Reprinted with permission from www.healthywaytocook.com
It’s the semi-finals! Three of the seven cooks are going home, and no more immunity. Today’s guest judge is restaurateur Ingrid Hoffmann, who will judge the Team Challenge and mentor the team of the winning cook for the Individual Challenge.
The mentors choose five sexy ingredients, and the cooks must use one as the main ingredient in a sensuous spoonful. Nigella selects figs, pancetta, sea salt, sambuca, and beef for her sole cook Kathy Bates Lauren. Anthony chooses caviar, prosciutto, buckwheat flour, truffles, and prawns to get Diane’s juices flowing. Ludo picks lobster, dover sole, champagne, caviar, and truffles for his three-person team, and Malarkey gives Khristianne and Jeff oysters, lobster, caviar, abalone, and grapes.
Malarkey puts up Jeff’s spoon, which is oyster with passionfruit and caviar. Ingrid finds it to be nice and soft and fresh. The next spoon is Diane’s grilled prawn with butter bisque and shaved truffle. Ingrid couldn’t quite place the sauce. After a session of bedroom eyes, Ludo chooses Sarah’s spoonful of panna cotta with caviar and caramel sauce. Ingrid is not a fan of caramel, but thinks that it has a nice spicy kick at the back. Kathy Bates Lauren loads up a spoon with Italian kisses with blackberry and chocolate sauce. Ingrid calls it interesting, but is confused about the protein. Ingrid selects Sarah’s panna cotta as the sexiest spoonful, which is Team Ludo’s fourth win in a row. That makes Ludo a good mentor, but it does not necessarily make his team good cooks.
The cooks have one hour to make the most seductive spoons of their lives, and pair them with a beverage. Chocolate, octopus stew, Bourdain doesn’t find desserts sexy, uni, caviar, Nigella likes it a little rough, mussels, sashimi, artichoke, mouth explosions, broth, pasta, and deep fried butter. Somehow, the cooks turned all of that into sexy little spoonfuls.
- Jeff prepared snapper and uni sashimi with a sake gimlet. “I was looking for a higher bar.”
- Lauren made a spicy octopus stew with tequila. Note to self: corn chips are not sexy.
- Diane serves up a chocolate pate with cherries and a glass of Malbec. “First it’s the champagne and oysters, and then it’s the chocolate, and then it’s time to go get a little bang bang bang bang.”
- Paul made king crab, artichoke and octopus with a verbena champagne cocktail. “If you’re gonna do octopus, you’d better nail it.”
- Khristianne cooked uni, king crab and egg 63 with champagne. “I’m a big nasty slut, take me now.”
- Gregg prepared caviar and uni butter pasta with champagne. “Plump, semi-engorged sacs of eggs, who doesn’t like them?”
- Sarah cooked mussels with leeks and sangria. “The drink is absolutely wrong.”
Gregg and Sarah are safe and are in the finals. Tony’s best is, unsurprisingly, Khristianne’s uni, and his worst is Paul’s octopus. Malarkey’s best is also Khristianne’s uni, and his worst is Lauren’s stew. Nigella’s best is Jeff’s sashimi, and her worst is Diane’s chocolate bang bang. Ludo’s best is Khristianne’s uni, and his worst is Jeff’s sashimi.
A stunned Khristianne gets three of the four judges’ votes for best dish.
Conveniently, that puts one cook from each of the four kitchens on the chopping block. After gushing over Khristianne’s dish, the judges unanimously send Paul and Lauren home, or wherever failed reality television contestants go. And between Diane and Jeff, the judges decide to give the last spot in the finals to Diane and cut Jeff. Next week is the finals, with Gregg, Sarah, Khristianne, and Diane all competing for…I don’t even remember. Probably a set of steak knives and a year’s supply of Turtle Wax.