This week's Mentor Challenge is basically just a 20-minute commercial for Special K. And speaking of Special K, that commercial with the dippy-looking chick who tries to avoid the cupcake-pushing giant cupcake by closing the top on her convertible while leaving the driver-side window open annoys me. He's still there, dope. He can still see you, and you can probably still smell that sweet, sweet cupcake. (The beginning part of that commercial, where the woman closes the door in the face of the young donut-selling little girl doesn't bother me at all. I hate donuts with multicolor sprinkles.)
So...on with the challenge. The Wannabes must use Special K products in a well-balanced meal. Damaris and Rodney are assigned breakfast, Nikkidinki gets lunch, and Russel and Stacey need to concoct something for dinner. They get thirty minutes to cook, and then one minute to present their dishes to Alton, judge and jury of one.
As the Wannabes cook, Alton goes around to annoy them, a la Tom Colicchio. He dings Nikkidinki for not having authority because she never asks the question, "why." I show my authority by asking that question all the time. WHY are those particular contestants left? WHY are the challenges so stupid? WHY am I watching this? (I do it for you, my loving fans.) Nikkidinki is making a salad with eggplant and Special K croutons, which makes me ask once again, WHY? Thankfully, her oil is too hot and her croutons carbonize, saving poor Alton from having to experience that particular horror.
Damaris has made French toast crusted with cereal. Alton doesn't think it's possible to make French toast in half an hour, but I do it all the time and it's terrific. Contrary to popular belief, bread doesn't need eight hours to soak up a couple of eggs and milk. In any case, Damaris does a good job with both her presentation and dish.
Nikkidinki has just tossed a handful of strawberry Special K on her salad and makes up her presentation as she goes along. Apparently her husband loves cereal so much, he puts it on his salad. Um, no. But Alton pretends it tastes good so she seems safe.
Stacey's presentation is far more natural than her norm, possibly because she didn't have much time to write a script and memorize it. Alton makes a comment about how kids would like her chicken, so I took that to mean it was too sweet.
Finally, Russell makes a decent enough dish, but Alton tells him he needs to make more "eye-love" to the camera.
Despite her sweet chicken, Alton gives Stacey the win, and an advantage in the next challenge.
They all jump into the Partridge Family Bus and head to Phil Trani's restaurant in Long Beach. It's one of those old-school continental cuisine joints that should have gone out of business twenty years ago, but according to them, it only opened twenty years ago. The place is doing so poorly that Robert Irvine has been called in to "fix" it, and the Wannabes are going to help him overhaul the menu.
First is chicken cacciatore with pasta, which Stacey assigns to Rodney, because it's not pie and she can't imagine that he can make pie out of it. She would be very wrong.
Tournedos of beef topped with large button mushrooms and a side of garlic mashed potatoes is foisted onto Damaris, who doesn't like steak. The Playmates helpfully offer that the potatoes are half real, half from a box. Which begs that popular question, WHY?
Stacey herself takes the crab stuffed halibut that comes with a baked potato. The Playmates don't like it because it looks like an omelette and not seafood. Boy, they'd hate all of the various crab imperial-topped dishes one finds in Baltimore. But...who cares?
Salmon-loathing Nikkidinki gets salmon with onion pepper relish and rice pilaf. Now all of the Wannabes are resenting that they became so friendly and shared their innermost thoughts with the enemy. Stacey looks sweet, but she's evil incarnate!
Finally, Russell gets a boring and underseasoned stuffed chicken breast with yet more rice pilaf. The Playmates say it's not really rice pilaf, just regular rice with stuff in it. Now that, my friends, is a culinary sin.
The contestants get one hour to cook, and then a focus group of loyal customers and first timers will taste and critique, along with Hugh and the Playmates.
Russell, by transforming his boring stuffed chicken into spinach-wrapped chicken poached in vermouth, has created the dish of the evening. He shows some confidence in his presentation and is well-liked by all.
Back in the Temple of the Giant Glowing Vagina, Alton, Giada, and Robert Irvine compliment Russell on his dish and tell him he's safe from elimination.
I figure nobody will get eliminated this week, but it ends up being Nikkidinki, long the favorite. She's deemed not to have enough authority. Because, you know, Guy Fieri and Sandra Lee are some of the most authoritative characters on TV.
Posted on Minxeats.com.