Two significant things happened in this episode: 1) Rodney did not make a pie; 2) Chad did not put BBQ sauce on anything. And that's all for this week, folks!
Oh, you want more? Ok, there's more.
This week, the Wannabes have to present themselves as food experts. Even if they really aren't. Bobby and Alton (Giada is AWOL, as are Tushface and Susie - this is getting better and better every week!) lay the bad news on the contestants. In front of them are black bags marked with a ?, each containing a mystery ingredient. The Wannabes have half an hour to prepare a dish with said ingredient, then be completely convincing when they tell Alton or Bobby about it during the tasting portion of this challenge.
Chad the BarBJew is wearing a cap that mercifully hides his greasy gray locks. He's got salsify, an edible root that has a flavor reminiscent of oysters, but he's calling it "sassifee," because, you know, root vegetables can be quite sassy.
Alton and Bobby divide the contestants, taking five each. Alton starts with Chris, whose salad tastes more of apple than of the fishy funky bottarga. Nikki's also made a salad and tossed some marinated cuttlefish in it. Alton likes the salad but thinks she didn't have to present it as if the cuttlefish were an afterthought. akaLovely - who is now the "party girl" - made a bread pudding with her rambutan and glams it up with some raspberry champagne sauce. Alton thought the sauce was overkill, and it seems pretty clear that he does not like akaLovely.
Rodney and Damaris are the clear winners of the Mentor Challenge and will be given an advantage in the Star Challenge to come. But first, a commercial or ten for Buitoni. Honestly, I'm so annoyed by the Buitoni commercials (especially during the online recap), I probably will never buy that company's products again.
Finally, we get to the next challenge, which is a version of Chopped, but without Ted Allen. Boo. Instead, we get Alex Guarnaschelli as guest judge. Some consolation prize, but I guess it could have been worse. We might have gotten the great chef Scott Conant, instead.
Rodney's and Damaris' advantage, won in the previous challenge, is that they don't have to compete at all--instead, they will act as judges with Alton, Bobby, and Alex. Will they be douchey like Conant or nit-picky like Marcus Samuelsson?
For the first heat, Russell, Danushka, BarBJew Chad, and Viet battle first. Their basket has a theme--food one might eat at a sporting event. The ingredients they must use in their dish are: hot dogs, peanuts, cotton candy, and beer. The clock is set to 30 minutes and the Wannabes are off.
Viet, who may just be a genius, pops his dogs in the food pro and puts the resulting ground meat into a pot with beer and water to make a stock for ramen. Chad makes a bold move and eschews the grill for hot dogs and waffles, a play on chicken and waffles, although I'm not really getting that connection. Russell also dumps his ingredients in the food pro to make a filling for steamed dumplings. It sounds good until he throws in some tofu as well. And Danushka, who is a food purist who wants a hot dog to taste like a hot dog, makes a beer batter for her dogs.
Time's up! Russell presents first and tells the panel that the basket was in his wheelhouse of culinary sins, fat and sugar and whatnot. Unfortunately, he rambles on like he has more than a couple of minutes to explain his dish and runs out of time. Damaris tells it like it is.
Next, Stacey, akaLovely, Chris, and Nikki open their baskets. The theme is kiddie food, and the contents are chicken nuggets, fruit leather, goldfish crackers, and apple juice. It's kind of appalling that parents voluntarily feed their kids this crap. It's no better than candy bars, soda, and frozen pizza. Stacey says that the back of her SUV is loaded with this garbage and that she's not ashamed to admit she's a soccer mom. Ok, then I'm embarrassed for her, especially since she made it sound like she's either a real slob, or she lets her kids eat stuff off the floor. She attempts to make a pot pie, but doesn't get it into the oven soon enough for her puff pastry top to cook through.
akaLovely continues with her new theme. The "party girl" is making bell pepper strips stuffed with mushed-up chicken nuggets. Mm mm. I won't be attending any of her parties, that's for sure.
Nikki presents first. In Rodney's first turn at judge, he dazzles us with his vocabulary.
akaLovely's "party" food was too sweet; Rodney really dug the "apple pie filling" on top. Apple pie filling? Alex thought it needed some soy or garlic to give it depth.
Apple pie filling?
Posted on Minxeats.com.