Category: The Taste


I guess they shortened the season by one episode, because another three go home tonight, leaving four for the finale. The mudges want sex on a spoon. Should be right up Ludo’s alley, n’est ce pas? And now that I just saw the “coming up on”, I know his team wins again. I guess Gregg wins four in a row. Because Paul is talking to the guest mudge, Ingrid Hoffman. At least Diane will know it was her spoon that lost. The winner doesn’t get immunity, because this is for the finale. They do get a “mountain” of the top-of-the-line cookware they’ve been using on the show, which evidently didn’t also cough up enough $$ to be actually named.

Nigella’s five sexy ingredients are: Figs, pancetta, sea salt, sambuca (an elderberry-licorice liqueur), beef. I guess a nice bloody steak could be sexy. For me, at least. If you like yours well-done, you might not see it that way.

Tony: Caviar, prosciutto, buckwheat flour (what?), truffles (not the chocolate kind), prawns.

Ludo: Lobster, Dover sole, champagne, caviar, truffles (again not the chocolate kind).

Brian: Oysters, lobster, caviar, abalone, grapes. The last ingredient is listed on the screen as simply grapes, but I see that they’re actually a red grape. I don’t think they’re Concord, but they’re definitely not white (green). Those probably aren’t considered sexy at all, but I say it depends on who’s doing the teeth-peeling.

Brian picks Jeff, and Ludo picks Sarah. Yay! Now I’m glad I know they win, because he picked the home cook over three-time champ and (douche) culinary instructor Gregg. Ingrid says she’s ready to be seduced, but does not break into song. I have the earworm now anyway.

Jeff: Oyster with passionfruit and caviar. She likes it.

Diane: Grilled prawn with a butter bisque and shaved truffle. Ingrid thinks the “lobster” is being covered by the truffle.

Sarah: Panna cotta with caviar and caramel sauce. I’m not usually one for salted caramel, and I don’t care for caviar, but that does sound good. Ingrid dips a finger into the caramel and tastes it. She makes a face. She says, “I’m not a fan of caramel, sorry.” before tipping the whole bite into her mouth. Her surprised expression pleases me. Don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it!

Lauren – Italian kisses with blackberry and chocolate sauce. This is a dish I need to add to my repertoire. Ingrid can’t tell what the protein is. Maybe because there isn’t one?

As we know, Ingrid picks up the plate with Ludo’s name on the bottom. Before they start cooking they have to run to the farmer’s market in product-placed cars. They’re a little more awkward at showing off the features than the group of chefs on Top Chef, I think it was. Or maybe The Amazing Race. Same car manufacturer, at any rate. I’m not sure why they’re going to the farmer’s market because Ludo’s talking and all I catch is the word organic. I guess it’s for produce, because I don’t think anyone buys anything other than fruits and veggies. More time is spent on the cars, one of which is evidently among the prizes the winner gets.

Back at the kitchen, they have the usual hour. They also get to pair their spoon with a drink of their choice. The mudges are always drinking freely in both the kitchen and their dressing room, so I don’t think there’s much point in trying to get them drunker than they already are.

Anthony says spicy isn’t sexy, so they cut to virginal Lauren planning on preparing a spicy Mexican octopus dish. He was really complaining about garlic. Tony, if both people eat it, the breath doesn’t matter. Then Nigella says most people think dessert is sexy (I do! At least, chocolate is.) and Tony vehemently says it isn’t, so we cut to the last member of his team chopping up chocolate with cartons of berries on her station.

OK, now I know he’s getting fed his lines. Ludo says French food is sexy (what about the garlic?) and Tony says he’d make angel hair pasta in a uni butter with caviar on top. “That’s hot!” he says. Cut to Gregg telling Ingrid he’s making fresh pasta in a uni butter and caviar. It does sound good.

Brian and Ludo are touting seafood. Brian was touting spice earlier, so I hope he at least likes Lauren’s dish. I bet they’re going to cut to the other seafood chef (that was all Uno tended to do), Khristianne. She’s making seafood because that’s what her girlfriend always asks for. No, they cut to Sarah. She’s telling Ingrid she’s doing mussels. She’s going to serve it with sangria instead of white wine, which is what most people serve seafood with. Sounds reasonable to me; I think mussels could handle that. Gumboots certainly could. (They’re a kind of limpet.)

Jeff’s doing sashimi. Raw fish is not sexy, sorry. He’s making a cocktail to go with it. I don’t drink, so I wouldn’t serve alcohol; anything I made would have to go with coffee. Ah, there it is: A sexy chocolate dessert that goes with coffee: Tiramisu. And iced lattes. Or maybe an iced cappuccino.

Here we are with Khristianne now. Uni, crab, and eggs 63, which she says is just a sous vide poach. She’ll pair it with either champagne or sake.

Paul’s doing something with king crab and octopus, artichokes and deep-fried butter. But the butter leaks, so he switches to a lemongrass and ginger buerre blanc.

Lauren’s pairing her dish with tequila. Oh, Lauren. Anthony and Ludo are going to hate this, aren’t they? Oh, dear, she says her octopus is tougher than she anticipated and maybe she should’ve done something she knew how to cook. YES! You should’ve. Go big or go home doesn’t apply to cooking something completely unfamiliar for the semi-finals. And it’s two or twenty, Lauren.

Jeff: Snapper and uni sashimi and a sake gimlet. Mixed reviews. Raw fish is a cop-out, since all you have to do is slice it.

Lauren: Spicy octopus stew and tequila. Surprisingly, Brian doesn’t like it but Tony does. So does Ludo, who appears to be veering close to Hodges territory.

Diane: Chocolate pate with cherries and a malbec. Chocolate and red wine is too obvious for the mudges. And I am not alone!!!! Tony doesn’t like chocolate and fruit together, either! (I do make an exception for milk chocolate-dipped strawberries.)

Paul: King crab, artichoke, and octopus. Verbena champagne cocktail. I’m not sure, but I think Brian doesn’t think he nailed the octopus. The cocktail is pretty, though.

Khristianne: The mudges evince much glee at the very sight of her spoon. She chose to serve the uni, king crab, and egg 63 with champagne. There’s caviar in there, too. The reactions after the taste are not suitable for a PG-13 blog.

Gregg’s worried now, because his dish has similar ingredients. It’s the caviar and uni pasta and he’s also serving it with champagne. Tony likes it (of course), but Nigella and Ludo want a touch more salt.

Sarah: Mussels with leeks and sangria. The mudges can’t believe she’d serve sangria. They like the dish, but not everyone thinks it was a good pairing.

The hatches reveal Jeff, Lauren, Diane, Paul, and Khristianne. This means Gregg and Sarah are through to the finals. They hug, and Gregg congratulates her like he really means it.

Anthony – Best: Khristianne. Worst: Paul

Brian’s hoping he picked Jeff as his best, but it’s Khristianne. His worst is Lauren. Oh, dear.

Nigella’s best is Jeff. Her worst is Diane. She tells Diane she’s not happy to see that.

Ludo – Best: Khristianne. Worst: Jeff. Another one and one, and it didn’t go so well for Uno last time, Jeff. Khristianne has what I think (and is later revealed to be true) the first three star dish, and Ludo gives her a standing ovation. See, Malarkey? That’s called being gracious. Try to learn something from it, mmmkay? She’s sent to join the other two finalists.

Jeff’s dish has the judges split two and two. Well, I doubt Diane screwed up too much other than in serving a dessert to these four, so he’s probably gone.

Lauren’s dish was too spicy, but the octopus turned out well. Glad to hear it, but yeah, too much hot can ruin  your palate, and then you won’t be able to taste the rest of the dishes. Of course, I think they should’ve had palate cleansers on standby.

Diane’s dish had great texture but was too ordinary. How can a pate have great texture?

Paul’s octopus was not done well, and the mudges think it was too intellectual to be sexy. I bet he’s gone. About time, too. Past, maybe.

The judges argue too much for me to even attempt to keep track of positive and negative comments, but I do note that Nigella’s arguing hard for Diane, so I’m guessing Lauren’s gone.

Two unanimous votes, one for Ludo to send Paul home, and one for Brian to send Lauren home. Tony psyches Diane out by saying her name, pausing, and then telling her she’s staying. Brian’s obviously pissed off that Jeff went. I have to agree, both dishes were very simple, but at least Dianne did something with the chocolate and Jeff just sliced up some fish and put it on the spoon. Contestants on both Top Chef and Chopped have gone home for crap like that, when the idea is to transform the ingredients.

Ludo still has two team members and Nigella’s out.

See you some time after the finale.

Nina Lisa

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

 

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.

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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

 

Is it just me or does that last shot of Anthony Bourdain in the opening credits make him look like Simon Cowell?

The mudges introduce guest judge Gabrielle Hamilton. I was taking notes while watching this, and then the watching got interrupted, so I haven’t yet watched the rest of this episode. I’m merely typing up my notes so I have at least a draft. But what I think is happening is an immunity round. The mudges are taking turns to explain what’s going to happen, which is confusing enough without Ludo’s accent. You know, it annoys me when Iron Chef America always has a translator take over for Iron Chef Morimoto, because I can understand him pretty well, but Chef Ludo could use some subtitles.

As near as I can figure out, they have an hour to cook. Each person will make a bite using one of three ingredients, eggs, cheese, or bacon. Then the team will decide which spoon is the best, and that is the spoon Chef Hamilton will judge. The winning team gets to spend some time with her in the kitchen, and the winning spoon gets immunity.  This makes the chefs unhappy in various unlabeled talking heads, and here’s where I got side-tracked and then completely interrupted.

I got side-tracked because ABC doesn’t want to spend the $$ on identifying each person who’s talking each time they pop up. I guess we’re just expected to know who the hell everyone is already. And since I know that two of them are going home tonight, normally I just wouldn’t care.  But since I’m sharing my thoughts with an audience, I feel I should try to identify who’s saying/doing what. But whenever I paused the abc.go.com video, I got an ad screen, so I had to go find a different video site. Here’s what I was able to figure out:

Yellow Team – I recognize the lady on the far left as being the first one Nigella picked, and a quick review of my posts tells me her name is Renatta. Right next to her is Nigella’s second pick, Laurel. They couldn’t possibly be standing in the order they were picked, could they? No, no such luck because once I reread everything I realize Huda is on the far right even though she was picked third. And Erika rounds out the team. Either Huda got her hair cut or she’s wearing a different wig, which may be why I didn’t recognize her right away. Next!

Green Team – Well, Khristianne I recognize as well, although I had to reread my posts to get her name and find out it was Brian’s team. Therefore the other members are Michah, Jeff, and Adam. I think Micah’s the one with neither beard nor glasses. But he looks an awful lot like Gregg.

Pink Team – Again, I can spot someone I recognize, Shawn. That makes this Ludo’s team and the other three are Paul, Gregg, and Sarah, who is identifiable only because she’s the only girl on the pink team. Unfortunately, they don’t wear their aprons in the talking heads, so right now she’s one of two blondes (Erika being the other).

This leaves the four brunettes on Anthony’s team, the Blue Team. They have named themselves Team Fierce. And you know, I love me some Christian Siriano, but can we please take that word out of our vocabularies now? It’s overdone. As for learning this teams names, I’m not going to bother. They’re the only 4 brunette women in the competition, so until it’s pared down, they’re interchangeable AFAIC.

Now, on with the show!

Or not, since it’s taken me another six days to get around to finishing this post.

Anyway, once I started watching the video again, I finally noticed that when they do label the talking heads, there’s a circle with the appropriate color with the mudge’s name. Oh, I want to add that between the time I started watching this show and the time I finished watching it, I found out that Nigella has a cookbook out. But she’s not known as a chef, and mudges makes me think of muggles, so I’m keeping it.

Also, I’m realizing it’s a lot easier to differentiate Tony’s team than I thought.  Brian has the first “I didn’t come here to make friends line” of the episode. Drink! He’s talking to his team member with the glasses, who says he’s going to make grilled cheese with a bacon-tomato jam. Brian wants him to do a tomato soup, which first, the guy doesn’t want to because it’s not “him”, and second, it’s supposed to be one bite. Tomato soup is great with a grilled cheese sandwich, but in a separate bowl, not combined. The sandwich will get soggy.

OK, Jeff’s the one with neither beard nor glasses but whom I still can’t tell from Gregg.

Lauren (not Laurel like I said earlier) is making chicken stew with blood pudding sliced into it at Nigella’s behest. She thinks Gabrielle will like it. Erika’s making an egg-dipped croque monsiuer (grilled ham and cheese) with Gruyere.

Paul interviews that he’s making stuffed chicken breast with potato crouquettes, but Ludo tells him they’re too fancy and he should do mashed potatoes instead. Sarah’s making mac ‘n’ cheese, and Paul feels sorry for her having to compete with three professional chefs. Gregg’s making a ricotta something with almonds and orange and a fried sage leaf for something crunchy. I don’t even. He thinks he’s the only one who’s read Gabrielle’s book “from front to back”. Well, that’s usually how you read a book. Unless it’s in Hebrew. Or Chinese.

Someone on Anthony’s team is making toasted Israeli couscous with a walnut pesto. I think it’s Ninamarie, and really, with a name like that you’d think I’d remember it. Diane, whom I recognize from her yelling at Shawn, is making a meatball with pork and beef with a “red pepper sauce”. Is that red pepper like the roasted bell, or like the red chili? Sometimes the terms seem interchangeable, but I’m here to tell you the taste is completely different.

With less than ten minutes left, Brian wants his team to plate so they can choose, but it appears that he’s the one who rules it’ll be Jeff’s mac ‘n’ cheese. On Tony’s team, Diane hates Ninamarie’s couscous and votes for her own meatballs, but is overruled by Tony. I should note here that Diane admits she’s a bitch. You’ll understand why in a bit.

At 5:22 on the clock, Nigella tells her team to pick, and they unanimously go for Lauren’s chicken stew.  On Ludo’s team, Gregg says out loud that Sarah’s is the best dish, then whispers to the camera that it’s really his. Paul’s burnt his chicken skin, trying to do it Ludo’s way, and now he’s pissed that his dish doesn’t even have a chance. With 15 seconds remaining, Ludo makes the executive decision of using Sarah’s mac ‘n’ cheese and yells at her to plate it.

Gregg says he didn’t want to “be a douche” and argue for his dish because “it’s not time for that.” Too late. Shawn’s not happy with the decision, either, but he’s one of the cooks whose dishes we don’t get to see or hear about.

Gabrielle tastes “something plastic” in Sarah’s mac ‘n’ cheese, and the team looks confused because they just tasted it and it seemed fine. She says Jeff’s mac ‘n’ cheese is “on the light side”. That’s not a compliment. She comments that Sarah’s chicken stew had a really pleasant finish. She’s confused by Ninamarie’s couscous, and quickly chooses the stew. Diane’s a bitch about it.

Now it’s time for the solo taste test. No limits except time: one hour. Since the four mudges are blind tasting again, they have to leave. Now I see why winning Gabrielle’s help was so important. Now we hear from some of the cooks we didn’t get to before. Renatta’s making an apple butter crumble, even though it’s a risk because Anthony doesn’t like desserts. He’s not the only one, as I recall.  Erika can’t decide between beef stew and pasta. Gabrielle encourages her to go with the former when she finds out Erika’s mom made it a lot.

Uno, obviously prompted by a producer, asks Diane if she’s making a Korean dish, and Diane goes off on her. Shut up, Diane. I have a feeling I’m going to be saying that a lot. She describes her dish, but I didn’t catch the name and don’t care. Fast-forwarding.

Huda’s making a roasted chicken with a chimichurri sauce and a touch of citrus. Over on Brian’s team, Adam is the one with the beard, so that makes Micah the one with the glasses. (That’s how I was referred to at my last audition, and I got the gig, so shut up.) He says he and Jeff have become pals.  Sarah’s making shrimp and grits. Paul’s still worried about her not being a professional chef, and he also thinks she’s a damsel in distress. Hers is the dish that went forward, though, Paul, so shut up. (To be fair, right after they show him saying this, they show her accidentally light a paper towel on fire, and she just stands there holding it, asking, “What do I do?” until Gregg grabs it from her, runs over to the sink and throws it in, then runs water over it. After which he continues to be a douche in his talking head.) Shawn’s making West Indian curried chicken. As in, West Indies, not Native Americans. Shut up. Yes, I know I’m saying that a lot. Shut up.

Lauren’s doing shepherd’s pie for the first time. I wonder if Gabrielle will tell her she has to use lamb because if she uses beef it’s actually cottage pie? Not even Danny Boome made that distinction on his show Rescue Chef, though, IIRC. Gabrielle does tell her doing something for the first time on a show like this usually isn’t a good idea, but Lauren reminds her she has immunity.

Now Micah’s happy to make a tomato soup, because it’s Mediterranean and evidently it’s one his dad used to make. Khristianne’s making a seafood chowder that her mom used to make. There’s a lot of parental homages going on. Uno’s making sticky chicken and something I don’t catch, which she says is like a papaya salad. Everyone has obviously been asked by a producer to describe their dishes, and everyone has done so, including Diane, although it’s possible that they just aired her doing that first, because she immediately starts heckling Uno for talking too much. I am now hoping she gives herself food poisoning. SHUT UP, DIANE.

With 20 minutes left, Huda is talking about starting over because her dish is too acidic. Micah reminds us that he quit his job to be here. Everyone’s freaking out as time ticks down. Lauren’s helping Renatta plate. I like them both. Renatta’s giggle is infectious. I don’t know if I could handle Diane’s still being around without Renatta’s giggle to listen to.

Tasting time. Each mudge will taste every sppon and pick one best taste and one worst taste, which latter will form the bottom four. The contestants gather behind the judges so they’re able to see what’s being tasted and hear the comments. Slightly less humiliating than the way they do it on Masterchef, I suppose.

Huda’s chicken looks delicious, I hope she was able to cut the acidity.

Ninamarie made chicken scarpanelli.

Jeff: Braised short ribs.

Micah: Mediterranean Israeli chicken. I thought he was making tomato soup? Oh, well.

Gregg: Chicken and dumplings, with crispy chicken skin on top. This is the trick that Lauren used for her stew earlier, and the judges think he’s being derivative. He says they can’t put their “prejudgements” aside. It’s a blind judging, douche. Shut up.

Two for two on Lauren’s dish, and now Diane’s babbling again. Fast-forwarding, but not fast enough to miss her flipping Malarkey off behind his back because he’s the only one who doesn’t like hers. Ugh. She’s the worst.

Shawn: West Indian curried chicken and dumplings.

Khristianne: Uni seafood chowder. (Uni is sea urchin roe).

Adam: Fried chicken and coleslaw. He attempted to do the chicken differently than a home cook would. Which means what, exactly?

Paul: Potato-flaked halibut. That would be different than a home cook.

Mia: Rice pudding.

The judges thought all sixteen bites were good and they’re going to have a hard time deciding the bottom four. I just recounted and I think I’m missing a dish, but this is almost two weeks late now and I don’t care.

Evidently, they’re referring to those tube things as hatches. The seven people standing there are, in no particular order, Shawn, Lauren, Micah, Sarah, Khristianne, Diane (dammit) and Renatta.  The judges still don’t know who made what, so the fact that they’re separated four and three doesn’t mean anything.

Brian: Best – Khristianne (his team), Worst – Shawn (Ludo’s)

Ludo: Best – Sarah (his), Worst – Micah (Brian’s)

Tony: Best – Diane (his), Worst – Lauren (Nigella’s)

Nigella: Best – Diane, Worst – Renatta (hers)

Oh, dear. Lauren has immunity, so that means Renatta’s probably going to be one of the ones sent home. The three winners go back to the greenroom and tell the others a little bit about what the experience was like. Up above, Tony tells Renatta jaded palates like theirs don’t like sugar. I guess she used too much. OTOH, Nigella tells Micah his dish was bland. The only problem with Shawn’s dish was that it needed salt. Well, that pretty much seals Renatta’s fate, dagnabit.

Lauren used way too much cheese, but since she has immunity, they send her back downstairs. The others also go away, IIRC, so the judges can argue. Brian does try to defend Renatta’s dish as a cultural thing, but he’s outvoted. The remaining contestants gather on the catwalk behind the judges to hear the verdict. Jobless Micah is sent home first. So is Renatta. I really don’t know if I can deal with bitch-on-wheels Diane without her giggle or general placidity. Sigh.

Nina Lisa

One thing I like about this show already: They don’t add a lot of fluff and filler to stretch this second round of auditions to fill two hours. However, when it came down to the last two contestants, they did a lot of the fancy split screen, back and forthing, and the last mudge deliberating, broke for commercial, came back and replayed the last 30 seconds of it all over again. Since I was having problems with the ABC website, I was watching sans commercial breaks, so it was even more annoying. That said, they got right to it, so I shall now do the same.

First up is Jennifer, a restaurant consultant. I decided last time that if they make their living having to do with food, that makes them a pro, even tho she says she cooks more at home. She makes a play on a salmon nicoise with a beet gastrique, which winds up making it too sweet for any of the judges.

Next is Huda, a caterer, according to what they flash on the screen, a personal chef according to her. Either way, she’s a pro. She makes shrimp and grits, which is right up Nigella’s comfort food alley, and when Ludo is trying to fight Nigella for her, he makes a comment about turning her into a professional chef, and when Nigella points out that she is a professional chef, Huda informs him that he didn’t pay attention to her, and unsurprisingly makes short work of picking Nigella.

Jeff, a professional chef (I believe he’s an executive chef from a restaurant here in L.A.) has an intro package that looks like one we saw last week. It’s not, but that’s not the last time I’ll be having deja vu. He makes a red miso snapper with avacado puree, which turns Nigella off. Anthony appears to be waiting for Escoffier Jr. to appear, and Ludo also says no, but Brian is more than happy to snap him up.

This leaves everyone with one last slot, and I think they all have that fear of filling their teams and missing out on someone really fabulous, so that may be the why behind all of them saying no to home chef Robert, who is up next. He made a seafood sausage with beurre blanc, and he made the sausage and fried it up on-site. He rattles off the French name for the dish so fast I can’t follow it, except for the “fruits de mer” (seafood) part, and evidently it’s such a classic (or obvious) French dish that Ludo even greets him in French, and they babble at each other a bit.  Ludo doesn’t know why he said no and neither does Tony. Robert points out that it’s a good question, and it’s the same question I asked last week. Especially since Escoffier was a French chef. Oh, well.

Yesterday, I read Potes’ Biggest Loser recap on TWOP, and she made a comment about how one of the team members has to say he’s giving 120%. She then ups the ante throughout the rest of the recap, which I found hilarious because I really agree with the ludicrousness of someone claiming they’re giving more than 100%.  The next (home) chef up, Brian, must’ve read that recap, too, because he says he’s giving “One hundred and fifty million percent.” Unfortunately, his vegetarian version of his grandmother’s lasagne doesn’t taste good with all that extra percentage in there, and he gets four nos.

Next is Erika, who has a morning cooking segment on her local news channel. I think she’s also one of the anchors, or a reporter, but I’m going to put her in the pro category anyway. She makes a lime and coriander crusted tuna with coconut and lemongrass cream sauce. It doesn’t sound like it’d be up Nigella’s alley, given the rest of her team, but it is, and since she’s the only one to say yes, her team is now full.

Now we have a montage trio of vegan/vegetarian chefs, which category Anthony evidently abhors. Not surprised, since he’s a Jersey boy. They started out this montage normally, so I was writing everything down, but since no names and dishes are flashed on screen, and they all get roundly rejected, I’m not going to try to straighten out who’s who and cooking what. Except to note that the last cook is wearing a tutu, and doesn’t cook with flame (or evidently any kind of heat) and makes some kind of chocolate “mousse” mess that looks like it tastes as disgusting as it appears.

Next up is Greg, a culinary instructor, who makes a lobster bisque w/ coconut milk to make it lighter and his own curry paste, which thrill Ludo and Brian enough that they both want him. Greg’s background is French cooking, it appears, so he picks Ludo. This evidently adds to the rivalry supposedly building up between these two, as that is the third time Ludo’s gotten a chef Brian wanted. It seems like Brian’s feeling this is all his last name.

Nigella’s been pretty good at bowing out quickly, since her team is full, and Ludo now follows her example. And I guess it’s just as well, because the next chef only Brian wants. Adam is a pro, and he gives me my second deja vu when he makes seared scallops with a sweet corn hash. Brian confirms my memory that someone made that dish last week, because evidently that someone is also on his team. Anyway, after Tony bows out, he starts talking about what “we” have to do for “our” team, but that’s too subtle for Brian to catch that he just became the last member of Team Malarkey. Heh.

Now only Tony has a spot left, and this fact (the what, not the who) doesn’t seem to faze the next trio, but maybe it should, since it winds up being a dessert montage, and we already know Tony’s only looking for savory chefs.

And so we come to the final duel, between home chef Uno, who wants to drink a bottle of saki before starting her dish, and private chef James, who is making a spice rubbed rib eye steak with custard as a play on steak and eggs.

But Uno’s making a Laos recipe she grew up with, lap gai, which is chicken with chopped innards, which turns out to hit Tony’s sweet spot. A la ABC’s ancient two word reality competition The Bachelor, James shows up first, so you’re already mentally prepared for Tony’s knockdown, and the home chefs win this last battle. Although I think more pros got through this time that they might be even now.

So prepare for a season of cooking and double entendres from Nigella (it’s a British thing), and the poor mudges risk sending one of their own home as the blind taste testing continues.

See you then.

Nina Lisa

So, before I started watching my Tuesday line up yesterday (and finishing Monday’s), I checked out TWOP to see if they had anything to say about The Taste. And I was rather confused when they referred to it as “The Voice, except with food.” Because I hadn’t watched it yet, and I didn’t really realize that the whole set up is indeed, exactly like The Voice. Four judge/mentors, who will be taking their team through the process. Blind auditions, sans swiveling chairs. Contestants getting to choose who they want to work with if more than one coach wants them on their team in their kitchen.  People who’ve been unfairly judged on their looks all their lives being thankful for the blind audition process.  Judges claiming they’re kicking themselves for saying no after they see what the person looks like (still doesn’t make any sense).  Pros and amateurs alike.

The differences? Umm. The contestants get to hear the critique of their food good, bad, and ugly, before the “classic Times Square peep show” doors pop open and they have to face the people who just loved/hated their food. People getting their stuff out of lockers and leaving, whether happy or sad. Models clad in skintight, short black dresses taking the food from the cooks’ workstations to the judges table. Oh, and one more thing — the blind judging runs all the way the way through the competition, and it doesn’t look like America gets to vote.  For me, this is significant, in that the mentors might wind up sending one of their team home all unknowingly. This is repeated a few dozen times, for those of us who are watching-reality-TV-challenged.

The chefs all cook at staggered times, standing in the doorway to what appears to be a kitchen positioned below and behind the judging table, while a countdown clock with their name on it is shown. The clock starts counting down from 1 hour, and the chefs rush in and to their workstation, holding a crate with their ingredients. They have to prepare four identical (actually six and then choose the four best, it looks like) amuse bouches for the noted palates of the jentors. Mudges? Something. They’re not all chefs, so I’m not going to refer to them collectively as that.

First up is Adam, a professional chef from Las Vegas, who creates some kind of disgusting mish-mash of a mac and cheese stir fry. He gets to hear Anthony Bourdain say it’s “revolting” before they all reject him. (The editors chose not to introduce the judges until a few minutes in to the episode, so neither will I). Anthony may be known to some of you for his Travel Channel show “No Reservations”. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen him be a judge on Top Chef.

Next up is home chef Sarah, who manages to perfect the Top Chef staple of seared scallops, thus winding up with two judges fighting over her. She goes with Ludo. Ludo Lefebvre I definitely only know from Top Chef, but the Masters one, IIRC. Ludo has an almost unintelligible French accent and tattoo sleeves.

After that we have Kyle, another professional chef, of a restaurant here in Los Angeles, which I probably will not be going to any time soon. Mainly because I don’t have the money to be dining out, but also because he serves up deep-fried watermelon with pickled watermelon rind. Although it’s four nos, this is the first time where a couple of the judges claim they really should’ve picked him.

Kyle is followed by Khristianne, personal chef to Charlie Sheen and the royal family of Saudi Arabia. That makes her a pro in my book, although you can generally distinguish between the pros and the home chefs by the pros wearing their chef tops. Not that all of them do, so the judges usually ask. It’s interesting to me to watch the judges debate which one they think the contestant is. Khristianne also makes seared scallops, with creamed corn. This makes her right up Brian Malarkey’s alley. Brian, BTW, was evidently a cheftestant on Top Chef (before I started watching it), and owns some restaurants in San Diego.

After Khristianne are Jeanette, a home chef who makes a spiced up kugel, and Justin, a professional chef who makes a seared ahi tuna.  They both get sent home, although Tony invites himself over to Jeanette’s house for dinner, and Justin gets the second round of the “I’m kicking myself” routine. Nigella seems the most convincing at that, especially because she kinda slammed her hand down on a button at the last second before the reveal. I’ll give her the benefit of doubt, even though I’m very confused by this. Either you liked it or you didn’t. If you liked it, why the hell didn’t you push the yes button? Anthony gives me a clue later on when he explains that they have so many more tastings to go. I can kinda understand this. You don’t want to fill up your team too quickly, in case someone a lot better comes along.

Right now, though, Nigella Lawson is a food writer from London. (In England, not Kentucky.) I’m pretty sure I recognize her as a frequent judge on Iron Chef America, and perhaps Top Chef. She’d be the reason I’m not referring to the mudges collectively as chefs. And she winds up taking the next contestant, home cook Renatta, for her comforting mashed potatoes.

After Renatta is Marcus, who can’t even say he’s there to make friends with a straight face. Drink! He’s a professional chef who also gets the boot, so right now the score is 2-1, home. This is followed by a montage of professional chefs, with the male ones being arrogant a-holes about how much better they are than home chefs, but who all get sent packing. I feel somewhat bad for one gal, who evidently got fired from her job for wanting to come on the show, but when she’s asked where she works, has to pause, and then admit that currently she’s managing a bakery. After she leaves, Anthony Bourdain calls her a delusional (something that’s bleeped out) for thinking she’s a professional chef when she’s actually just a bakery manager, and I kinda want to smack him right now. I know the one percenters are deluded about how well the economy’s doing, but I’d think if you own a restaurant you might notice that people are still not spending that much on eating out.  Then again, Les Halles is expensive enough that it’s probably only frequented by one percenters, so maybe not.

After the montage, we are introduced to another home chef, Mia.  She makes an Indian spiced lamb, and while Brian says it’s muddled, Anthony, whom Mia has a crush on, picks her as his first team member.  Nigella thought she was a professional because of how finely the herbs were chopped. I admit I lack knife skills, and these shows all make me want to work on them.

Next up is NinaMarie.  Again, Tony is the lone yes for this home chef, who made sea bass with a butterscotch sauce. Which doesn’t sound good, and Tony even says he hates, but it “strangely” worked for him. After her, Paul, a professional chef who also made sea bass, gets to choose between Ludo and Nigella. He goes French.

Then there’s Sieger, a sous chef from Chicago, who claims he’s not a weird, creepy mama’s boy as the camera shows them holding hands under their kitchen table. He makes a watermelon ahi tuna crudo, which means the tuna is raw. You’ve been warned. Ludo can’t even tell what kind of fish it is, and hopes he’s not a professional chef. Might I remind you that the contestants get to hear all this conversation? Nobody wants him, so the home chefs are still ahead by two.

Cynthia, a home cook from Brazil, is cooking a national dish of shrimp and yucca gratin. Judging from her audition tape, she always cooks in a dress and heels so she can also get in some salsa.  The dancing, not the condiment, although maybe if she’d used the latter in her dish, she would’ve gotten through.

Micah, a home cook from San Fran who quit his job to join the competition, is serving  filet mignon with a funky parsnip puree with vanilla in it. Ludo’s positive he’s a pro, while Nigella pegs him as “a home cook who’s watched a lot of cooking programmes”. Oh, like me, then. But I wouldn’t put vanilla in a sauce for a beef dish. For some reason, this guy is also up Brian’s alley, so after Micah psychs out his wife, the score is 5-2 home chefs.

Next we have home chef TJ, whose introductory video is really unnecessary on a cooking show, because his job is to separate his home town’s collective number ones from the number twos, and the camera operators seem to be sadistically filming a lot of close-ups on the murk he has to wade into and work with.  TJ seems to also be willing to overshare about the details of his job. He says he counts the minutes until he can go home to cook, and I am counting the seconds until this montage ends. I actually had to watch these sequences for a second time to get names and dishes, and I think I just threw up in my mouth a little.  Finally the torture ends. Except not really, because he’s making chicken mole, and you know what color mole is. And evidently it tastes like that, too, because Ludo couldn’t tell what he was eating, and no-one picks him. For some reason, though, I wouldn’t mind seeing him on MasterChef. Especially since he has such a good attitude about getting eliminated.

Now, judging from the outfits, we are treated to a montage of loser home cooks. After which, we are treated to Diane, a chef consultant. A quick Google search doesn’t really help me with this career choice, but I’m going to give her the same credit I gave Khristianne, and say she’s a pro; they both get paid for their cooking expertise . She reminds me of Carla from this season of Top Chef, because when she tells the off-camera producer (who’s interviewing her while she prepares her seared lamb chops) she’s the best cook there, the contestant at the next station over rags on her a bit and she smacks him down but good. I admit I can see her point, though. You’ll have your own interview when it’s time, buddy. Wait your turn.  She dusts the lamb with cumin, and makes a tzatziki that rocks the judges’ socks off, adding bits of fig to it.  She wants to be mentored by Tony, and she gets her wish, since everyone else thought she put too much tzatziki on the spoon.

Now it’s time for Mr. Interview Bomb, an executive chef here in L.A.  by the name of Shawn. Which explains why Diane said all the home cooks and the bleeped professional chefs could go home. Shawn definitely enjoys the results of his job. While he’s not the first heavy chef we’ve seen, and I suspect he won’t be the last, I think he’s the biggest.  IMO, those are the restaurants I want to eat at.  He made seared ahi, and the judges all correctly guess he’s a pro, and love the bite, and Ludo and Malarkey fight over him. Since he tends to do French cooking, he picks Ludo.

Renee is another professional cook from Chicago, a culinary instructor. And another person who quit her job to come on the show. Unfortunately, none of the judges like her halibut with a fennel/pea-shoot salad, and it isn’t helped any when Tony tells her they’ve been sending people home for little mistakes but she did nothing wrong.  There is a bright side:  Unlike the bakery manager, she admits she left her job to be on the show, so Ludo tells her to stay here in L.A. and he’ll give her a job.

The final (home) chef is Laurel, and she decides to make a dessert, mainly to stand out from all the savory dishes, I think, but she says it’s because they’re just as complicated.  Well, I’ll give her that one. When you cook, you don’t need a recipe for anything more than a guideline.  When you bake, you have to follow the recipe exactly, because baking is chemistry.  Sorry, you still don’t have a use for algebra, though. This dessert-in-a-sea-of-savory worked for Brooke on Top Chef, but it almost backfires on Laurel, because none of the guys want pastry chefs.  Ludo claims he’s in love with her and the bite and wants the recipe, and begs Nigella to say yes after he says no.  And her flourless chocolate cake with pisachio brittle indeed wins over Nigella, who is very happy she’s a home pastry chef and not a pro like the others thought.  Laurel obviously watches MasterChef, because when she describes her dish, she adds, “It’s me on a spoon!” And the home chefs pull ahead yet again.  As they’re interviewing her, I notice the lockers behind her are numbered to 16, which is the total number of contestants we’ll wind up with after next week.  Hopefully, since we now have ten, that episode will only be an hour long.

The results so far are as follows:

Sarah, home chef, Ludo.

Khristianne, pro, Brian.

Renatta, home, Nigella.

Mia, home, Tony.

NinaMarie, home, Tony.

Paul, pro, Ludo.

Micah, home, Brian.

Diane, pro, Tony.

Shawn, pro, Ludo.

Laurel, home, Nigella.

Six home chefs, four professional chefs.  Brian and Nigella each have two spots left; Ludo and Tony one.  See you next time. NT

The Taste

Another cooking contest show? I’m there. Premieres Jan 22 on ABC, and I’ll be watching online.

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