They’ll be sending three chefs home tonight. For the Team Taste, the guest mudges are Frederic Moran and David McMillan. They walk in carrying a pig on a spit. The chefs are going to be working with offal, which Diane pronounces Oh-fall. That’s how Tom Colicchio pronounces it, and I much prefer it than making it rhyme with awful. Maybe that’s how it’s really pronounced? Just like it’s really Zoh-ol-o-gee, not Zoo-lah-gee. The winner cannot even be considered for the bottom four. So what happens if they make the dish one mudge hates? Or are they sitting the elimination round out?

Anyway, they have to choose from four off cuts. OK, that’s probably why most people say off-all. Nigella’s team – Lauren – gets to choose from hamhock, sweetbreads, and bull testicles. She’s a little grossed out at this last.

Brian: Yellowtail collar, sweetbreads, pig tongue, lamb belly. I’ve had cow tongue but not pig.

Tony: Tripe, cow tongue, sweetbreads, pig tail. Tony says he knows these chefs and their tastes. Ludo says the same thing. Diane saves me a Google search by saying sweetbreads are an animal’s thymus gland. Never mind, I still have to look that up. Shut up, Diane. (It’s a gland in the neck, but sweetbreads can also be the pancreas gland).

Ludo: Oxtail, pig head, beef cheeks, pig blood.

Offal is difficult to prepare, so they’ve got two hours. The pressure literally blows Gregg’s lid. Luckily, he’s not injured.

Nigella: Lauren, of course. Ham and lentil stew with a testicle fritter. The judges think it’s good, but tastes like pipe tobacco. That sounds disgusting to me, but they seem to think it’s delicious.

Brian: Khristianne. Pork tongue, sweetbreads and bone marrow. They say it’s well-seasoned but oily. Well, bone marrow can be fatty, IIRC.

Ludo: Gregg. North Carolina head cheese. He calls it a riff on pulled pork. The judges don’t know what they’re eating but want more.

Tony: Uno. Tripe with cow tongue and pig tail.  Again, the judges don’t know what they’re eating but wish they had a beer to go with it.

Gregg wins, for the third time in a row. Which means he’s automatically through to the semi-finals. Ugh. He’s such a douche. Time for the solo spoon starts almost as soon as the guest mudges enter Ludo’s kitchen. Gregg’s troubles aren’t over, as he manages to cut off part of his finger. Paul refuses to listen to the mudges just like he refuses to listen to Ludo. He needs to go home. Gregg interviews that there’s only two answers to give a chef: “Yes, chef.” and “Yes, chef.”

Taste test. Diane – Braised beef cheeks with turnip puree. She says she’s playing it safe. They like it but think the puree is mashed potatoes and they like that it’s not pureed. What?

Gregg. Pho with oxtail and calf tongue. At the beginning of the season, Ludo told them no Asian or anything like that, only cook classic French. But then he said to listen to the guest mudges, and they wanted Gregg to cook this. He hopes he’s ok. You’re already guaranteed a spot in the semi-finals, douche. Shut up. The mudges hate it.

Ninamarie.  Sweetbreads with pork skin and veal liver. The mudges don’t like it.

Adam. He’s also making sweetbreads, because Tony supposedly likes them. He’s trying Thai style sweetbreads with pork rinds and kabacha squash puree. The mudges don’t like it, either.

Khristianne. It took me another two episodes, but I’m fairly sure she pronounces it Christian. Or at least everyone else does, which isn’t always the same thing. Anyway, she makes crispy sweetbreads and pig ear with caper buerre blanc. The mudges like it.

Uno played it safe and went with her traditional Asian and seafood. She made pork dumpling soup with fried shrimp heads. It gets mixed reactions.

Jeff. Rabbit galantine with pork and chicken livers. (Some people list galantine as a synonym for aspic, but evidently it’s actually served in an aspic [meat jelly]). It’s sweet, but the judges love it.

Paul. Sweetbreads with oxtail jus and celery roote puree. He says he serves it at his restaurant all the time. Remind me never to eat there. The mudges think whoever made it doesn’t know how to prepare sweetbreads. Evidently you just blanch them.

Sarah also plays it safe with good old liver and onions, which brings back many happy childhood memories for the mudges.

Lauren makes Thai pork cheeks and fried sweetbreads with sticky rice. There’s too much rice on the spoon and the mudges don’t like it.

The hatches open to reveal Gregg, Khristianne, Jeff, Adam, Uno, Ninamarie, and Lauren. Before anyone reveals their picks, they ask Gregg to tell them about his dish. He starts to, but when Ludo sees which dish it is, he goes off on him for cooking Asian. Gregg just stands there saying “Yes, chef” over and over. Tony tells him he liked it and Gregg goes back to holding, where he promptly throws a shit fit, asking “Is that mentoring? Is that mentoring?” This same technique, Ludo cussing you out if you don’t listen to him, has been fine for his other teammates, mind you, it’s just how a French chef operates. And yes, earlier he made nasty comments about Paul, who, BTW, gave up some of his own cooking time to give him something to bite on while Gregg was getting his finger bandaged. But let Ludo turn that technique on Mr. Culinary Instructor and he starts whining. I wish he’d cut off more than just part of his finger.

Nigella’s best: Khristianne. Worst, Adam.

Ludo’s best: Jeff. Worst, Uno. Ludo’s more gracious about picking Jeff again than Malarkey’s been all season. I really want to watch his season of Top Chef.

Brian: Best, Khristianne. Worst, Lauren. Uh oh.

Tony: Best, Uno. Worst, Ninamarie. This is the first time a chef’s gotten both a red and a gold star, but it had to happen sometime as the number of chefs got smaller, didn’t it? I expect she’ll be safe and Ninamarie, Adam, and Lauren will go. Since Uno is also a worst chef, she has to stay while Jeff and Khristianne go back to holding. Khristianne tells Gregg what we all she really thinks of him.

The judges talk to the four chefs, then discuss the dishes. Ninamarie interviews that she’s sure she’ll be staying, since she has a total of three gold stars from previous challenges and Lauren’s been in the bottom before. I think it’s a little like Project Runway, where they don’t consider your previous work, but only the current challenge. And in the case of Uno, at least, they agree that shrimp heads don’t really count as offal, since they’re fairly common in Asian cuisine.

When they return, they have two unanimous decisions. Brian sends first Adam, then Ninamarie, home. Tony then sends Uno home for not embracing the challenge, and he’s now also down to one teammember.

I’ll try to post my coverage of Episode 7 tomorrow.

Nina Lisa

 

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