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[Editor's Note: Yes, my blog title is a vague attempt at tipping my hat to the XXX Olympics Games in London!]
Hello, my little Jordan almonds! Sorry -- that's all I think about at weddings. This week, we forewent (I'm pretty sure that's a word) the Quickfire because we had quite a time-consuming Elimination ahead of us -- a wedding! In come Jay and Christine, a couple with a very sad story. Christine's Maid of Honor -- and Jay's sister -- passed away before their original wedding date, so they cancelled it. Then, when they tried to plan the wedding again, the venue closed. Come on! So, the chefs band together to give this couple a day they'll never forget (for good reason this time.) It was heartwarming to see how much the chefs genuinely cared about the couple's happiness.
The couple gives the chefs some direction in that they're Filipino so the menu should be "Asian" (Oy.) and that pig and even pig's blood are traditional. And that the wedding cake is very important. We learn a lot of things about the chefs' wedding experiences, most notably that Art created Lady Gaga's 25th birthday cake and Chris cooked for his own wedding. Did you catch his old blue hair?! Also, Thierry won over his wife with croque-en-bouche. No comment. Susur Lee actually made a traditional croque-en-bouche in Season 2. Who remembers? Anyway, Filipino food is pretty trendy right now, so this should be an exciting challenge.
The chefs head to the grocery store, which I really think is the most stressful part of the whole challenge. Although, this trip was successful for some and not others. Kerry didn't get all the crab he thought he'd need, while Chris made Takashi go long for pork belly!As the chefs begin to cook, the chefs give the couple a little tasting. The part about this that caught my eye was how Kerry had the couple taste the fresh sweet corn. I just met Kerry for the first time this week, where I had the pleasure of sampling the goodies from his backyard in Sag Harbor, and he is just like how he was in that moment on the show -- excited about frseh food and wanting to teach others. A small moment but i think it revealed a lot about who he is as a chef. Also, Kerry revealed that not only was Tom Colicchio his best man but he cooked for his wedding too!
Another small moment that revealed a lot was Clark getting mad when Thierry started moving stuff from his cart. Clark has a little temper -- who knew?! (besides Mark.)
On to the wedding! The judges were just so cute with the couple -- I laughed out loud when Ruth said, "May you live happily forever." I really don't know why. Was I the only one?!
The chefs sample Patricia's mackerel ceviche, which was met with rave reviews. I don't love mackerel, but I think i just haven't had a good one yet. Thierry made the classic pork blood soup; Clark disappointed a little with his lettuce wrap (notthe bride, though, who loved them), and Takashi presented apparently a very scrumptuosu steam bun. My favorite steam bun is still the one our own Top Chef Hung used to serve at Ajna Bar. It was more of a pulled pork than pork belly inside, and it was awesome. And although Kerry thought he wouldnt' have enough crab, he did and everone loved his dish. I'm sure losing that canned crab was a blessing in disguise.
Now it's time for the other chefs to present their courses, but not before we start to see Art worrying about his cake and his soft frosting. I've been in that boat where your frosting can't stand up to the cake you've made -- it's not fun. But first, Debbie presents her grilled salad. I love a grilled salad. In fact Hugh Acheson give a great crisp kale recipe in his Epicurious column for one. It's not made on a grill, but it's the same sort of concept. Apparently Curtis was the only one who liked Debbie's salad though. I have to say the minute Debbie said her grilling would provide enough acid, I was worried for her. If you want a traditional green papaya salad -- like the one Debbie was most likely planning to make -- try this 80 Plates recipe out.
Clark's salmon was raw for the judges. Bummer. And that was after the other chefs told him he didnt have enough time to put it back in the oven when he wanted to. Wonder what would've happened if he actually hadn't!
He did have one fan in an adorable little kid who proclaimed, "How can you hate Chinese noodles and salmon -- that is the perfect combination." Awww.
Later at Judges' Table, James would describe how raw the fish was to Clark? He just kept saying "raw." I rewound this twice.
Chris made adobo that everone seemed to love. Lorena made flan, which is anything but Asian, but OK.
Before the cake came out, Christine showed Curtis the memorial table, honoring her MOH and Jay's sister -- I lost it. I can't imagine how bittersweet that day was for everyone.
Finally, the cake came, and the look on James' face was priceless. He turns to Ruth and says, "Oh shit!" and starts laughing. I love thes off-the-cuff moments from our judges. The cake was truly a leaning tower. But more than that, James was upset there was none of the glaze you expect from that kind of cake. But, the groom loved it. And in the end, that's all that matters -- the bridge and groom were happy.
Ultimately, Patricia's little bite won and Debbie's salad sent her home to grill more lettuce. "I like to grill lettuce a lot." Don't we all, Debbie, don't we all.
Next week's episode is very exciting, so I can't wit for you all to see it. until then, Have a Nosh!