When the Top Cheftestants enter the TC Kitchen, they find Padma with Chris Bianco, "one of America's greatest pizza masters." But no, this isn't a pizza challenge. It's a flour challenge. For this Quickfire, each chef must create a dish that uses any of several alternative flours, but not all-purpose wheat flour. There is no immunity for the winner, but he or she does get $5000.
The chefs somehow manage to choose different flours. Melissa takes almond while Bryan takes Hazelnut and rye. Gregory uses tapioca, Malarky attempts coconut, Lee Anne buckwheat, and Stephanie blue corn. Nini is smart and chooses rice flour, which is used in Vietnamese dishes. Karen uses garbanzo flour. Eric and Kevin are the only repeats, with their choice of cornmeal. Eric also uses cassava flour.
Malarkey attempts to make ice cream again, and he hopes to serve with it donuts. Coconut flour is essentially ground-up fiber; I think it would be like baking with extra fine mulch. Which is kinda what it ended up looking like. He tells Padma and Chris to close their eyes and pretend he's got a fabulous dish, but they're not fooled. At least his ice cream came out well this time.
|What we'd love to hear Padma say someday soon.|
For the Elimination Challenge, the cheftestants will help celebrate the 100th season of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. Or the "LA Phil," as Padma called it. Do they really call it that in Los Angeles? The "Phil?" Are they trying to make it sound more hip and trendy? Or are they just too lazy to pronounce the whole word? When she said it the first time, with "Phil" coming at the end of a sentence, I thought maybe the audio had blinked out, cutting off the end of the word. My brain said, "what's the LA fill? are they celebrating a landfill? wait, is this Florida?" Padma then said something about "conductor" Gustavo Dudamel, and my brain understood that "fill" must mean "philharmonic." Which I admit is a mouthful, but damn, people. We shouldn't go around talking like Paris Hilton or Kim Kardashian or whatever piece of uneducated ass is valued by the hoi palloi these days.
The chefs draw knives, each of which is marked with the name of one of the five tastes: sweet; bitter; salty; sour; umami. They then must pair up with another chef with a differing taste in order to create one dish that blends both. Nini and bff Karen get together with a umami/sour pairing. Gregory and Stephanie are working with salty and sour. Lee Anne and Malarkey (who seem like mortal enemies at this point, yet they are so much alike) must work with umami and bitter. Kevin and Melissa must make a dish that sings with salty and sweet. Finally Eric and Bryan are sweet and bitter. And hot and hotter.
Once the cheftestants are paired up, Padma gleefully surprises them with the announcement that this contest will end in a double elimination. Yowza. Those are never fun. Nini reminisces that she was booted last season as part of a double elimination. Maybe "reminisces" is not the right word. In any case, the chefs are then told they're heading to the Walt Disney Concert Hall for inspiration. There, they'll not listen to music, but will be lectured on the subject by Dudamel. After this, they'll shop, and the next day will cook at Timothy Hollingsworth's restaurant, Otium.
The chefs go wild at the grocery store. Lee Anne snatches all of the endive before Eric can get his hot hands on them. Unperturbed, Bryan says something about having plans B and C, so substituting ingredients is no biggie. Malarkey, however, isn't as calm as his namesake. Shopping with him is like shopping "with a monkey on crack," according to Chef Wong.
Nini and Karen put their hands all over some fish.
Despite quibbles here and there, the judges admit that the whole meal was pretty amazeballs and that it would be difficult to eliminate anyone, much less two chefs. They'd be going home for making fantastic food. But rather than pulling a Project Runway and deciding not to kick anyone off, they make a decision and go with it. Kevin and Melissa's cabbage dish is declared the winner. Gregory and Stephanie and Lee Anne and Malarkey are declared safe, leaving Bryan/Eric and Nini/Karen on the bottom.
In the end, the judges determine that Nini and Karen missed the mark with their raw tomato, and they are sent directly into Last Chance Kitchen. Karen is too tired for this shit. She has to battle Nini. The winner then goes after Lisa, who beat Jenn in last week's episode.
Next week: machetes! skinny Stephanie Izard! Shrek?
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