Ah, yes, tonight’s the horrible mystery box. Evidently it’s full of foreign food. And Joe’s mother joins the judges. Whee! The cooks file in. They don’t know yet who will be returning from Vegas. Of course, Krissi is upset because her BFF is gone. Wah. Hope it throws her off her game.

Hmm. I always wonder what the huge advantage is. It’s about time for the winner to get to choose one ingredient for themselves and another for everyone else. They lift the boxes and are completely confused at all the ethnic food labels. Graham tells them there’s stuff from Russia, Spain, China, and all around the globe. Then he tells them they’ll have to figure out what everything is on their own. Oh, boy. This should be interesting.

The clock starts ticking and the cooks start tasting and sniffing. Even Jordan gags over something and decides not to use it. The judges look over the collection. There’s venison; mohama, which Joe says is Spanish salt-cured tuna; Okinawa sweet potato, which Graham says is like a yam and very starchy; calf liver; Chinese ground moss, which Gordon tries on as a beard, Joe as a toupee and Graham as a mustache. As they go through the ingredients, we see the cooks reacting to each one. Bri tosses the moss, which most people are quite sure is hair, in a pot and crosses herself. The judges discuss what they’d make. I think this would’ve been an interesting one for Gordon or one of the others to compete with the cheftestant’s on. I’d think I could recognize the steak and the liver, and maybe try a steak and liver combo – I was thinking steak and kidney, but I’m not sure liver would apply itself to that; kidneys are chewier. And I’d probably do something with the sweet potato. Gordon starts the countdown, and I see what looks like green sauce over some meat. I really need to do a chimichurri someday.

The first dish brought forward is Eddie’s. He made an elk flank with Japanese sweet potato puree. Gordon has to tell him what’s on the plate; all he knows is that the meat is gamy. There’re some greens on top of the steak. Gordon loves it. Graham tells him he pulled it off. Joe compliments him for preparing a dish that looks simple but is actually complex.

Dish number two belongs to Jordan. Argh. Graham makes him say what it is. It’s a stack salad with Chinese moss and baby eels, according to the chryon, so that’s what I’m going by. Evidently he thought the moss was vermicelli. Graham likes it. So does Gordon.

The last dish is Bime’s. Lynn visibly winces, prompting Gordon to tell him that while his presentation was beautiful, he needs to season things more. Bime’s dish is elk flank with baby eels and sweet potato. His potato looks more purple than Eddie’s was. I wonder if he recognized the eels. Joe tells him he hit all the notes and compares it to a symphony. Gordon tells him he nailed it.

So I’ve got two dogs in this race against one I despise. Gordon says the advantage is unlike any they’ve given out in the history of the competition. I wonder if the winner gets Mrs. Bastianich as a sous chef/consultant? Eddie wins!!!! They head into the pantry. Joe starts off by saying the challenge is very near and dear to his heart: pasta with a filling, and my suspicions about Mrs. B’s role rise higher.  I don’t catch the name of the pasta he says, because he puts the full Italian spin on it, but it looks like gnocchi, and that’s possibly what he said. Graham shows off a dish of mezzelune. That’s a very thin pasta. Gordon introduces what he says is calamari pasta, but the cooked pasta doesn’t look like it resembles the rings of squid I associate with that word. Eddie’s first advantage is that he doesn’t have to cook. So he picks the most difficult pasta to work with. This time, Graham pronounces it, and it turns out it’s agnolotti. Which actually looks more like the dish he said was mezzelune. Since I just looked them all up on thenibble.com, I’m not surprised. The judges say they’re going to do a demo, and this is where Joe’s mother comes in. Krissi is already going nuts; she’s a huge fan, evidently. And James is quite happy, too.

Turns out Lynn’s been wanting to learn how to make agnolotti, so he’s excited. And then, Gordon tells Eddie he gets to pick two of his competitors to sit out the demonstration. Krissi says she’ll kill him where he stands, and from the look he shoots her, it’s a good thing looks are harmless. I expect him to pick her just to be an ass, I know I would. But I admit I can have a bit of a temper, and what he needs is a cool head. He needs to pick two people he thinks would not only lose by not watching it, but who are also strong in the kitchen. Take Jordan, for example. I don’t think Jordan would lose by watching it, and he’s strong in the kitchen, so I wouldn’t pick him. I’d pick someone like Bri or Bethy. Eddie agrees with me. He picks James (yeah, good choice, even tho I like James) and Lynn. Yes, I would’ve picked him, too, but that’s because I saw the interview.

They’ll be making the pasta from scratch. My counter’s usually pretty damn clean, but I don’t think I’d ever feel comfortable making pasta on it. As the demo continues, James and Lynn promise each other they’re gunning for Eddie. I’m not paying a lot of attention, but I do catch that you shouldn’t use a food processor to mix this, and that you should use leftover meats. Demo over, James and Lynn return, and the 60 minute countdown begins. I expect Luca to do well. Howard starts talking about putting jalapenos in it. I don’t particularly care to try to fusion cultures, myself. Johnny’s making a maple alfredo, which he claims is popular in New England.

Gordon stops Lynn from using a food processor, but possibly not in time. Eddie’s hopeful he made the right decision there. When Gordon talks to James, I see stuff in his food processor, too. He’s making a tomato vodka sauce, which can be quite yummy. Joe tells the cooks to put their pasta in the water. The judges think Eddie may have dealt Lynn out of the competition. Beth can’t figure out why her water’s not boiling. The judges tell her to cover her pot and put the pasta in. With 90 seconds left, she throws it in a frying pan. Gordon starts the countdown. Mrs. B picks James to go first. She tells him it’s good. Graham thinks so, too. Lynn’s next. Whoever put the chryon up doesn’t know how to spell leek. Lynn didn’t fold the pasta correctly. Both Gordon and Joe are telling Lynn Eddie got a bull’s-eye on him..

Johnny’s smoked maple alfredo is next. Lydia warns him she doesn’t think it’s going to work before she tastes it. She thinks it’s more like a dessert and he should put cinnamon in it, but it doesn’t work for a pasta. Jessie’s dish passes inspection. Krissi interviews that she’s so sick of “Southern belle” Jessie. Krissi, I’m sick of your New Jersey ass. Shut up. Unfortunately, Lynn likes her dish, too. Beth comes up, and as much as I’d hate to see her go home, I’d rather she went than Lynn. But I don’t think the pasta was that bad. Howard put bell peppers in his, and Lydia doesn’t like it. She’s nice, but Joe chews him out. Howard gives him a bit of attitude, and Joe tears him a new one. I have to agree with Joe about his assessment of Howard as a narcissist in full denial. Howard’s interview about that doesn’t help his case, either.

Gordon calls Krissi out as being one of the two top dishes, saying they expected it from her. But there was one even better, and that was Jessie’s. Hee. And they’re bringing four people down: Johnny, Lynn, Howard, and Beth. Johnny and Beth step forward. Gordon tells them they’re lucky there were two worse dishes and sends them back to their station. From Gordon’s speech, I think Lynn’s going home. But he claims the person who’s going home knows who he is and tells him to do the honorable thing. And to my surprise, Howard takes his apron off, saying Lynn’s the better cook.

The chefs arrive at Paramount Studios, and Bri is the first to recognize the set of Glee. She’s ecstatic. They’ll be serving over 100 members of the cast and crew. Joe tells Jessie and Krissi they won’t be picking their teams; they’ve brought someone in to pick them. And in walks Jane Lynch!!! This must’ve been shot before she left for her Broadway gig. She calls Jessie a Beauty and Krissi a Beast, and divides the teams as she thinks they might be beauty or beast. Once they’re divided, she asks if they’re happy. Neither one really is, and Jane says she’s not happy, either. She swaps Beth for Natasha, and Johnny for Lynn. Jessie is now happy, since that puts Lynn on her team.

Red Team: Jessie, Bri, ??, Beth, Lynn, Luca, Eddie. Blue Team: Krissi, James, Bethy, Bime, Jordan, Johnny. They head to the back lot to find out what they’re cooking. Three of the regular lunch dishes: Fried chicken with fries and slaw, grilled salmon with asparagus and scalloped potatoes, and vegan lasagna with salad. Once the cast or crew member decides, they get one dish from each team and vote on their favorite. The teams have 90 minutes. Jessie and Krissi both seem to be strong leaders, and quickly get their teams to work.

Jessie’s slicing potatoes, and forgets to put the guard back on the mandolin. She’s done some serious damage to her finger. The medic is putting one of those powders on it to stop it bleeding, but Gordon tells him it’s still coming through. Jessie almost passes out; she cut into the nerve and can’t handle blood to begin with, and then Gordon shows her and the medic her fingernail.  She loses almost an hour, she went out only 15 minutes in and comes back with only 20 left. The red team’s salmon is sticking to the grill, and as the judges converse, it looks like the blue team is so far ahead that the red team has to have incredible flavors to win.

Blue’s chicken is a spicy Latin fried chicken with jalapeno ranch sauce; Red’s is a traditional Southern buttermilk fried chicken. Blue has a balsamic marinated grilled salmon, Red has a soy ginger glaze on theirs (which is what was causing it to stick to the grill). Blue’s vegan lasagna has a spicy tomato sauce; the Red team’s has a pesto sauce. Both look like they’re topped with cheese, which is a no-no for a true vegan dish. Earlier, I caught a sound bite from Krissi hoping they didn’t run out of chicken, and my experience with reality TV made me take a mental note. Sure enough, they’re running out, but the narrator said neither team was prepared, and indeed, Jenna Ushkowitz will have to vote for Blue by default. And then Joe discovers at least one blue plate with chicken that’s still raw in the middle. I don’t know who’s going to win this one, but I’m so far behind on this recap vs. the show, I’m going to stop until the reveal. As Gordon starts to make the announcement, Jane and Matthew Morrison lead a marching band out to help. Jane steals the megaphone from Gordon to announce the score was 90-37, Red. Excellent!

Gordon breaks it down for them. It turns out Jordan’s salmon lost it for Blue. Krissi is given the decision to save at least one, but at least two must compete. She lets Johnny and Natasha go up to the balcony and gives a cock and bull story about saving herself for her kid. Jordan calls her out for giving him crap when he did the same thing, and, in a talking head, calls her a hypocritical bitch. For once, I agree with him.

The remaining cooks are not happy to discover the pressure test is a lemon meringue pie, and even less so when it’s revealed they can use any citrus except lemon. Again, I’m not going to discuss stuff, except to note that Bime used cream of tartar instead of cornstarch in his filling, and only discovers it when he starts on the meringue. As Gordon starts the countdown, the chefs start torching their meringues. Jordan’s looks good. James knows his is poor. It’s blood orange and lime. Gordon tells him is crust is raw, the curd is “way” insufficient, but tastes quite nice. And his meringue isn’t cooked all the way. Bethy made a lime meringue. It looks good, but her curd breaks when Graham serves it out. He says he likes the flavor, but her foundation is like a deck of cards. Gordon says her crust is raw. Jordan did a lime and Key lime meringue pie. Joe says his crust is thin and raw, but it held together. His curd looks nice and even, and tastes good. Bime’s looks a disaster. He also did lime. Krissi’s beside herself with glee. Gordon lifts a piece out, and his curd isn’t even cooked. I’m quite sure he’s gone. That is the worst pie out there. I’m not surprised that Jordan and James are safe, and Bime’s mistake sends him home.

Next week, the mystery box contains a pig’s head, and Christine returns to challenge the chefs to cook blind. Frankenediting would have us believe Krissi and Joe get into it. See you then!

NT

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