So, last week I was sick, and Bri went home. Put those two words together and you get homesick, which is probably what the contestants are right now. So it’s kinda cool that we know they’ll get to see their families tonight.

Unfortunately, Krissi’s family, her son, is the only one who can’t make it, but he made a video for her, and Gordon puts his arm around her as they watch it. She’s in tears and so is pretty much everyone else.  The families go up to the gallery, and the contestants have 60 minutes to run into the pantry and grab up to 15 items to cook a dish that is inspired by their families.

Luca’s making risotto, which is his wife’s favorite dish. I’m a bit concerned, as are the judges, given his track record. Jessie’s happiness over seeing her parents is a bit dampened when they turn the mezzanine into a peanut gallery and start critiquing her. Natasha forgot to grab chicken stock, but she’s got a lot of veggies and is making her own vegetable stock, which will probably add more flavor to her curry (and less salt) than the prepared stuff.

Natasha is the first called up. She presents a green curry with coconut, corn, and rice. The corn is roasted. Joe says it’s judiciously spiced and while the corn is not traditional, it works. Graham says it’s beautifully balanced and thinks she might win. Gordon says it’s delicious.

Graham calls forward Jessie. It’s seared duck breast with Brussels sprouts and blackberry reduction. That sounds good. She roasted them with a bit of pancetta and pecans. I’ll have to try that. I’ve done Brussels sprouts with butter, brown sugar and toasted pecans, but I haven’t gone savory with them that way.

And amazingly enough, Luca is called up. Traditional Italian dishes have been his downfall, but the judges were talking about his main component all night. He made pan seared halibut with white asparagus risotto. That sounds really yummy. White asparagus has a slightly more delicate flavor than green, so I can see it pairing well with white fish. (Green asparagus pairs well with salmon).

Gordon tells him he’s starting to think like a chef, and tells him well done. Joe, the fellow Italian, is up next. He says Luca delivered what they asked for. I have no idea who’s won, but as Gordon talks about amazing restraint, which I think he also said to Luca, I hold out hope. Of course, we have to have a commercial break before he says the name.

And my surmise is correct. The families have to say good-bye before Luca gets to see the ingredients. As the judges congratulate him and take him into the back, Jordon, Jessie and Natasha group up while Natasha whines about how he’s going to target her. She’s not wrong. Jordan, of course, is pissed Luca won instead of anyone else.

The judges tell Luca they’ve already picked what everyone else will be cooking, but he still has plenty of advantages. This will be the tag-team sushi challenge. Luca doesn’t have to compete, and will pick the teams. There’ll be three teams of two. This should be interesting.

I see some tempura, as well. Krissi’s not happy. And when Gordon tells them the good news is they won’t be working alone, none of them look happy. James will be working with Jordan. I’m surprised because I think they’ll do well together. Neither are sure what he’s thinking.

Luca confirms he’s got a target on Natasha, and he puts Krissi with her. But Natasha’s planning on using her for prep work, and Krissi’s just fine with that. This leaves Jessie with Eddie. And now Gordon reveals the tag-team twist. James, Eddie, and Krissi are all starting. They need to rinse the rice and get it started, then start on the tempura batter.

Jessie appears to also be using Eddie as a prep cook. The judges seem to think that the pairings are good; James and Jordan both have big egos (although James is quieter about it, which is why I like him and not Jordan), and the judges see that clashing. Eddie, it appears, doesn’t know what he’s doing, and they’re not sure Jessie’s strong enough to pull him through. The teams switch, and they’ve got sea urchins to deal with. Gordon has to come over and tell Jordan not to use his fingers, and not to rinse the umi. Commercials.

Natasha and Krissi review their plan before the next switch. Jessie claims she’s confident in Krissi’s ability to slice the tuna; the judges aren’t so sure. They’re switching every five minutes. Krissi is being amazingly subservient, so it’s working. Jordan and James appear to be falling apart, and Jessie and Eddie are also lagging. Another switch and it’s time to do the tempura. One switch left. Joe says he sees platters not even half done.

Natasha’s working super-fast, Jordan appears to be lost, and so does Jessie. 30 seconds left, and people, including Graham, are jumping up and down with the excitement. Even I’m typing faster. Time runs out. I’m not sure, from the grunt Jordan lets out, if they got the last piece on the plate or not, but I know we’ll rehash it after the break.

James tells him, “We did it.” so I guess so. Krissi and Natasha are up first.  Gordon tells them he’s impressed, because at 2:50, they had nothing on the plate. Graham asked if they’re taking 50-50 credit, and Natasha says yes. Joe asks Luca if he thinks his plan worked. Luca admits it didn’t. Natasha says he’s her next target.

Jordan and James are next. Evidently, they forgot salt a couple times, and their shrimp rolls look like crap as Joe shows it to them. They laugh, although I think it’s nervously (because I’ve done that), and Gordon gets upset at them for doing so. Then he gets to tear the plate apart himself. I can only hope that Jordan will be the one to go home if they’re the worst.

Eddie and Jessie bring up their tray, and it looks horrible. Graham confirms that Jessie has sushi experience, but the fish isn’t butchered well and that’s on Jessie. The rice, which Eddie did, is overpowered by vinegar. Eddie insists it was 50-50, and so does Jessie. Joe confirms their sentiments, but disagrees. He asks Eddie if he’d eat the umi roll, and as Eddie looks very uncomfortable, we head to commercial. I wouldn’t eat it, but I don’t eat a lot of sushi. I don’t particularly care for it. The closest I want to come to raw fish is ceviche. I don’t know if they’ll send Eddie home for incompetence, or Jessie for not being strong enough to pull him through. The latter choice doesn’t seem all that fair, but I’m not sure they won’t. As I suspected, Eddie refuses to eat it.

I’m also not surprised when Natasha and Krissi win. Gordon compliments Krissi on being humble and dedicated. James and Jordan are also safe, due to the technical ability on fileting the fish. And Eddie is gone. I don’t like it, but it’s fair.  Gordon tells him to open the gastro pub because he’s an amazing cook.

Next week:  Lynn, Bri, and Bemi, whose name I’ve forgotten how to spell, return for a second chance. I’d be happy to see any of them back. Jordan, of course, is pissed, and I’m sure Krissi and Natasha feel the same way, especially given how much they hate Bri. See you then. NT

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