The Taste Season 2, Ep. 5: Eat Yer Veggies

The Taste Season 2 Episode 5-1

Today’s challenge is a vegetarian challenge, which does not sit well with Team Bourdain. But he will solider on, broccoli and all.

Dairy and eggs are acceptable, but no meat or fish. The guest mentor is Yotam Ottolenghi, the only vegetarian chef whose food Tony doesn’t want to spit out.  Bourdain challenges his team to make pasta with veggies, Marcus has his team cook root to tip vegetables, Nigella challenges her lone cook to make a curry, and Ludo asks his kitchen to showcase just one vegetable.

Jacqueline is having some serious timing issues, so that spoon should be special. Ludo’s kitchen is a little scattered, with Marina chopping way too many vegetables for a one-vegetable showcase. Tony entertains the idea of having a burger delivered, and I think I heard his heart break a little bit when he said, “do you maybe need more kale?” and Marcus is more determined than ever to keep the remainder of his team intact.Marcus puts up Sarah’s dish, finally. Ludo gives Louise a chance, Nigella has no choice but to put up whatever slop Jacqueline tosses together, and Anthony…did he try to sneak meat onto his spoon? Yotam enjoys the crunch of Sarah’s radish salad, but the creaminess destroys the freshness of the salad.  Shellie’s vegetable parmesan toasted pasta “hits the mark.” Louise’s glazed carrot with preserved lemon yogurt and chickpeas is “very interesting…really kind of kicks you in the gut, it’s good.” And now, Jacqueline’s signature hot mess.  It’s vegetable curry soup, and Yotam says it’s “very very nice.”
The Taste Season 2 Episode 5-2

Um, where did Jacqueline go? She said that she needed to gab a paper towel, but did she just crack open a beer? The show must go on, and the best dish is from Ludo’s kitchen. A close second is Nigella’s kitchen, with her absentee cook. Tony’s kitchen is in second, and Marcus is the losing kitchen. That means either Shehu or Sarah must go home. But wait! There’s a stay of execution! Jacqueline withdrew from the competition because she’s nuttier than a nut farm inside of a loony bin, So Marcus does not have to send anyone home and Nigella gets to chill the heck out for the rest of the competition.

Ugh, they’re giving Shehu the loser’s cut, complete with footage of him cooking for his (adorable) daughter. Meanwhile, Tony’s team is mocking Brad for thinking ratatouille is an Italian dish when anyone who has ever seen a Disney movie knows that it’s French. Ludo’s kitchen is extra special with the guest mentor’s help, plus Marina built her own smoker out of bamboo steamers. Oh she’s good. Do I smell something burning? Yup. Sarah’s walnuts. Whoops.
The Taste Season 2 Episode 5-3

Bring out the spoons! Here’s what the chefs did with a bunch of vegetables:

Dana’s spaghetti squash salad with tomatoes and eggplant: The judges can’t place the “pasta,” or identify the vegetables and missed a bit of crunch.

Sarah’s pickled beet stems and leaf salad: Nigella likes the sweetness of the corn, even though the dish contains absolutely no corn whatsoever.

Brad’s vegetable ratatouille with tomato jam and radicchio: oily, bitter, good, mixed reviews.

Shehu’s potato gnocchi: nobody understands what it is, but it was “pleasant.”

Shellie’s asparagus with asparagus and asparagus: “There’s all sorts of veggie action going on.”

Marina’s smoked feta cheese and eggplant rolls: It’s smoky, and Ludo likes smoky.

Lee’s saag paneer: “It’s not my dream texture, but the flavor was right there.”

Jeff’s braised carrots and turnips: Ludo is about ready to vomit.

Louise’s roasted beet salad with avocado and toasted walnuts: Tony loves it and doesn’t feel an urge to add meat.

The Taste Season 2 Episode 5-4

Bourdain and Nigella’s best dish is from Louise, Marcus’s best dish is from Sarah, Ludo’s best dish is cooked by Lee. Bourdain and Nigella’s worst dish is from Dana, and Marcus and Ludo’s worst dish is from Jeff. Dana doesn’t even try to argue her case, instead deferring to the judges’ decision. Jeff also has three gold stars to Dana’s zero gold stars, so…this seems like a pretty easy decision. Tony puts Dana out of her misery and sends her home.

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