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You're a Healthy Hush Puppy

Mary Sue wins, George goes home, but we all win with quirky judges.

Hello my little quinoa fritters! Well, needless to say this week's episode was tres difficile. It was so difficile that it's apparently making me speak French! First, the Quickfire Challenge forced the chefs to cook a dish for under $1. Sooo they were "buying" one shrimp here, one egg there. Not sure the purchasing of these items this way is even allowed in a grocery store, but for the sake of the challenge, let's go with it. The chefs really rose to the challenge. In fact Hugh thought it was such a good idea, he conceived of a dollar store pop-up concept. I say, "Do it!" The judges for this challenge were the adorable guys from Dinner Party Download. I kinda wanted to date both of them -- is that bad?! Their comments were quite constructive, and ultimately they thought Naomi's bread salad was tops. When I first heard she was making bread salad, my mind instantly went to Traci's warm bread salad from Episode 1, which was also well-received. So, now you have a few new recipes to make on a budget. Sure beats ramen every night!

Don't think the Elimination Challenge was any easier! The chefs bought ingredients before they were told they'd be in a fast-food situation. And not only would they be making fast food dishes, but they'd have to work all the stations. Eek! Most of the chefs took the new challenge in stride. Unfortunately George Mendes didn't. He kept his original dish concept almost entirely the same, and it wasn't that tasty. So the 2011 Food & Wine Best New Chef can go back to his critically-acclaimed restaurant, Aldea, in NYC. The 14-year-old girl in me is a little bummed I won't get to watch him each week. Oh well. Celina's "unwrap" almost sent her home, as did Alex's fish taco. I don't care much for salmon, and I do agree in general with Curtis that it was an odd choice for a taco. Although I'd love to hear if you guys have had any successful salmon fish tacos -- I'm sure they're out there!

This was probably Mary Sue's challenge to lose as her Border Grill experience certainly trained her for this sort of environment. Her quinoa fritters sounded slammin', and I can't wait to make them myself! When asked by a co-worker which dish I would've ordered I quickly said Floyd's (with Mary Sue's fritters on the side.) The frankie sounded delicious, and James' comments about the wrap were right-on. You could literally see through the screen how delicious the wrap looked. It resembled naan to me. And of course there was Traci's burrito which resulted in one of the best reactions of the challenge: Curtis adorably banging on the table he liked it so much. Anyway, I think the real winners this week were the judges, or rather the viewers for some seriously awesome judge moments. First of all, the -- I guess you could call it -- flirting between Danyelle and Curtis was amusing, but it all really hit a high point for me when Danyelle said, "They're like healthy hush puppies," referring to Mary Sue's quinoa fritters. Curtis retorts, "You're a healthy hush puppy." Um, what?! Don't know what it means, but it was amusing. I usually come back from a comment with "You're a..." when I don't know what else to say. Either way, I'd love to be called a healthy hush puppy by Curtis Stone. And James Oseland was just in top form this week. Not only were his comments about "little mouthfuls" as delightful as ever, but his face when he honked the car horn was just plain riveting. Seriously, we rewound that moment, like, four times in the office, and if you DVR'd the episode, I suggest you do the same. His comment about being late to a San Antonio destination because of the slow drive-through cracked me up too. I like the back and forth between James and Alan. But tell me: What were your favorite little moments? And did you agree with the judges' decision?

Next week, Maroon 5 visits, and, well, I'm a big fan. until then, Have a Nosh!

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