Well, things haven’t improved much since last week’s snooze fest. The producers tried to spice things up this week with a pea puree bandit and a “romance” between our girl Tiffany and Ed. Puh-lease. I really could’ve used some of the toothpicks from the QFC to prop open my eyelids. Let’s discuss anyways. Jump for it.
For the Quick Fire Challenge, the cheftestants were asked to prepare a meal for a Congressional party. The catch: it must fit on a toothpick. Oh, and the winner gets $20,000… for putting some food on a stick. Guest judge Congressman Aaron Schock of Illinois served as the stressed how important ethics are when it comes to serving food at these parties. Hmm. I think these chefs could use an ethics lesson after all the backstabbing that went down last week. I wonder if that was planned.
You would think the chefs would be excited about this QFC because cooking something small enough to fit on a toothpick is much easier than preparing an entire meal. But of course, they act like it’s the most difficult thing they’ve ever done. Ed couldn’t figure out how to transport his food to the stick. Let me help you out, Ed. Place the food on a plate then poke a toothpick through the top. Simple! And Amanda couldn’t come up with an idea. She thinks hors d’oeuvres are annoying. Amanda, I think you’re annoying.
Congressman Schock thought Ed’s dish looked better than it tasted, Kelly’s lacked flavor, and he wasn’t especially a fan of Alex’s bacon and strawberry scallops (those just sound disgusting). On the other hand, he couldn’t get Kevin’s dish out of his head as he made his way around the room, Angelo’s old-school cucumber cup was like fireworks in his mouth, and he liked that Stephen crammed everything he could think of on a stick. Apparently, cucumber cups are still in style because Angelo won. Now he can buy all the hair gel, polo shirts, and starch he wants!
Before we get to the Elimination Challenge, let’s talk about this lame plot line the producers have created between our girl Tiffany and Ed. There’s nothing the indicates that they’re more than friends. I didn’t realize that sitting in a room talking was considered flirting. Not to mention Tiffany is engaged. Come on. The Angelo/Tamesha thing made a little more sense because he repeatedly commented on her sexiness, but the Tiffany/Ed situation is just a weak attempt to stir up some drama.
For the Elimination Challenge, the chefs took over the kitchen at The Palm, a steakhouse chain found in almost every city in America, where they prepared a power lunch using popular ingredients served in the restaurant. The winning chef gets their mug shot drawn on the wall and their dish on the menu. Amongst the diners were Senator Mark Warren, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough and Mika Brezinski, and NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell and Savannah Guthrie. Oprah’s former personal chef Art Smith was the guest judge.
The chefs had pretty basic ingredients to work with – lobster, swordfish, lamb, salmon, and steak – yet some of the chefs struggled. Andrea isn’t used to cooking swordfish, Alex couldn’t for the life of him come up with an idea for his salmon, and Amanda didn’t know how to properly prepare a porterhouse steak. They are professional chefs. They should know how to cook these things!
Anyways, the “big controversy” of the episode was Ed’s missing pea puree. He looked high and low but couldn’t find it anywhere. Coincidently, the camera then panned to Alex who was holding a pot full of pea puree. Caught red handed! But he said he didn’t steal it. He had been planning on using it all along! Even though the night before he said he had no idea what he was going to cook. Hmm. If you’re going to steal something, steal something better than pea puree.
But that’s enough of that. Tiffany, Alex, and Ed were in the top. The judges loved Tiffany’s tried and true swordfish recipe, even though she was convinced she overcooked it. They judges told Ed that his peas were the weakest link on his plate, but they liked the overall flavor. Then, they told Alex that the pea puree was the best thing about his dish. Snap! When the judges declared the Alex the winner, Tiffany had to restrain Ed from reaching over and punching the pea puree bandit’s lights out. Now Alex’s creepy mug shot will forever haunt diners at The Palm.
Tom said that the three worst power lunch dishes wanted to make him take a power nap. This episode made me want to take a power nap, but that’s bedside the point. The three chefs in the bottom – Andrea, Kevin, and Kelly – didn’t deserve to be there. They’ve all done pretty well throughout the season. The judges said Andrea’s vanilla swordfish was overcooked and the couscous was gloopy. They said Kevin’s lamb was overcooked and not properly cleaned. And Kelly’s steak was way too salty. If she had been nice shared with her competitors, that wouldn’t have been a problem. Karma!
In the end, the judges told Andrea to pack her knives and go. I really wasn’t expecting that. Nor was I expecting Alex to win. Did anyone else think last night’s results were surprising?