What an episode -- fun, fast-paced, and plenty of creative execution in the kitchen. Watching this episode makes my heart race for more reasons than one.
First up, the chefs were presented with a Quickfire Challenge: create a curry dish and pair it with a Goose Island Beer in 30 minutes. Say what? Correct, that’s curry in a hurry for you. Unfortunately, Doug and Franklin sank with this challenge, and Sang and Lynn rose to the top. Sang was really in his element with a curry and beer-focused challenge, so it didn’t come as a surprise that he took out the big bucks for his charity, Worldwide Orphans. Lynn’s curry really delivered with a topping of fresh, green apple; a finishing I hadn’t seen before on a curry. It was great to have Jason Bentley, music director of KCRW Radio on set to judge the dishes --after all, music and food creates the perfect harmony!
Next up, the contestants got their chance to really pull one over me, and let me tell you, this is nearly impossible to do. Kudos to Linds, my fiancée at the time of filming, and now my beautiful wife, who snuck on-set and organized an amazing, surprise engagement party for me, catered for by the contestants. It was all fun for me and my closest friends and no play for the chefs who madly prepared dishes with some of Linds’ and my favorite ingredients for the Elimination Challenge -- crab, chocolate, and Korean food.
Sue, David, and Doug from the Red Team dished up Curried Crab Beignet with Cilantro Aioli, which was crispy and delicious, and I appreciated their inventiveness with the Shiitake Umami Broth. The broth sounded strange on paper, but really delivered on flavor. Sue, David, and Doug were such a bizarre combo of people to throw in a team; I can’t imagine another time that you would see these three cook together. The Chocolate Cheesecake Pops with Peppermint Whipped Cream personified this group -- weird and wacky but somehow worked!
Neal, Franklin, and Jennifer made up the Green Team and left us wanting a little more. Linds told the chefs that I’m mad for chocolate, so the Red Team served up Ricotta Chocolate Donuts, but the donut was dry, and there wasn’t enough chocolate to bring them back to life. Franklin was a little too ambitious in this Elimination Challenge as he took on most of the workload by doing two of the four canapés. Sadly his ambitiousness was his undoing, and we saw Franklin pack up his knives and leave this week. He was extremely unlucky to be sent home. Franklin is a great and talented chef who clearly works very hard. I only wish I got to taste more of his food.