¡Hola! Tonight's episode started with a south of the border accent as Mexican gourmet chef Rick Bayless joined host Padma Lakshmi to watch the 14 remaining chefs go mano-a-mano in the Quickfire Challenge. Chef Rick is the owner of Chicago's Frontera Grill and its sister restaurant Topolobampo. He also has a line of food products, which I've previously purchased (perhaps at Whole Foods), and can personally say the Frontera brand salsas were muy bien.
Reinventing and creating an upscale taco was slightly more challenging than I thought it would be. As Chef Rick mentioned, they were served a lot of "street tacos". Erik seemed perplexed at dressing up simple foods and it showed in his end product. Though sounding like a flavorful combination, his chipotle braised chicken taco with avocado and pomegranate salsa was called a train wreck and was the least favorite dish. It sort of reminded me of the mashed potato soufflé from the first episode.
Ryan's taco had a pomegranate jicama salad, which also sounded good, but Chef Rick was not impressed with the paper wrapper as garnish. Lisa served a rare skirt steak, typically a tougher cut of meat that requires a longer cooking time, which was unchewable. I thought Manuel would get a mention for using cactus petals and chorizo with picante verde sauce.
Spike's ground pork with tomatillo sauce was said to have "super soul-satisfying flavor" and Andrew soared high with his duck breast with plantain jam and cotija cheese. Richard not only won immunity for offering shaved jicama as tortillas with avocado, papaya and cilantro stems, but also will have his dish featured on the menu at Topolobampo.
As the chefs split into two teams for the Elimination Challenge, Padma explained that they wouldn't be shopping for their ingredients. They were to go door-to-door and gather foods from the neighbors participating in their annual block party. The event corresponds with mealstogether.com, which I learned after looking it up is a site devoted to bringing families together at mealtime. With the hectic pace we tend to keep these days it seems like a great tool to help parents spend more time with their children.
The block party looked like a fun outing and the Red Team took some down time afterwards to shoot hoops and drink beer. Though neither team had a great showing, it was the Blue Team that squeaked by with the win.
Richard was criticized for serving paella with seafood and sausage but without a crunch it was more like a pilaf. (Perhaps he just didn't use the correct pan.) Amazingly, it was Stephanie's "Sexy Drink", made with lavender, citrus, mint, simple syrup and seltzer, and the mixed fruit crumble with cinnamon sugar wontons that gave her a second EC win.
In addition to Stephanie I really thought we would hear more raves about the women this week but there were none. Nikki was on the bottom a second week in a row, this time for macaroni and cheese, which she said was a signature dish. From the Red Team, I'm keeping an eye on Jennifer, who was neither positively nor negatively mentioned. Girlfriend Zoi was slammed for a pasta salad she never wanted to make.
Except for charming the neighbors, Ryan never got his groove on in this episode. He seemed to have thought out the logistics of transporting the components of his Waldorf salad individually, but having boiled the chicken it added unneeded water, there was no crunch, and white balsamic was substituted for mayonnaise.
Erik was told to pack his knives and go for the mini corn dogs that were probably crispy when he made them but became soggy while warm and covered during transit.
Spike was a master at charring the smores lollipops, which Padma dropped on Ted Allen's shoe, but he and Andrew we a little full of themselves as they copped an attitude toward the judges that showed they can't take criticism and don't play well with others.
" Have you made use of mealstogether.com, and if so, what benefits did you gain?
" Was Spike being competitive or heartless when steering Antonia away from a house he had visited but knew had a full pantry? (In the end, it didn't help.)
" What did Nikki say to Erik when she hugged him goodbye? It sounded like "Padma soufflé".
" The text poll wanted to know which would happen first: a female president or a female Top Chef. 85% chose the latter.
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161Hola Tonights episode started with a south of the border accent as Mexican gourmet chef Rick Bayless joined host Padma Lakshmi to watch the 14 remaining chefs go mano-a-mano in the Quickfire Challenge Chef Rick is the owner of Chicagos Frontera Grill and its sister restaurant Topolobampo He also has a line of food products which Ive previously purchased perhaps at Whole Foods and can personally say the Frontera brand salsas were muy bienReinventing and creating an upscale taco was slightly more challenging than I thought it would be As Chef Rick mentioned they were served a lot of street tacos Erik seemed perplexed at dressing up simple foods and it showed in his end product Though sounding like a flavorful combination his chipotle braised chicken taco with avocado and pomegranate salsa was called a train wreck and was the least favorite dish It sort of reminded me of the mashed potato souffl from the first episodeRyans taco had a pomegranate jicama