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The Taste, Episode 5 Recap: The Art of the Sandwich

Ludo Lefebvre, Nigella Lawson, Anthony Bourdain, and Brian Malarkey (via popgoestheweek.com)
Ludo Lefebvre, Nigella Lawson, Anthony Bourdain, and Brian Malarkey (via popgoestheweek.com)

The 12 remaining chefs are told that this week’s theme is “back to basics with the humble, yet much-loved sandwich.” Teams are allowed to serve their sandwiches on small plates instead of spoons (thank God) and must prepare one of the following classics: a club, PB&J, or a salad – tuna, chicken, or egg.

Nigella’s two-person team lacks confidence, she explains, but Huda is adamant that the duo is small, but powerful. Lauren prepares “my big fat chicken sandwich” with olive tapenade and Huda gets creative with fried chicken with tarragon and garlic mayo.

Over at Malarkey’s station, Khristianne explains, “If you can’t make a sandwich, what the hell kinda chef are you.” She assembles a chicken curry treat with apricot jam. Malarkey takes time out of his busy schedule of yelling/chirping at Gregg to help his boy Jeff with his roasted pork and arugula pesto dish.

Ludo and his shining star Gregg think they have the challenge in the bag, especially with Gregg making mayonnaise out of tuna (hmm…). Ludo yells at Paul and dismisses his idea of preparing a Thanksgiving sandwich, saying, “It’s not going to work.” Paul is frustrated that Ludo won’t let him make what he wants, and Gregg explains that French chefs are like that: “Not mean, but effective.” Ludo is losing patience with Sarah who is becoming dependent on him to create anything decent. “I’m not her b**ch,” says Ludo.

Bourdain’s four-woman kitchen (he has yet to have a chef sent home) has Dianne preparing a play on shredded pork tacos with brioche bread. Our girl Uno (from Dallas!) is making a braised, deep-fried pork belly with soy sauce and whiskey (“to get [the judges] a little drunk”) on a Hawaiian roll. Of course, Bourdain narrows his choice down to Dianne and Uno’s dish and the feisty New Yorker, Diane, is chosen to present her sandwich to the judges.

Everyone is angry when Ludo chooses Gregg’s seared tuna salad sandwich to be tasted by the judges. He is pitted against Malarkey’s Khristianne and Nigella’s Huda and, before the judges have their final say, Malarkey tells his team, “If Gregg wins this thing we’re breaking out of this place and going to a bar tonight.” Gregg wins immunity, everyone is pissed, and Malarkey begins pre-drinking for his big night out on the town.

The sandwich battle continues on into the individual challenge and Bourdain advises the chefs to broaden their horizons. Golden boy Gregg takes this advice to heart, preparing what he creatively calls a “naanwich” (with naan bread, duh). Sarah gets controversial and sparks a “Is a taco a sandwich?” debate by preparing fried oyster tacos (“It’s a protein between carbs so it counts,” she explains).

Uno wants to make her own bread but doesn’t have time and must decide whether to prepare pork belly, duck, or short ribs. She really wants that gold star this week. Mia, on the other hand, makes her naan-type bread from scratch and plans to pair it with lamb, eggplant and walnut puree.

The blind tasting commences with the chefs promising that Bourdain’s team is going down today. The judges applaud Khris’ creativity for including apple on her sandwich. Gregg’s curried lamb is less than appealing to the judges and especially Nigella, who explains, “I like risk in life, but there’s just not enough pleasure.” We don’t really know what she’s talking about anymore. Jeff’s deli-sliced meat dish is deemed delicious and Uno’s steamed, “homemade” bao bun is fantastic (“I did cheat. I used pre-made pizza dough,” she whispers from behind the railing). Huda serves the judges raw chicken and Diane’s bread is too dense for her dish. Gregg is angry the judges didn’t like his sandwich and complains that the judges wanted them to “think outside the box.”

The judges finally make their decisions and Ninamarie, Lauren and Jeff are at the top. Ninamarie’s beef Carpaccio and fried green tomato sandwich is a hit with the judges and she is applauded for being at the top two weeks in a row. Lauren’s Mediterranean lamb on scorched naan “works” and Jeff’s hot beef sandwich with bacon mayo is chosen by both Ludo and Malarkey as the best. Jeff has the “double dip” (two gold stars) and wins the week’s challenge.

Diane, Mia, Huda and Gregg prepare the judges least favorite dishes, meaning that two of Bourdain’s chefs are in the bottom. Bourdain calls Huda’s dish a “pesto blowout” and Malarkey is pissed he was served raw chicken. Diane’s banh mi lacked in flavor and would have been better with any other bread. Mia, on the other hand, was proud of her homemade bread, even though Nigella called it “burnt.” Gregg is dismissed and probably would have been sent home if not for his immunity.

The judges make their decision and Bourdain wants to “immediately reach for a very powerful cocktail.” Huda is sent packing due to her raw chicken and Bourdain sends yoga instructor Mia home for her burnt/scorched naan. Mia promises this won’t be the last we’ll see of her. Namaste, Mia. Namaste.

Christina Colavecchia graduated from York University in Toronto, Canada in May 2012 with a degree in Professional Writing and Humanities. As a Canuck living the U.S. for the first time, she’s loving the Dallas lifestyle and all the city has to offer.