Reprinted with permission from www.healthywaytocook.com
Frédéric Morin and David McMillan, chefs at Montreal’s Joe Beef, will be our guest judges because this week, it’s all about meat. But not just any old cut of meat. The cooks are frying up the off cuts. Offal. Trotters, ears, eyeballs, balls, the yummy parts.
The cooks have two hours to make one spoon featuring at least one of four ingredients selected by their mentors. The person who wins immunity cannot be considered for the bottom four, and three people will go home. Three people? Wow. It’s a bloodbath before the cooks even make it to the kitchen! The winning cook’s team will get Fred and Dave’s help in the kitchen for the individual challenge.
Nigella selects ham hock, sweetbreads, pig ears, and bull testicles for her sole cook, Lauren. Malarkey chooses yellowtail collar, sweetbreads, pig tongue, and lamb belly. Tony is in his happy place and picks tripe, cow tongue, sweetbreads, and pig tail. Ludo gives his kitchen oxtail, pig head, beef cheeks, and pig’s blood. It sounds delicious already.
I’m recognizing too many body parts here. There’s a pig tail getting chopped to bits, tongues, blood, balls, and everyone turns into a twelve-year-old boy. As if there wasn’t enough blood and guts going on in the kitchen, Gregg hacks up a pig’s head with a chainsaw. This is only rivaled by the disgusting display of Ludo gazing at Sarah, like a French bulldog in heat. In order to cook the pig’s head in time, Gregg cranks up the heat on the pressure cooker to “explosion.” It’s okay to be disappointed that he didn’t sustain any serious facial injuries, right?
Tony puts up Uno’s tripe with cow tongue and pig tail, Nigella chooses her only cook’s ham and lentil stew with a testicle fritter, Malarkey picks Khristianne’s pork tongue, sweetbreads, and bone marrow, and Ludo hates us all so he selects Gregg’s piggy pig’s head. The judges disappoint everyone and choose Gregg’s spoon for the win.
Once again, Team Ludo celebrates their win in the team challenge.
The cooks are given two hours to create a spoon featuring an off cut piece of meat. Gregg is making something Asian, Diane is using beef cheeks, Paul is mixing sweetbreads with too many starches, Adam’s making veal sweetbreads, Khristianne’s making sweetbreads with a veal reduction because “I had this in my baby bottle,” NinaMarie is totally grossed out and chooses veal sweetbreads, and isn’t the kitchen out of sweetbreads by now? Uno’s making a shrimp soup dumpling, and Kathy Bates Lauren (thank you for that one, Diane) is making Thai food.
And then, something wonderful happens. Gregg slices a piece of his finger off. Now, I don’t wish pain on anyone, but…if one of the cooks had to slice their finger off, I would nominate Gregg. And I’d choose his index finger. On his dominant hand.
- Diane made braised beef cheeks with turnip puree.
- Gregg cooked pho with oxtail and calf tongue.If there was some meat there it would’ve been nice….
- NinaMarie’s sweetbreads with pork skin and veal falls flat.Sweetbreads? Again?
- Adam combined Thai style sweetbreads with pork rinds and kabocha squash puree.What is it?
- Khristianne’s crispy sweetbreads and pig ear with caper beurre blanc is just like mamma used to make.Perfectly balanced. I can’t find fault with that dish.
- Uno cooked pork dumpling soup with fried shrimp heads.
- Jeff made rabbit galantine with pork and chicken livers.Sweet. Really sweet.
- Paul cooked sweetbreads with oxtail jus and celery root puree.It had a little tooth to it.
- Sarah kept it simple with liver and onions.
- Lauren cooked Thai pork cheeks and fried sweetbreads over rice.I can’t taste the protein.
How did the cooks do? Nigella’s best is Khristianne’s sweetbreads, and her worst is Adam’s sweetbreads. Ludo’s best is Jeff’s rabbit, and his worst is Uno’s soupy pork and shrimp. Malarkey’s best is Khristianne’s dish, and his worst is Lauren’s Thai disaster. Tony’s best is Uno’s pork and shrimp (which is Ludo’s worst), and his worst is Nina Marie’s veal. Khristianne earns two gold stars, so she’s this week’s winner (and is a real contender to win the entire competition).
Nina Marie, Adam, Uno, and Lauren are all up for elimination. Uno is in the odd position of having a vote for the best and worst dish. Malarkey doesn’t think shrimp embraced the challenge and Ludo didn’t like the interior of Uno’s dumplings, Adam made a mushy spoon that didn’t take a risk, Nina Marie’s dish tasted sour, and Tony held back his real criticism of Lauren’s dish because he has seen Misery too many times.
The cooks are all in denial that they’re going home, but the math never lies—three of the four cooks are goners. With a unanimous vote, Adam and NinaMarie take the long walk to the locker room. The third chop was tougher. Because Uno didn’t really tackle the challenge, the judges send her home. That means Nigella’s kitchen remains open for business with Lauren flailing about and missing the mark more often than not.
It appears that next week is the finale of The Taste, and it’s all about sexy food.