The Taste, Episode 6: Nose to Tail

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

I should warn you: this week’s episode is absolutely disgusting. The judges warn their chefs they may be entering into “unfamiliar territories,” and that was putting it politely.

This week’s theme: offal (also known as organ meats.) Yum.

Guest judges Frederic Morin and Dave McMillan of Montreal’s Joe Beef enter The Taste with a very pink, very dead pig on a stick. The cheftestants are told they must create a spoon made with some sort of offal for the team taste test. The winner gets immunity and the help of the guest judges on their team for the looming solo test.

Malarkey provides his team with items like yellowtail collar and lamb belly, while Bourdain gives his some tripe and a very curly pigtail. Ludo, being French and all, chases the other judges around the arena with pig blood all over his hands and hands Gregg a pig head.

Bourdain helps Diane jigsaw some sort of bone in half and she adds collard greens and pig skin to her dish. Our Girl Uno uses tripe, pigtail and beef tongue in a soup and warns, “Elimination could be on the horizon for me.”

Amongst various lewd comments by the judges, an exploding pressure cooker that spews pig brains all over the kitchen, and Our Girl Uno handing out glasses of wine, the mentors are able to choose their favorite dishes and judging commences.

Ludo’s golden boy, Gregg, is chosen for the third straight week and offers some delicious North Carolina head cheese, which he explains is a play on pulled pork. Khristianne’s pork tongue and bone marrow is deemed “too oily” by the judges and Uno’s soup is “sharp and delicious.”

Gregg, of course, wins his third team challenge and the chefs are told they must create a dish with the remaining offal for the solo taste test. Nigella tells the remaining chefs that three of them are going home and pleads “delight us, [don’t] disgust us.”

Gregg ignores Ludo’s advice to “stay classic French” with his dish and, instead, fills his station with various Asian ingredients including his protein, foie gras. Adam attempts to prepare Thai-style sweetbread and Khris, one of the show’s front-runners, combines sweetbreads with veil and a crispy fried beef ear.

Bourdain applauds Uno for “just chugging along” with whatever challenge presents itself and she decides to prepare a shrimp head soup with dumplings. Diane has apparently shifted her grudge from Uno to “Kathy Bates Lauren” (Nigella’s sole competitor) and, after a very realistic impression of Lauren’s laugh, goes on to combine braised beef cheeks with turnip purée.

Gregg manages to cut some of his finger off (perhaps to add to his offal) and gets stitched up right there in the kitchen as one of the guest judges holds a wooden spoon to Gregg’s mouth to help with the pain. He continues on and Ludo tells the other judges he thinks his chef, Paul, is going to be sent home because of his bad attitude. Uno is confident she’s going to get this week’s gold star and the judges explain, “It’s not about winning today. It’s about not losing.”

Diane admits her braised beef cheeks were “playing it safe” and the judges like the “peasant food quality” of her dish. Ninamarie’s sweetbread with pork skin is deemed “annoying” and Adam’s Thai-style sweetbread is met with silence and an overall verdict of being “too sweet.”

Khris’ cauliflower mousseline with sweetbreads poached in milk and a crispy pig ear garnish is “perfectly balanced” and Uno, who is so proud of her pork dumpling soup with fried fish heads, is applauded by Bourdain.

The judges choose their best and worst dishes of the night and, for the second week in a row, Gregg is warned that if not for his immunity, his pho with oxtail and calf tongue dish would have got him sent home. Ludo is extremely disappointed in him and Gregg feels “on his own.” Our Girl Uno received a gold star and a red star for her dish that apparently didn’t correctly “fit” the challenge’s rules. Khris and Jeff find themselves on the top and Khris’ double golden stars make her the week’s winner. Nigella’s Lauren and Bourdain’s Ninamarie are also on the bottom.

Ultimately, Adam (of Malarkey’s team) is sent home for his too-sweet sweetbreads and Ninamarie, last week’s winner, is sent packing as well. In probably the most upsetting/absurd moment of the series thus far, Our Girl Uno is dismissed for not following the rules and is sent home with a touching farewell from Bourdain himself, “Of all the cooking [in this challenge], it is yours I will miss the most.” She will definitely be missed!

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.