Where's the Beef?

The chefs get cheesy in the Quickfire Challenge before cooking for The Biggest Loser contestants.

Hello my little losers! Hey, it's a term of endearment! Before we get to the healthy stuff though, let's start with the cheesy Quickfire Challenge, where the chefs had to -- you guessed it -- make a cheese dish in 12 minutes! I love love love cheese -- it's kind of a problem. I'm a smoked gouda girl myself, but you can bet I'll be trying some of the ones mentioned in the episode that I'd never heard of. I actually have a cheese shop right by my apartment, which I was so excited about when I moved in two years ago, but still haven't tried, so now's as good a time as any! I found it interesting to see which chefs had really deep cheese knowledge, and even more interested in hearing guest judge Norbert Wabnig of the Beverly Hill's Cheese Shop. The whole thing reminded me of a little video series we did with Gail Simmons where she schlepped to the Bedford Cheese Shop.

Anyway, although some of the other chefs, and even Traci herself thought her dish might not have been adventurous enough, she won. I don't know what it is about Traci, but I kind of love her. She does her job and she does it well without grandstanding, and she's honest about her dishes' weaknesses when there are any.

For the Elimination Challenge, The Biggest Loser crew invaded the kitchen to present the chefs with the challenge of creating four-course meals under 1500 calories. We've done quite a few episodes with calorie counts, but this one was really enhanced by the  presence of the Biggest Loser contestants and of course Alison Sweeney and co. The Days of our Lives fan in me was pretty thrilled that she was there, and I thought her playfulness with Curtis, the chef who usually cooks for The Biggest Loser cast, was adorable. Many of the chefs brought up the fact that most chefs don't watch what they eat. I don't know that this is entirely true, but I was surprised when both Anthony Bourdain and Eric Ripert revealed during this conversation that they both take Lipitor! For this particular challenge, however, the chef that instantly came to mind is Season 4's Andrew D'Ambrosi, one of my favorites of all time. When he was on the show he actually spoke about how he was overweight but becoming a chef actually regulated that. The ultimate irony being that he got eliminated in the low-calorie lunchbox challenge, cooking for the members of the Chicago Police Academy. Another coincidence is that Andrew's adamant defense of his dish at Judges' Table was very much like Suvir's. Andrew wanted to change the hearts and minds of his diners. Although he thought that his sushi dish was "healthy, hearty, and delicious," the judges begged to differ. By the same token, Suvir was determined to make a self-proclaimed meat lover eat a veggie burger. Now I have to say I love meat as much as the next girl, but I'll definitely eat a tasty veggie burger. The problem is that this challenge was to make up for something the diner is craving. If I were dying for a bacon cheeseburger (which was the case over this past Passover week), a veggie burger just wouldn't do it. I think Suvir could have maybe taken a page out of George Mendes' playbook and used something like a smoked cheese, etc. to give the essence of meat, even if he didn't want to use meat. I think we can all agree Suvir could've used a little tough love from Ron Swanson.

I think Suvir ultimately shot himself in the foot when he proclaimed at Critics' Table that he didn't care about making his diner happy. Since many chefs would say that is a chef's primary goal, I doubt this helped his cause. But Suvir did have a cause, and he feels that he did it justice. I think that he was happy with how we went out, so we shoudln't take that away from him, but I think he raised a lot of questions about meat eating, health consciousnesses versus simply losing weight, etc. I want to know, though, do you think Suvir was too severe? At the end of the day, whether or not Suvir "did the right thing," the judges didnt' like his dish, calling it bland. I asked Suvir what he thought about his elimination, his beef (get it) with Hugh Acheson, etc. Read it here! Alex and Mary Sue also found themselves on the bottom. James Oseland absolutely despised Alex's sides, and I know this doesn't make up for it, but I found Alex's weight loss story inspiring. Mary Sue's egg was her problem, but I think she explained her dilemma pretty well. Her real downfall was trying to compromise her position on what she thought the judges would enjoy versus what she thought the diner would enjoy, rather than making something that was just universally delicious.In the top group was Naomi Pomeroy with her French toast, George with his pizza, and Floyd's buffalo meatball. Honestly, the minute Floyd's dish flashed across the screen, I thought to myself, "Wow, that looks delicous." So, I wasn't surprised that it was flavorful and delicious and that he won. I was nervous for Naomi as she was nervous about her syrup being too bitter, but apparently it was just right! The producers fooled me with this one because I thought the diners would find the syrup too bitter too! Naomi has been kind of killing it in every challenge, hasn't she? George did well with his take on pizza, using smoked mozarella which I just love. (P.S. How cute wa that pic of George as a child? And his inspiring cheese story?!)

Anyway, I really, really want to know what you think about the whole Suvir vs. Hugh thing, so leave a comment below. Also, tell me where you'e been eating. Until next week, Have a Nosh!

P.S. Watch The Real Housewives of Orange County this Sunday for another appearance from the glorious Susan Feniger and this week, Mary Sue Miliken as they create a gorgeous meal for Peggy and her guests. I recommend eating Mexican while watching because it's all you're going to want after it -- trust me.

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