Blind Love

The chefs are challenged by creating a meaningful -- but still delicious -- meal for a soon-to-be-engaged couple.

Hello my little lovers. This week's episode started with one of my favorite Quickfire Challenges -- the blind taste test. The strength of a chef's palate is something that often comes up in judges' comments, so, for some reason, the outcome of this challenge means a lot to me as a viewer. This time, however, the producers mixed it up, tasting the chef's sense of taste, smell, and touch! After some spillage and some very impressive identifications, Hugh prevailed! Mary Sue won my heart, once again, though, with her comment "I wrote down papaya, and I changed it to tomato -- I dont know why." I mean, how adorable was that?!

On to the cooking! This week's Elimination Challenge, and challenges like it, always have me asking (myself), "Would you want to be proposed to on television?" I used to say no. I think I've changed my mind. If I had world-class chefs cooking a meal that actually meant something to my fiance and me, I'd love it. I've probably given this whole concept more thought than I should since I'm not even in a serious relationship, but I want to be proposed to at Le Bernardin, and I want to have my engagement party in one of the private rooms upstairs. And Bryan Voltaggio and Hung Huynh will cater my wedding (since Hung can do the Kosher thing) There, I've said it!

Question: Does food factor in to your dream proposal?

So, when this week's groom, Chris, commissioned the chefs to create a multi-course meal inspired by his relationship with his girlfriend, Victoria, I was all in. The chefs not only had to create dishes that captured the relationship moments Chris described, but also please the other diner couples, and, of course, the judges (Gail and Gael were back!) The twist? The couple's mothers would be watching from the kitchen, so they wouldn't miss the proposal, and Victoria's mother could congratulate her engaged daughter immediately.

Naomi, Mary Sue (down a fingertip), and Floyd earned top honors for their dishes. The producers really fooled with me with Naomi's comments about her dish being too rustic. I thought that might have sent her home, and if it had, I would've been disappointed. "Rustic" food is just as good as refined food. My only real concern about her dish was that it was very large, so going from that to Hugh's smaller-portioned strip steak seemed like an odd progression. Mary Sue's dish resulted in one of my favorite -- and most eduational -- moments of the episode where Curtis showed Gail how to make a spoon from mussel shells! Can't wait to try that. Curtis once again proved that he's probably the best date in the world. And Floyd just might be the best husband. Does he just seem like the most thoughtful man on the planet, or what?!

Unfortunately, Celina, Hugh, and Traci, all ended up on the bottom. They thought they best captured the challenge of creating meaningful dishes for Chris and Victoria. And you know what? They're probably right. In fact, when Victoria saw "Je t'aime" written on her dessert plate, still unsure of exactly what was happening, I started tearing up. And Traci was responsible for that. Too bad her gallette was too dry. It actually looked rustic and beautiful, but I didn't taste it. Not only were the judges not happy with the chewiness of Hugh's steak, but he then dropped somewhat of a bomb: When asked by Curtis if he cooked down to his diners. He admitted he had, and would again. Oof. There's a difference between creating audience-appropriate food and dumbing down your food. I was dispapointed in Hugh's response because I adore him so much. It'll be interesting to see if he's changed his view on this. Alas, though, Celina went home. Although her pretzels turned out great, they just made no sense with the salad alongside them.

Question: were you guys relieved to see Hugh/Traci stay, or were you more upset to see Celina go? I'm curious!

Until next week, let me know where you're eating, and Have a Nosh!

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