Jennifer's challenge is to create a summer-inspired party and meal. The catch? Each course must be under 350 calories. Sure, this is a pain, but we've all seen similar challenges on Top Chef, sooo it can be done. As author of multiple healthy eating cookbooks, Rocco offered the contestants some tips on how to easily swap out higher-calorie ingredients for lower-calorie ones. Greek yogurt for fats, etc. So, the chefs start cooking, and I literally say out loud to my colleagues "I hope another twist isn't thrown in!" They all reply that it will be. And so it is. Guest diner Jeffrey Ross doesn't want to eat healthy! Sooo he makes some comforting but random request: chicken salad, matzah brie, and cheesecake. Knowing how to make a healthy chicken salad isn't uncommon, so Ryan bangs that out. But matzah brie? I felt bad for them on this one. If you've never made it or eaten it, you probably have no idea what it is! Major kudos to Jennifer for pulling this off. Even though she didn't make it quite correctly. (You soak the matzoh in hot water, then dredge in the egg like you would a chicken cutlet), she knew she needed eggs, and that was honestly half the battle. Jeffrey requested salami and other items in there too which she tok care of. Her dish actually turned out more like something my dad used ot make me when i wa little -- eggs with hot dog (sounds gross, but it's delicious!) and Jeffrey not only appreciated the effort, but everyone thought the final product was quite flavorful!
Yet another twist came when the contestants discovered that Jeff doesn't eat seafood other than shrimp and lobster. Both adapt in their own ways with shrimp. Ultimately, both contestants did admirably and stayed under their calorie counts, and while Ryan's room was well-received -- despite some comments from Jung Lee -- Jennifer's room seemed to be a bigger hit. The diners were transported. Reading Jes Gordon's blog sheds a lot of light on what went into making both rooms happen, and how much Rocco loved Jennifer's party room details!
Do you agree with Rocco's decision, or would you want have wanted to experience Ryan's "Message in a Bottle"-themed party instead? Let me know in the comments below!