*The Mystery Box Challenge returns full of rice! As soon as our brave chefestants raise the box, a mountain of rice is revealed with a lot spilling on the floor. Getting them properly set up took a bit of stage magic (they are covered, turned over, a covering is pulled out, and you are ready to go) and of course we never see that they had to come in and clean it all up before they started cooking.
*Playing to your strengths is the best option here. Christopher’s pineapple boat looked cool. Derrick was displeased when his name was not called. Instead it was Hetal for her Indian dish and once again proved vegetarians know how to cook. Claudia did a take on a Mexican dish that was quite tasty and well received. Tommy topped them all with his jambalaya that his aunt made in a cast iron pan. It got rave reviews and earned him the win. There was a cheeky moment when Gordon said he wanted to wake up with Tommy, which brought laughter, until he corrected himself that he wanted to wake up in the morning after such a wonderful meal. Good save Gordon!
*Tommy has to decide which of the three food pairings to have his fellow cheftestants suffer through. The choices are peanut butter and jelly (Christina), ham and pineapple (Graham), and basil and tomato (Gordon). Tommy selects peanut butter and jelly, gets an automatic seat in the top ten, and gets to save two people. He can save one at the beginning and one at the end. He chooses Claudia but she declines because she wants to prove herself. Later she would tell Graham that if she failed it would haunt her. Fortunately that was not the case for her.
*So what do you do with peanut butter and jelly? Well you have to be smart about it. Dessert or savory dish? Some choose dessert and others a savory dish. The two winners show how you can do it in different ways. Hetal choose cookies while Katrina made a peanut satay and spring rolls with ponzu. Claudia did an encrusted pork chop that also was a great dish. Christopher made a tart that he thought was going to be panned. Christina though showed how good it was and complimented him. It was a real boost to his morale.
*Shelly Forgets Something Important
Several seasons back Dave Martinez won the Mystery Box Challenge and chose rice as the dish for the elimination. Then he did something amazingly stupid: he forgot the rice. He had to go begging from the other contestants. Though he got rice, the dish was panned especially by Joe. Shelly did not choose the ingredients but she knew the essentials were peanut butter and jelly. Oops. Big oops. So there she stands at her station with none of the core ingredients. Amazingly she manages to get them from others and proceeds to make spring rolls that visually are unappetizing and taste much worse.
*Sara, The Not So Good Baker
Sara, who is considered one of the top bakers on the show, botched it with her Peanut Butter and Jelly Tart with peanut butter pastry cream. The problem was that the peanut butter was folded into the pastry cream muting whatever flavor it might have added to the dish. To say Gordon was disappointed was an understatement. He pointed out it was the first dish he tasted that night in which did not taste peanut butter. She disagreed saying that to her it tasted like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Gordon roles his eyes at this and says there is no peanut butter in there. She says there is and Gordon dissects the dish and shows that hardly any peanut butter can be seen. It is possible she choose a very neutral peanut butter (one that is low in sugar and salt) that resulted in a diminished flavor profile. My guess is that she measured in too tiny an amount. The result was underwhelming. Graham is a bit less pointed but noted the tart shell was thick and undercooked that when you got the entire bite you did not get the peanut butter and jelly explosion in the mouth. Sara still defends by saying it was not bad. I think this is a case of both arrogance and complacency. She could not tell the defects because she believes her dishes are perfect.
*Shelly and Sara face the chop but the judges think Shelly has more to learn. Sara gets the chop and heads home.
1. The Top
Katrina-She really excelled in this episode and showed some real cooking chops with her peanut satay and spring rolls dish. So she moves up from the bottom right to the top.
Hetal-Once again she showed her abilities both in the Mystery Box and Elimination challenges. She is really a serious contender for the top four and top two right now.
Tommy-He really brought it with his jambalaya. He may be known for fashion designs, but may have a second career with a restaurant. And his jambalaya recipe gets him national attention in the September issue of Family Circle.
Claudia-Anyone who can pull off a pork chop the way she did deserves being in the top tier.
2. The Middle
Christopher moves up from the wildcard position. He really made an impression with his tart.
Olivia & Stephen-We assume since that since their dishes were not shown in the elimination challenge they were acceptable though not exceptional enough to warrant their inclusion in the broadcast.
Derrick-He did nothing exceptional either in this episode.
3. The Bottom
Shelly took a major tumble this week. She really needs to step it up fast or end up out the door sooner rather than later.
This week the wildcard position goes to Nick. He choose the save so we will never know how his elimination dish would have fared. However if Tommy thought it looked bad, he was lucky to get the save.
Next week: Cattle call. Literally. Our brave cheftestants will be feeding a hungry group of cattle herders (otherwise known as cowboys). Lots of field work there and challenges galore. Will Hetal be able to lead a team to victory when the main ingredient on the menu will be meat? Will Stephen finally loose his mind needing a quiet space to relax?