I do believe gumbo is on the menu tonight! Then perhaps a visit to a food truck. :-)
We start back in the Stew Room as they hash out who went home. And then Padma walks in. She tells them it's time for their first Quickfire! Yup, it's gumbo - they are to make a gumbo inspired by their heritage. They'll get a lot more time to make the gumbo - they get to start their gumbo back at the house, and will have 15 minutes back in the TC kitchen the next day to finish the dish.
Leah Chase, chef/owner of Dooky Chase, is the guest judge, and the winner will get immunity in the Elimination Challenge. They start at 10:30 p.m. and there are crockpots everywhere in the kitchen and throughout the house. The roux that is being made by various chefs are gloriously dark and beautifully smooth. Michael Sichel from Galatoire's doesn't like his gumbo and dumps the entire thing at 1:30 a.m.
The next morning, they take their crockpots and get into the TC kitchen to finish their gumbo. They are still plating as Padma helps Leah Chase into the kitchen.
Michael - Drunken Chicken Gumbo with Dirty Rice
Shirley - Braised Pork Belly Gumbo with Mexican Rice & Italian Salad
Janine - Australian Curry Gumbo with Macadamia Nuts & Coconut Milk
Aaron - Hot & Sour Asian-Syle Gumbo with Prawns & Sushi Rice (Leah teaches Padma how to eat the whole prawn, including the head)
Justin - Pork Rib Gumbo with Okra, Shrimp & Deviled Egg
Patty - Puerto Rican Mofongo Style Gumbo with Sofrito & Pork Belly
Bret - New England & Miami Inspired GUmbo with Fried Clams & Butter-Poached Lobster
Carrie - Iowan-Trinidadian Gumbo with Coconut, Green Mango & Corn Crumble (Leah says "interesting" to the dark forest green gumbo, and Padma just raises her eyebrows)
Carlos - Albondigas Chipotle Gumbo with Bone Marrow
Jason - Polish Inspired Gumbo with Whipped Potato, Cabbage & Shaved Beets
Nina - Plantain & Yuca Based Gumbo with Poached Egg
Louis - Moroccan-Inspired Gumbo with Lamb Shank, Root Vegetables & Sumac
Sara - Crab & Silken Tofu Gumbo with Toasted Forbidden Rice
(Looks like we didn't see gumbo from Brian, Bene, Nicholas, Travis, and Stephanie.)
Least Favorites - Jason, Michael, Patty
Favorites - Aaron, Carrie, Shirley
The winner is Carrie's - and she thought her dish was disliked by both Leah and Padma!
Now it's Elimination Challenge time. NOLA chef, Susan Spicer, arrives to join Leah and Padma. Padma said that New Orleans is a food town, and it's also constantly evolving, and that's led to food trucks becoming very prevalent. They'll work as teams to create a menu for their truck. They'll be feeding volunteers for Habitat for Humanity who are continuing to help rebuild New Orleans after Katrina.
Leah said they lost everything, and any truck with food was warmly greeted by everyone helping to rebuild. Leah was 83 years old when Hurricane Katrina hit, and people said she should quit. She said the Pope quit, but there was a lot of work still to be done, so she continued.
Padma divided them into 4 teams - two of 5 people, two of 4 people, and sent them outside to their food trucks.
YELLOW TEAM - Aaron, Carlos, Travis, Carrie & Brian
CONCEPT - a Taco Truck
BLUE TEAM - Jason, Patty, Nicholas & Bret
CONCEPT - the Surf Truck (seafood)
GREEN TEAM - Louis, Sara, Shirley & Stephanie
CONCEPT - Mediterranean
RED TEAM - Justin, Bene, Janine, Michael & Nina
CONCEPT - South Florida & Caribbean (I think; never got a real good idea as they were all over the map with a "concept" - harbinger of things to come?). Bene gets ignored with all of his ideas (which were just as all over the map)
They head off to Whole Foods to shop - 30 minutes, $1,500 to spend. Back to the house for a night off. Michael starts a crawfish boil - and Jason throws one into the pool and names him Rocky.
They have 2 hours to cook, and the trucks show up at two work sites. Bene continues to be pushed aside by the chefs on his team. Over at the other site, Nicholas and Jason on the Blue team are making sure that dishes aren't overthought by Patty and Bret. Jason will be a front person, so he makes the decision to roll his salmon roll ahead of time. Jason talks to some of the women who lived in the 9th Ward and are helping out via Habitat for Humanity because they were helped by others.
Padma, Tom, Gail and Susan are walking through the area that's being worked on, and Padma notes it's great that people are still volunteering to help. Gail says that there are still 50,000 houses to be rebuilt. Padma and Susan head to one work site, Tom and Gail head over to the other one.
YELLOW TEAM - TACO TRUCK:
1. Travis & Brian - Dorado & Shrimp Ceviche with Tomato
2. Carrie & Aaron - Beef & Pork Curry Empanadas with Watercress & Mango
3. Carlos & Aaron - Tilapia Tacos with Chipotle Aioli & Cabbage
Padma & Susan liked Carrie's empanada dough and Brian's ice cold ceviche.
BLUE TEAM - SURF TRUCK:
1. Jason - Salmon Hand Roll with Quinoa, Honey Mustard Miso & Cucumber
2. Nicholas - Grilled Shrimp with Melon-Sungold Salad & Crushed Wasabi Peas
3. Bret - Coconut Ceviche with Red Snapper & Bay Scallops
4. Patty - Tuna Slider with Crispy Pancetta, Avocado & Tomato
Tom is wondering why the hand roll was made so far in advance, as it should still be crispy and Jason's isn't. Gail said Bret's not-so-cold ceviche with piping hot plantains is odd, and Tom said it wasn't well seasoned. Patty's slider wasn't easy to eat, and Tom said he's not sure he'd use a tomato out of season. Then they show Patty saying "It's a simple slider, but it's executed perfectly." Ummm......
RED TEAM - SOUTHERN & CARIBBEAN
1. Janine - Green Gazpacho with Pickled Shrimp
2. Justin - Lobster & Crab Fritters with Corn Puree & Bacon Jam
3. Nina & Bene - Jerk Chicken Sandwich with Mango & Crispy Plantains
4. Michael - Ricotta with Burnt Honey, Stone Fruit & Toasted Coconut
Lot of ginger in Janine's soup, but it was enjoyed. Justin's fritters were really enjoyed - Tom said the batter extras looked like funnel cake. Michael's ricotta dessert was really enjoyed.
GREEN TEAM - MEDITERRANEAN
1. Stephanie - Crispy Chickpeas with Watercress & Radish Salad
2. Sara - Tuna Burger with Sprouts, Avocado & Watermelon Rind Pickles
3. Shirley - Spicy Lamb Salad with Cucumber & Asian Pear
4. Louis - helped with everything and did the chilled watermelon amuse bouche
Padma liked the falafel, and thought the tuna burger could use some salt, although other diners seemed to like it. Susan liked the lamb dish as well.
It ended with Tom and Gail back at the Yellow Team's Taco truck, so it *looks* like all of the judges got to try all of the trucks' food dishes. The TV comes on in the Stew Room so they can watch what the judges thought of their dishes. The Yellow and Green Teams' dishes had the favorite dishes, and the Red and Blue Teams had dishes that weren't cohesive or were made to be "easy", as Tom said.
Padma comes in to the Stew Room to tell the Yellow Team they won the challenge. They go to Judges Table to hear the overall reviews (impressed with Carrie's dough made on the truck, Aaron's empanada filling, and Carlos's lightly battered tilapia for the fish taco). Susan Spicer says that the one outstanding dish that showed a clear understanding of technique and was very appropriate for this challenge - Carrie's empanada! She gets a double win. Tom tells Aaron that the filling was great, but the pastry was what made it stand out.
The Blue Team is sent in as the bottom group. Before they go in, Jason said "If they're constructive, I'll be nice. If they're rude, I'll be rude back!" Oh yeah - like THAT always does a cheftestant well in front of the judges! Eeesh.
Padma asked how they thought they did, and Bret was surprised they were there. He had heard that other teams ran out of food, and the Blue Team had more than enough food to serve. But Tom and Padma noted that that was a *problem*, not a good thing, as the diners were going back for seconds for the winning truck's dishes, even though everyone was making the same number of dishes.
Gail told Bret his piping hot tostone that was too hot, so it warmed the ceviche.
Tom asked Jason what he likes when he gets a hand roll, and Jason responds "Crisp, refreshing, and you can eat it with your hands." Tom asked if he delivered, and Jason said he did not. Jason said he realized he should have rolled them to order, and he did so so he could interact with the guests. Susan asked why he sacrificed his dish to stand out front, and Bret said when it was decided to be a Surf Truck, Jason said he looks like a surfer. Padma and Susan laugh. Tom asked if Jason knew it would hurt the dish by pre-rolling, and he replied no, he didn't. (Ummm, didn't he say before service that he realized that the rolls were losing their crispness?) Patty got called out for a not-in-season tomato on her tuna slider.
The judges rip into all the dishes after the Blue Team leaves - each dish has an issue with it and it could be anyone going home (although I think Nicholas is the safest).
Decision time (after the :::whooshing camera close-ups::::) - Padma tells Jason to pack his knives and go! (Patty just squeaks by yet AGAIN.) Jason says in the confessional that he thought he would be Top 5. He says he's not a good loser; he's bitter and angry, so that will fuel him to fight his way back to the top in Last Chance Kitchen.
Previews show a knife draw, and it's an Elimination Quickfire, and they'll be at Commander's Palace. And that's all she wrote for this episode. Time to hit Post and then do some proofreading before heading to bed. Night all!
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