Pee-Wee Herman serves as guest judge for -- what Bravotv.com's Senior Editor considers -- the hardest challenge of the season so far.
Hello my little Chairies! I want to start by saying that this week's episode was probably my favorite of the season thus far. Gail told me that next week's is outta control, so I reserve the right ot change my mind. But, this one was giving me heart palpitations. We'll get to thatin a minute though.
Let's start with the Quickfire. Padma introduces the chefs to the guest judge, and it's none other than Pee-wee Herman! LIke pretty much everyone, I did watch Pee-Wee religiously as a child, and even saw Pee-wee's Big Adventure, and like the Ernest movies, I'm pretty sure it scared me. But Muppets scare me, so that's not really saying much. Either way, i was pretty psyched to see him as guest judge. The judges were first tasked with making Pee-wee's favorite food -- pancakes. Some chefs,like Grayson and Sarah, went super-whimsical, which actually surprised me, and others went more of the elevated route. In the end, Edward killed it with his kind of ingenious "pancake bits." Was anyone else surprised not to see one Chairy-inspired pancake?! Also, total sidenote, but Grayson's Minnie-inspired pancake reminded me of these ice cream pops I used to enjoy when I was little, so thanks for the memories, Grayson!On to the Elimination Challenge, which shocked me by its shear difficulty level. The chefs had to ride around San Antonio on Pee-wee-like bikes buying ingredients with the $100 they were given. They then had to find a restaurant with which to cook their dishes in. The dishes were to be focused around foods Pee-wee said he liked. The meal? Lunch. Some of the chefs, like Lindsay and Paul, had a little more difficulty finding workable kitchens than others, but I have to say that when they all finally found their places, i was overwhelmed by the comradery of the chefs. It seriously warmed my heart to see how the chefs were welcomed into unknown kitchens in San Antonio, other chefs willing to help a hand, give them or, y'know, sell them whatever ingredients they needed. For some reason, the whole thing made me think of Anthony Bourdan's books. Sure, the writing is insanely colorful, but what strikes me most is the depiction of the culture of chefs. It's something we all try to learn more about, but won't ever quite understand if we've never worked in a kitchen. Part of the reason I love this show so much is that we get a glimpse into that world, and I think this episode, maybe more than any other, gave us the biggest entry into the real world of chefs and their kitchens. Anyone else get this feeling or am I just that emotional over this show?! (Update! Hugh just tweeted this during the show, sooo maybe I'm wrong about the hospitality! Although I will admit the sweating grossed me out too.)
Anyway, the chefs wrapped up their food and headed back to the Alamo. Finding the Alamo was apparently a challenge in itself. Watching Grayson bike with one hand while holding her fragile egg-filled chicken was quite a sight. I don't even like holding my Starbucks without a sleeve -- no idea how she was able to hold that pan. Amirite?All in all, the judges seemed to enjoy all of the dishes, and it truly was small differences that set them apart. I was really nervous Paul might go home after he admitted to "destroying" his dish before he presented it. Thankfully, he didn't. Unfortunately, Grayson, a fan favorite went home. I'm dreading the texts I'm going to get from my family and friends on Grayson's departure. She was a favorite among my closest circle of foodies. Gail's blog, which will be up tomorrow, dives deep into why Grayson went home, and hopefully will put some of your minds at ease. Grayson represented herself well and I'm sure has a gained a ton of fans. She's also duking it out with Bev in the last Last Chance Kitchen, so watch that here.
Until next week, Have a Nosh!
P.S. I loved being reminded of ice cream soup. Yum!