Episode 4 is all about wining and dining. For the Team Test, sommelier Andre Mack and Chef David Kirch are the judges. The wine is Alamos malbec. It’s a “full-bodied” red. They get to use one of five secret ingredients which each mentor picked for their team.

Nigella: Calf’s liver, harissa (a hot red pepper paste or sauce from N. Africa), couscous, ground lamb and lamb sausage.

Brian: Figs, almonds, bone marrow, filet mignon, seas salt.

Tony: Beef steak, chorizo, beef tongue, lamb kidneys, lamb chops.

Ludo: White miso, bonita flakes, charcoal, smoked eel, cassis (black currant liqueur).

I’m not a wine drinker, so I guess that the wine has notes of chili, fig, almond, charcoal, and black currant. Don’t know about the salt.

Since I’m almost three weeks behind on this show, I’ve resolved to only mention the finalist spoons and who gets immunity (and I can fast-foward past Diane).

Nigella – Erika.

Brian – Adam.

Ludo – Gregg, whom Ludo supposedly only picked to shut him up, but who winds up winning immunity.

Tony – Uno.

For the Elimination Test, they can pick one of four different wine styles: German riesling (white), California chardonnay (white), French cotes du rhone (red, and if someone knows the keyboard shortcuts to get the proper accents on these, please let me know), and Italian barolo (red).

Adam: Paired a seafood with saffron aioli and chardonnay. I have to note here, that it bugs me when people make different flavored aiolis and pestos from their original ingredients. I always thought I had more of a basis for this prejudice with aioli, since it’s a garlic mayonnaise, and I figured it came from the French word for garlic, which is ail. But considering the difference in spelling, perhaps not so much. Moving on.

Huda: She’s making dessert for a dessert wine, and she’s correct that she’s the only one using the German riesling, which I happen to know is a sweet wine. Still not sweet enough for my palate, but I have a lousy palate for wine. Anyhoo, despite the fact that not all the judges like desserts, she’s making a lemon zabaione with fresh berries (she uses blueberries and raspberries to cut the sweet). The mentors all think it’s too sweet.

Shawn: Vanilla bean poached Chilean sea bass with goat cheese and pine nut ravioli with a sweet pea puree and artichoke salad (which Chef David advises against), and chardonnay. I’ve heard before that you don’t put fish and cheese in the same dish; in fact, Ludo says if this came from someone on his team, he’s going to send them home. Plus, Shawn used way too much vanilla.

Ninamarie: Pork shoulder braised in cream, sage, and lemon zest with a smoked tomato jam and barolo.

Khristianne: Barolo braised duck and barolo.

Sarah: Poached salmon with a curried buerre blanc and clam salad and chardonnay.

Gregg: Fresh pasta (he told Chef David it was tagolini, but the chyron says deconstructed pasta, which means it fell apart) with a bolognese sauce and barolo. The mentors dismiss it as obvious.

Erika: Orange miso glazed sea bass with udo and chardonnay.

Paul: Rack of lamb seared and roasted, rolled in almonds and bacon, and cotes du rhone. Chef David keeps on him about not over-cooking the lamb. Unfortunately, it turns out raw.

Diane: Blood sausages on potato gratin with fennel leaves, leeks, and a bit of duck fat, which she braized in a cherry-red wine reduction. She puts a quail egg on top and serves it with the cotes du rhone.

Mia: Shrimp and cauliflower chardonnay.

Uno: Chicken and egg and chardonnay.

Jeff: Seared sole with sweet pea puree and chardonnay.

Lauren: Steak and polenta with the cotes du rhone.

The hatches reveal Shawn, Erika, Khristianne, Nina Marie, Sarah, and Huda.

Tony’s best: Ninamarie, worst: Huda.

Ludo’s best: Khristianne, worst, Sarah.

Brian’s best: Khristianne, worst: Erika.

Nigella’s best: Ninamarie, worst: Shawn.

Brian reminds Ludo of what he said about sending Shawn home, and Ludo reminds Shawn he also said if he saw him in the bottom again, he was going to send him home, so bye-bye, Shawn. He was planning on quitting, anyway.

Nigella sadly sends Erika home.


The fifth episode is The Art of the Sandwich. In a talking head, Khristianne (BTW, it’s not pronounced Kristy-Anne. I don’t recall at the time of this typing whether it’s pronounced Christian (I think) or Kristen) asks if you can’t make a sandwich, what kind of chef are you? Well, Khristianne, I’m not a chef and have no desire to be one, I’m a gourmand (as opposed to gourmet) and maybe a foodie, and I only know how to make two sandwiches, but a muffalatta’s one of them. (I’m not counting PB&J, grilled cheese, or grilled ham and cheese, aka croques monsiuer).

Chefs Mario Carbon and Rich Torris are the guest judges/mentors. The chefs get to use a small plate to serve their sandwiches, and they can make one of three: Club, PB&J, or one of the ubiquitous salads: tuna, chicken, or egg. No-one makes a PB&J.

The Team Test finalists:

Tony: Diane – pulled pork club.

Nigella: Huda – tangy chicken salad.

Ludo: Gregg – seared tuna. He wins immunity again.

Brian: Khristianne – curried chicken salad, which the judges decide is a club. There’s a curried chicken salad I used to get from a deli near my house that I plan on attempting to recreate some day.

Elimination Sandwich.

Gregg: He serves an open face “naanwich”, as he calls it. Curried lamb on naan.

Sarah: Fired oyster taco. The mentors aren’t sure it’s a sandwich, but she points out that it’s a protein between two layers of carb. I wonder if they’d feel the same about a pita pocket sandwich? The mudges correctly note that sandwiches vary from culture to culture.

Paul: Steak and fried green tomato sandwich. He’s upset he forgot to add bacon.

Uno: Steamed bun with short ribs, as a play on bao. She wanted to make her own buns, but there wasn’t a lot of time, and she wound up using pizza dough.

Huda: She’s planning on jerk turkey if time allows, with a pesto chicken as back-up. Unfortunately, she winds up leaving Plan B for too long, and winds up serving raw chicken.

Khristianne: Pork belly, chicken liver mousse, and shallots with two types of chicharones (fried pork rinds).

Adam: He tries for a Cubano, which he claims he’s known for, and the chyron says it’s “triple pork”, but the judges think it’s a chicken club and Nigella thinks she tastes tomato.

Diane: Pork Banh Mi on a chiabatta roll. I think this is a great idea, since it’s usually served on a baguette, but it turns out it’s too much bread. I noticed there were sesame seeds on top, and I think I would’ve used plain ones. But I couldn’t make a banh mi, either.

Jeff: Also wants to make his own bread, but knows there’s no time. He winds up making a hot beef sandwich with melted gruyere, bacon, and onions.

Mia: She’s making her own flat bread. It’s supposed to be naan, but she burns the bottom when she’s trying to get the grill marks on it. The filling is lamb and eggplant with roasted red pepper and walnut puree and and herb aioli.

Ninamarie: Beef carpaccio and fried green tomato.

Lauren: She makes a play on lulu kababs. The chyron says it’s Mediterranean lamb on naan. The mudges praise her scorch marks, which pisses off Mia, who evidently doesn’t understand the difference between grilling something properly and burning the crap out of it. It also pisses off Gregg, because it’s essentially the same as his and the mudges like it better. In fact, Tony picks her as his best and Ludo picks him as his worst, so only due to his immunity does he stay.

Tony’s worst is Huda. Nigella’s best is Ninamarie; her worst is Diane. Brian’s best is Jeff and worst is Mia. Ludo’s best is also Jeff. Due to Gregg’s immunity, Tony is guaranteed to lose a team member. I’m praying that he loses both, since Mia can’t shut up about the mudges praising Lauren’s naan and hating hers, since she made it and they didn’t even notice that. They claim it gives her bonus points, but in the end Tony would rather keep Diane, and Nigella sends Huda home, mainly for the raw chicken, which is pretty much a universal “final nail”, although they say she also used too much pesto. That’s OK, I think Lauren can win this whole damn thing if she just stays away from desserts. In fact, I think they should all stay away from desserts.

I hope to get tomorrows episode up on Friday.

Nina Lisa