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Hello my little macarons! First, I must say that I stole this week's recap title from Johnny Iuzzini. I'll explain further down. I hope you all had a very sweet week, and were ready for this week's episode featuring none other than Francois Payard. I think my senility has hit an all-time high because i literally forgot that he guest-judged last season until Gail reminded me. Remember?
Oh well -- I got excited all over again. It was like seeing him again for the first time.For this week's Quickfire Challenge, the chefs had to make pie, and Chef Payard explained how important the pie crust is.
I looooove pie (although I go back in forth in my head whether I prefer pie or cake -- which one do you prefer?) The chefs didn't just have to make pie, though, they had to make it with one hand tied behind their backs! Now they sort of know what Rebecca went through most of the season!
The chefs took it in stride, though, and the only one who had a real problem was Matthew. He accidentally moved his dish with his extra hand. Thus, he was out of contention for the win. I looove when contestants say they hope no one saw them break the rules … to the camera. No, Matthew. No one saw you. Sally tried, once again, to play to the guest judges' favorite flavor profiles (she mentioned the same strategy for Pichet Ong), this time, however, it sort of backfired in that Chef Payard thought her pie was a little too tart and her crust wasn't quite up to snuff. Chris' pie was a tad too sweet -- when discussing Chris' pie with Gail, she brought up a great quote from Johnny Iuzzini: "Sugar is not a flavor." I just love this. It's so true, and such a perfect comment for so many desserts we eat all the time. Orlando's pie was successful, but, ultimately, Carlos won. He too knew the flavors Chef Payard enjoys, but -- unlike in Sally's case -- that knowledge actually worked to his benefit.
For the Elimination Challenge the chefs are told they will be creating upscale carnival food for a Top Chef Carnival hosted by Food & Wine's Dana Cowin. There's upscale and there's wearing cocktail dresses to a carnival. I have to say i was kind of nervous for everyone when I saw what the guests were wearing -- the event was actually much more upscale than even i expected!
We'll start with my personal favorite dish of the night -- Sally's. Sally pretty much won me over at "corn." There are a few ingredients that perk me up immediately. Even my friends know which ones they are. If i'm at a restaurant, it's not rare for them to say, "Well, I know what you're ordering." Inevitably, that dish has either corn, bacon, or both! Sooo, Sally's would have been the dessert I would have ordered. Thankfully, it was received well by the judges, but not as well as Matthew's. Matthew made an apple empanada. The judges love their fresh fruit with their cooked fruit, huh? A Matthew hater would say that Matthew's dish looked like a glorified McDonald's apple pie (I thought it too). And guess what? McDonald's apple pies are delicious. But this one was fried, and the crust on Matthew's just looked like flaky deliciousness.Now, to our bottom dishes. I know a lot of you will be upset that Orlando didn't go home, especially since judging from your comments, most of you are over him. Well, i think Gail explains very well why he didn't. I was very nervous for him, though. Johnny warned him that his use of chocolate was a mistake, and he didn't listen. And, it was. What's interesting is that the chocolate wasn't a huge disconnect for me, as usually chocolate and nut-coated apples can usually be found right next to caramel apples, but Orlando didn't reference that. And it probably wouldn't have mattered. Chris' funnel cake ice cream sounded pretty great had it been executed correctly, but he just had way too many things going on on his plate.
Neither Orlando nor Chris' dishes were worse than Carlos'. He really just fell apart after the demise of his beloved macarons. This killed me because he made such wonderful macarons in the Wonka challenge. Unfortunately, his quick thinking in making angel food cake as a replacement just didn't hold up. Macarons and angel food cake have very different textures, so it seemed like a long shot to me, but i was hoping it would work out. Unfortunateyl it didn't, and Carlos went home. I really, really liked Carlos, and I'm happy this show introduced his talent to us. He's super-talented and hopefully a lot more people will go to experience his desserts in Las Vegas.
Here's a preview of next week's episode:
Until then, Have a Nosh!!