Hello my little, Pratt-Farrises! Before we get into this week's episode, let's discuss last week's Last Chance Kitchen! If you didn't' watch it yet, watch it HERE. After being eliminated for a universally-hated pork burger, CJ and Tyler face Kuniko in the kitchen. Two on one. I think we could go back and forth over whether one person competing against two was a disadvantage, but I'm inclined to think it was an advantage!. CJ and Tyler did get eliminated cooking together after all, didn't they?! This time, the challenge was to not only cook in a team, but to make dessert -- as Tom so appropriately put it, it really was their worst nightmare. Kuniko made a Frozen Banana (hello, Arrested Development fans!) with Fruit Compote and Lemon Curd. CJ and Tyler made Hay Ice Cream with Cherry Fritter, Cherries, and Arugula. If i had to order one, I would've ordered the guys' dish just to try to hay ice cream. Tyler finally got to make a fritter -- something he had wanted to do with the pickles in the chefs' last regular season challenge. Alas, Tom preferred CJ and Tyler's dish and Kuniko goes home. But wait -- not so fast! You can still Save Kuniko! Every week, you get to be the judge and vote for an eliminated chef to return to Last Chance Kitchen for the finale. So, if you think Kuniko got a raw deal, save her! Vote HERE!
OK -- now back to our regularly-scheduled program. We start with a Quickfire judged by the famous (infamous?) Marilyn Hagerty. You will recall that she made headlines back in March when her review of the Olive Garden in Grand Forks, North Dakota went viral -- a word with which Marilyn was unfamiliar. I wish we were all that lucky. Sigh. Padma explains that she has a book in the works with Anthony Bourdain. I have a brook proposal of my own: 'Best of Both Worlds Tour 2012: Restaurant Reviews by Marilyn Hagerty and Pete Wells. Send them both to the same restaurants, say, like Guy's Americain, and see what happens. Anyone in? I'd read the s--- out of that. Anyway! The Quickfire Challenge is for the chefs to create sweet and savory holiday dishes using Truvia Baking Blend with Sugar. They all draw knives, and everyone's say "Off Limits," except Lizzie's! That means that all of the chefs have to share that one knife. As such, most of the chefs try to cut things with other utensils rather than simply trying to make something that doesn't require cutting. Joshua actually grabs the knife first, right out from Lizzie's nose. The chefs make various dishes, but it was Danyele's that I really wanted to try. Bread pudding? Goooood. Ham? Goooood. This challenge actually made me think of that Friends episode where Rachel makes a "traditional English trifle" with a layer of beef and peas because a page of her cookbook was ripped, so she melded two recipes together. Just me? OK.
In the end, Brooke's cheddar apple pie wins the day. She had said that it was a little safe, but that she'd take safe over bad. I don't know if her dish was safe or just simple. Her dish probably had the most sensory recognition for Marilyn, so if it was bad, Marilyn would've known, as opposed to the more exotic dishes that Marilyn had never heard of before, let alone tried before. I will say it must've stung for Micah to hear Marilyn call his tamale a taco.. The minute Micah questioned whether Marilyn would know what a tamale was I yelled "For shame!" and "Food snob!" at my T.V. (in theory), but you know what? She didn't know what it was. Wah waaah. Anyway, kudos, Brooke -- your "homey" dish was delicious!
On to the best Elimination Challenge everrr with Chris Pratt and Ana Farris. I love these two. Not only am I a huge Parks fan (I contemplated writing this whole recap in Tommy-speak), but I was an Everwood fan as well. (Amy and Ephram 4eva!) I also think Anna Farris is a really great physical comedian. In my humble opinion, House Bunny is underrated. Sooo, I was overall very excited to see these two make an appearance in the Top Chef kitchen. The premise is that they are home for the holidays and it's the chefs' jobs to create a winning homecoming party menu for them. Chris and Anna like everything -- seriously they apparently eat things I wouldn't even touch. Anna reveals that Chris and her brother hunt together. Chris makes a joke about eating squirrel, but, um, I have no idea if it was really a joke or not. While they don't give much in the way of restrictions except for HUMMUS! and y'know Anna being pregnant and all (no raw fish, etc.), the chefs are able to go crazy. So, the chefs start formulating their ideas. Josh wants to redeem himself in the pork world. John talks about making a chowder he learned form the great seafood chef Rick Moonen, his former boss. Oh, and also Kristen and Stefan do some cooking of their own as they continue to flirt. In fact, later in the episode, Stefan says to Kristen "I'm going to divorce you." I don't understand this relationship, but whatever. We'll just say they're work man and wife. We've all had those. Mine don't usually rub my feet, but to each her own.On to the party! We meet Chris and Anna's parents who are quite posh, if I may say so. When Anna's father sees the judges he says, "Welcome to Seattle." When Chris sees the judges he says "Uh-oh." Ha! (Sidenote: How cute is Chris with his mother after learning she thought she had broken the glass art?! I rewound that part, as well as him relaying the story to Anna multiple times.)
At first, it seems the chefs are killing it. Everything the judge and Chris and Anna eat are met with "Mmms" and positive critique. Chris didn't know what real goulash was before he had Stefan's Brooke's lamb-stuffed squid is inspired. It's looking like these chefs are proving, once gain, that our chefs usually cook their best for celebrities. 'member how well our Top Chef: Texas chefs cooked for Charlize? Mmm-hmm.
Just as I'm starting to form that theory, the food starts suffering. Danyele already shares with Josh that she's nervous about her boar chop -- he doesn't care. But she also tells the judges she's nervous "like always." Shut up, Danyele! She needs a dose of Josh or John's confidence for real. Eliza is also nervous that her elk meat is chewy and tough, so she cuts it thinner so it's easier to chew. Oy. The judges don't seem to mind the texture of her meat, but Tom comments that it's too thin, and her sides suck. Micah is worried about his celery puree. Josh's pork isn't seasoned. In true man-form, Chris responds to this dish by saying "It might not be great, but there's a lot of it," which, to be fair, was one of Chris' requirements.
When the chefs finally head to Judges' Table, John gets kudos for his dish from Rick Moonen. Sheldon and Kristen are also up there. But ultimately the winner was Brooke… again! Four are on the bottom, and Danyele reveals to the judges that she doesn't know if she's cut out for the competition. Tom gives her some encouraging words, and you know what? She doesn't go home -- Eliza does.
I've already made my love for Eliza very clear last week, but then she goes and does the most Eliza thing ever. Since she seems to be getting sick, so instead of shaking the judges' hands "goodbye," she nods to each of them! I mean, this woman is wonderful. I'll miss you, Eliza! Good luck in Last Chance Kitchen against CJ and Tyler, which you can all watch HERE.
Until next week, Have a Nosh! And for those celebrating, Happy Chanukah!