Posted by: Lauren on Feb 13, 2011
Make them an offer they can’t refuse
No one is particularly torn up about Marcel’s departure, and Mike is particularly glad to see him gone. I still have mixed feelings about his exit…who’s hair will I make fun of this week? We are down to 9 contestants, which still seems like a lot.
Quickfire: Make a plate that will be judged on presentation and aethetics only
Isaac Mizrahi is the guest judge for this week’s quickfire challenge, which is inspired by Fashion Week in New York. The chefs will have to create a dish that looks the most appealing. Padma and Isaac will not be tasting the dishes, but judging them on how they look. It seems like an interesting challenge. Immunity is up for grabs.
Antonia: Antonia’s dish is yuca potato, lentils, nuts and seeds (which she has made into a tree and the ground). It does look like a tree, but it doesn’t look like food you would eat at all.
Tre: Tre’s dish is smoked salmon, beets, curry, noodles and food coloring. It is a very artistic plate, but I wouldn’t want to eat it because there is no food there.
Dale T.: Beet puree, cataloupe, maple syrup meringue, avocado and mango. He tried to make his look like graffiti, but it doesn’t look too appetizing. Isaac agrees with me.
Tiffany: Almond gazpacho, grapes, dirt made of rye bread. This plate is very pretty and her little pile of dirt is quite cute.
Richard: Richard makes black chocolate ice cream, menthol crystals, herbal salad, mint ice cream dots. His food looks interesting, but not terrible appetizing. Isaac wants to eat it.
Fabio: Fabio’s dish is tuna with a sidewalk of caramel, mushroom umbrellas and lemon juice. It looks like a pile of goo and he wrote something weird on the plate.
Angelo: Oh Angelo. His dish is pineapple skin, curry salted egg and dill. Forget that those ingredients do not sound good at all (pineapple skin is inedible, no?). Angelo has placed them all in a vacuum-sealed bag and just put the bag on a plate. He also wrote the word crocodile on his table. This is stupid. Fabio said it best “Angelo’s dish looks like a bag of vomit”.
Mike: Carrot puree, roasted eggplant and egg yolk. Mike’s dish is artfully presented and actually looks like food.
Hootie (Carla): During the quickfire we learn that Carla was once a runway model in Paris…this woman is fascinating. Her dish is Borscht and sandwich with a lattice of cucumber. The colors are very bright and it is a cute plate.
Bottom 3: Dale, Tre, and Angelo are in the bottom.
Top 3: Fabio, Carla and Richard are the top 3. The winner is Richard and he gets immunity.
Elimination Challenge: Create a dish inspired by the Rao’s family
The chefs pull knives that have Italian colors on them and three very Italian sounding names written on them. The three names walk in the room and they are Frank Pellegrino (Frankie No), Frank Pellegrino Jr. (Junior) and Dino Gatto (Dino the Chef). They are the owners and chef at Rao’s, a staple Italian restaurant in New York. The chefs’ challenge is to cook a feast inspired by the three men. They will be cooking three courses, antipasti, primi (pasta course), and secondi (meat course). The teams will be cooking one of the three courses depending on their knife draw. Antonia, Fabio, and Mike all have an apparent advantage because of their Italian heritage.
In the restaurant, the judges meet up with the owners and guest judge (or just guest eater, we don’t know yet) Lorraine Bracco talks about her first time at Rao’s when she came with Joe Pesci and Ray Liotta while they were doing research for Goodfellas. Amazing.
Team Dino (Antipasti course): Antonia, Carla and Tiffany
It looks like the girls are together again, and Carla and Tiffany had better beware because of Antonia’s black widow status. The ladies are up first in the small kitchen, and the only drama is that Tiffany’s dish catches fire.
Antonia: Mussles in white wine, with fennel garlic and parsley ciabatta. The mussels are praised highly for their flavor.
Carla: Minestrone soup with basil oil, tomatoes, and focaccia. Her soup is generally praised, but someone says it is ordinary and could be found in Wisconsin.
Tiffany: Polenta terrine with Italian sausage, roasted peppers and kale. The polenta was gobbled up, and all enjoyed it.
Team Junior (Primi course): Dale, Mike and Tre
Dale: Fresh pasta, pancetta, Brussels sprouts, chanterelle mushrooms, pecorino romano. The judges do not like this dish at all. Lorraine Bracco is unwilling to put out over this dish, which seems like a pretty major flaw.
Mike: Spicy calamari, fresh rigatoni, and tomato sauce. During the cooking portion, Mike tells us that his pasta isn’t fully cooked, and that seems bad. The judges are no fools and notice that the dish isn’t cooked. It is called out as the least pleasing of the three, which is bad news.
Tre: Grilled vegetable risotto, marinated tomatoes and fresh basil. The risotto is not well-liked, mostly because it didn’t celebrate the rice, but tried to put up the vegetables as the star.
Team Frankie No (Secondi course): Richard, Angelo, Fabio
Richard: Fresh pancetta cutlet, broccolini, pickled cherry tomatoes. Richard’s dish was only praised as well.
Angelo: Sauteed pork chop, cherry peppers, green olives, tomatoes and pancetta. The pork is well-liked, but there is too much going on in the plate.
Fabio: Pollo alla cacciatora, polenta al pecorino. Everyone liked Fabio’s dish as well. The polenta in particular was well-liked.
Top Four: Antonia, Carla, Fabio and Tiffany. Tiffany gets very emotional and she almost cries because she is so glad to be doing well. Her polenta dish is praised by Bracco. Antonia’s mussels are praised by Tom for their simplicity. Carla’s minestrone was loved by Bracco. Fabio’s chicken and polenta was loved by all of the judges.
And the winner is…Antonia! Good for her, this is her first win (and her black widow curse is broken, for now!).
Bottom Three: No surprise here, the pasta chefs are the three bottom chefs today. Mike, Dale and Tre. They have been setting up as if Mike is leaving, but we will see. Mike knows his pasta was way undercooked and apologizes for it. Dale didn’t really know how to incorporate his sauce into the dish. Tre’s risotto is criticized for being too stiff and not creamy enough. The judges also say he buried it in garnish.
Going home today is…Tre! Wow, that was a bit of a surprise. They seemed to just have a technical quibble with his dish, whereas Mike’s pasta was completely inedible.
- Noise of the Week: I think the noise of the week award will go to Dale this week. Maple syrup meringue just sounds gross. I definitely have a bias against maple dishes, which is weird because I don’t dislike the flavor. I just think it belongs in very specific places.
- All of this Italian food looked so good. I was really glad that, by a coincidence, I bought things to make a rigatoni dish for myself today. I am guessing that I won’t undercook it like some people.
- Lorraine Bracco is so awesome. Dr. Melfi FTW!
- People are really hating on Antonia for winning with a simple dish of steamed mussels. Jealous, much?
- That is it for this episode! Sorry for the delay in posting, I was away from this cold winter for a week. It was amazing.