Welcome back, my little banana yucca! Who knows what fabulous '90s film my recap title hails from? Leave your guesses in the comments below!
First, let me start by saying that I watched this episode about 5,000 times. Why? Because this week we started our 11 p.m. interactive episodes. featuring behind-the-scenes tidbits, fun facts, and more -- so join us, won't you?
OK -- now on to the episode!
First, the Quickfire Challenge, and it's all about salad! I have to say salad is one of the most interesting dishes in the world because, well, you can do a lot of interest things with salad -- and frankly, they can be really unhealthy! Not to get all pretentious on you, but even Escoffier recognized the importance of salad and its dressings, listing five classic dressings and when to use them in his classic Guide Culinaire.
I've had some good salads in my day, but the one that I always come back to was created by former Top Chef Master Jonathan Waxman himself -- it's a farro salad he had on his Barbuto chef's table menu awhile back. Just delicious. But salads in general are a staple in most diets of those of working in Corporate America. Salads are all about the toppings for me -- I will literally eat every piece of lettuce so I can save my favorite toppings for last. Anyone else do that?So, the chefs got to work and came up with some pretty inventive stuff. And they were cooking for Athens Geogia's very own B-52s. Hugh Acheson lives in Athens, but we won't hold that against this legendary group. I love them. I also loved Brad Sherwood's dead-on impression of Fred Schneider on Whose Line is it Anyway? Who remembers that?!
Although the salads were all pretty inventive, a couple stood out. First, Lorena's. Art was worried about Lorena since she decided to grill cauliflower with only eight minutes. It was ballsy, but it worked because she won the challenge! Next, Kerry's. He decided to make a play on Salade Russe and everyone dug it. Finally, Thierry's. They didn't think they liked fruit in their salad, but they enjoyed his. And as I always say, the sign of a great chef -- to me -- is the ability to make people like foods they didn't think they did.
So, with her first Quickfire win under belt, Lorena and her fellow competitors move on to the Elimination Challenge at the Grand Canyon! In a lot of ways this episode reminded me of the Ellis Island episode of Top Chef. Like that challenge, the chefs were traveling to a place with a lot of history, but this time, that land was sacred and this time, they were cooking other people's history, not their own. uUt first, they had to make it to the area settled by the Hualipai tribe! And Takashi was afraid of heights. I love Takashi -- I just start giggling at everything he says because it's all so endearing. This time, I giggled when he forgot he was afraid of heights, but thankfully Chris Cosentino remembered for him! I appreciate that they know these types of things about each other -- they truly are friends.Thankfully, Takashi was OK and they made it to their destination, armed with indigenous ingredients and broken up into teams of two. Some of the teams seemed really organic like Patricia and Chris… Really, everyone but Kerry and Clark, who seemed to get off to a rocky start. As the chefs started cooking, they started getting rained on. Chris MacGyver'd that situation and created fire for his fellow chefs. It was almost a medieval moment.
And so, the chefs presented their humble dishes to their welcoming guests. It seemed that the team with the greatest chance of stumbling was in fact Kerry and Clark, even though they had the most ubiquitous ingredients. Unfortunately, their ingredients -- just like them -- couldn't marry together. And Clark paid the price for it. His elimination is a little bittersweet in that we can all take some sort of solace in the fact that he is going home to rejoin his partner in life and cooking, Mark. It would've been interesting to see what happened if Clark had spoken up, though.
Art and Lorena didn't let their overcooked quail get them down, and thankfully a delectable BBQ sauce may have saved them. No real complaints about Chris and Patricia's rabbit bits dish. But ultimately, Takashi and Thierry pulled out the win with a venison and banana yucca plate -- two ingredients near and dear to their diners' hearts.My favorite moment in this week's episode was one that a couple of the other judges mentioned in their blogs as well, and that was not only hearing the Hualapai talk about their food in a way they probably never thought they would, but also hearing them basically make fun of our judges for how they talk about food. Oh, the plight of the foodie. Tell me: what was your favorite moment?
Next week the chefs throw a pool party for none other than Ms. Holly Madison. I will admit that I was a regular The Girls Next Door viewer, so I'm kinda psyched. Until then, Have a Nosh!