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(Sorry -- I couldn't help myself with the title of this recap.)
Welcome back my little playmates (lower case "p.") As exceptional as last week's episode was, one could probably call it pretty heavy. And this episode was the exact opposite -- it was all about fun.
First, Curtis presented the chefs with their Quickfire Challenge, to create a duo of meat and vegetarian fare for our guest judges, the Indigo Girls. I was pretty happy to see a vegetarian challenge because I know how strongly you, our loyal viewers, feel about it. It's probably the No. 1 comment I see posted to our blogs and @bravotopchef. So, yay?
Most of the chefs, I thought, really offered some great vegetarian options. But, of course, some had some trouble. First, there was Art, who may or may not have mixed up his vegetarian and meat fillings. But, the Indigo Girls loved his pies. Then there was Patricia, who didn't get her broth in her pho. When she had the Girls try it afterward, they loved it. Bummer. And then there was Thierry, who was told that his vegetarian option basically seemed like an afterthought.
On the other hand (the more positive hand), Kerry's chicken with olives and herb flan with olives were well-received. Lorena's arepas got scraped up off the plate! But, ultimately, Takashi found his noodle dishes on top! Not only does he get money but he gets immunity. Way to go, Takashi!
On to the Elimination Challenge! And we're presented with Holly Madison, most known for being Hugh Hefner's former girlfriend and star of The Girls Next Door. I am here to admit that I watched that show religiously. And even though I was a Bridget girl -- like me, she had her Masters in journalism -- Holly was always fun to watch. Now, she's in Vegas, starring in PEEPSHOW. i know this because, well, Curtis told us, and because i have watched Holly's World on E!. Hey, I said i'm a fan!Now, let's first just get this out there: chefs hate brunch. This is based on random anecdotal evidence, and if I remember correctly maybe something Bourdain wrote once, but I'm pretty sure it's true. Diners love brunch! Mmm smoked salmon benedict. Not only do the chefs have to prepare brunch, but they have to do it outside, by a pool, and they have to make it tiny. Good luck, everyone! Holly's only real requirement was no garlic and onions. Two of my favorite things! I actually have some experience with this restriction, though, because one of my friends has bad acid issues and so when I cook for her, I need to make one version sans onions and garlic. It's actually a tad more difficult than you might think. So, Art just didn't listen. And you know what? Holly didn't seem to mind. Art's turkey biscuit was a hit.
Kerry's dish looked like it could have been disastrous -- I mean, how messy was he with that bledner? But Francis liked Kerry's crabcake's crabbiness. I have to say I love a crab cake that actually tastes like crab. And you all know how much I love corn. Kerry consistently selects ingredients I would order off a menu -- good thing I live in New York, where he cooks!
Patrcia beat the s--- out of her meat, but people enjoyed it. What they didn't enjoy was the stale-ish bread it was on. Takashi's panna cotta -- admittedly one of my least favorite desserts -- was not only beautiful but apparently delicious. And while Lorena was the winner with her bunuelos (go, Lorena!), Chris was the winner for me. Sure, his dish wasn't balanced, but it was just so thoughtful, I was shocked to see him on the bottom. But those smoking guns are tough stuff and need to be handled with care. It was too bad the execution wasn't as spot-on as the concept.
Chris didn't go home, though -- in the end, the adorable Thierry left his partner Takashi because his béchamel sauce just wasn't right. Also, he called his dish a Croque Madame and it wasn't. Although he did work egg in there, it wasn't in the traditional sense and that was a disappointment to the diners. I'm going to miss Thierry. But, who knows, he's come back before, so maybe he will again!
I'd love to hear your thoughts about this episode below. Until next week, Have a Nosh, and watch this shocking preview!