Oh, my - we certainly went off-topic just a *few* times on last week's thread, didn't we? ;-) While I'm glad the Mods let us go on all sorts of tangents last week, let's try and keep this one more on topic!
OK, we start off with the remaining chefs talking about Fabio being gone. Richard wishes Fabio had consulted with him - after all, he *does* run a burger restaurant! True that. Richard and Dale, both Season 4, are aiming to be in the Finale together, and then they're going to go head-to- head.
And they head into the TC Kitchen the next morning. Padma starts off by saying in a slightly sing-song voice "We're on our way, and everything's OK..." while the cheftestants look at her like she's lost her mind. She finishes with "Can you tell me how to get to...." and up pop the Cookie Monster, Elmo and Telly from behind a draped table to shout out "SESAME STREET!"
The Quickfire Challenge is cookie making! And who are they trying to impress? The Cookie Monster, Elmo, and Telly. Well, not the Muppets specifically....but the Muppeteers who manipulate those Muppets.
Richard says with his 2yo daughter, Elmo is like Elvis - so he can't afford to lose this one! Padma asks the Muppets for any suggestions - Elmo wants zucchini, the Cookie Monster wants chocolate chips, of course. And he wants them NOW! Padma says the prize is $5,000.
And they're off - 45 minutes to make cookies. The Muppets heckle the cheftestants with instructions and comments such as "Five Second Rule!" when Mike drops something on the floor. Mike is actually laughing so much at all of the comments. Dale's not used to being heckled and has to curb his impulse to swear at them! LOL Elmo asks what Richard has in his hand - it's a zucchini - which is what Elmo wanted and he's very happy! Dale's "cookies" are a combination of potato chips, pretzels, and chocolate - not really baking, but you go with what pops into your brain! Antonia's cookies are VERY large chocolate-chocolate chip cookies.
Judging begins...in tasting one cookie, Telly say, "I thought I tasted cardamom," and Padma says that "cardamom and cinnamon were related and from the same part of the world." Elmo said "Really?" :::::long pause::::: "TMI!" And turns and leaves that table. TOO funny! (Thanks momjamin, for the correction!)
Bottom group - Richard and Angelo
Top group - Dale and Antonia
While Antonia's cookies are great (Cookie Monster said the only ones that were ooey-gooey), Telly said they weren't the prettiest...Elmo said they looked like cow chips! LOL And Dale wins!
For the Elimination Challenge, they take over a Target store, and have to create dishes from items found in the aisles - including using the pots and pans and various cookware! They're playing for $25,000. They have 3 hours in the middle of the night to raid the store for EVERYTHING they might need - this includes food, utensils, cooking equipment - and cook for 100 Target employees. Padma tells them to leave their knives in the TC kitchen. They have to use ONLY what they can find in the store. This will be interesting!
They go absolutely nuts throughout the store - the store is so big it's hard for them to find everything they need. Mike and Angelo seem to team up to help each other...interesting move on their parts! Meanwhile, Antonia has two filled carts with absolutely EVERYTHING she could need - electronics, food, everything! Carla, however, still hasn't shopped for her food yet and the challenge is 1/3 done! Get going, Carla! Even Richard notices you haven't started cooking yet, and thinks perhaps you won't be finished!
Richard starts cooking first. Dale looks around as he's cooking and sees that the women have set up their tables nicely with flowers, tablecloths, etc. He says "I didn't realize this was a Suzy Homemaker competition!"
And EVERYONE seems to be making a soup or stew - except Antonia. However, her egg dish could be a problem in getting them all done on time! Carla's realizing that she spent too much time working on her tablescape vs. the food, and doesn't think her soup is a $25,000 soup.
Dale's tomato soup is just soup, but his steak and grilled cheese using an iron is pretty damn smart! LOL
Judges - at 3:00am service! - in addition to Padma and Tom, are Anthony Bourdain, Ming Tsai, and Thomas O'Brien, Target's Home Designer.
Richard's pork dish - Bourdain said the dish was butt ugly, but tasted good.
Dale's steak and grilled cheese got rave reviews for the good crunch on the sandwich. Bourdain said "perfect late night stoner food." :-D Ming Tsai was impressed with his using an iron to "grill" the sandwich, and said "Maybe he's trying to become an Iron Chef!" Ooooh. Bad pun!
Carla's curried soup - judges said it needed protein - which she KNEW she was missing but had spent too much time shopping for her tablescape!
Antonia's egg dish - Bourdain said it was ballsy of her to attempt 100 servings, but everyone loved it!
Tiffany - her jambalaya was considered "ok" and "fair". Mike's soup was also considered OK.
Angelo's baked potato soup was deemed too heavy, and Ming said it was WAY too salty. He asked the other judges if they'd eat a whole bowl of the soup, and everyone said no.
So who's in the high group? I think Dale and Antonia are going to be battling it out again. As for the low group, it's probably Angelo, Carla, and Mike, and I think Angelo might be on the way out. They seemed to focus most on his and Carla's soups as the worst, but Angelo's over-salting could be his death knell.
They're back in the Stew Room, and they're all exhausted. Padma comes in and asks for Dale, Antonia, and Richard - definitely the Top Group!
Richard gets kudos from Ming for cooking his protein two ways. Antonia's dish is favored by Bourdain with getting it all done, and Dale's inventiveness is highly praised. And Dale wins! A double win for him this time around!
Dale said back in the Stew Room that they want to see Carla, Tiffany and Angelo. I had two out of the three in the bottom group. Carla's soup *was* in need of protein and was too thin - Ming said it would have been a good sauce for chicken or salmon.
Angelo's salty soup was also too rich. Tiffany's jambalaya used dried spices, which Bourdain says accentuated the problems with the dish when she overused the spices.
Padma asks them if they have any final words to say before they make their decision - Tiffany is the only one who makes a statement about being from small town Beaumont, Texas, and she's honored to have cooked with all of them. They head back into the Stew Room, and Carla said "Beaumont cried again." But Angelo thinks he's heading home for too much salt.
At JT, while Tiffany's jambalaya was overspiced, it wasn't inedible. It REALLY seems to be leaning towards Angelo - but we know how the Elves work. Could this be Carla's swan song? Noooo! Please send Angelo first!
We're back....Tom reviews all of their dishes, acknowledging the difficulty of the challenge....and Padma asks Angelo to PYKAG! He realizes he lost control of the dish. They go back into the Stew Room, and his buddy, Mike, is astonished. But he gets a little Target dog as a farewell gift from Carla or Antonia. :-) A gracious farewell.
And WHAT? Fabio and Marcel are back next week? Noooooooo!