I’m a little late to the party because I was making some Asian stirfry that relies heavily on soy sauce only to discover too late I do not have any soy sauce so I had to get creative. It’s weird tasting but not really bad. Red cabbage is good in almost anything.
Everyone is happy that Brother came and left in one episode and “the band is back together.” Eddie got a phone call home scene where he is Facetiming his son. This is often the kiss of death.
At the quickfire challenge, award-winning actress, Lena Waithe, is there as the guest judge. Apparently she is a Bravo fan. She was also on WWHL recently. She says that when she travels her day often wraps late and she eats the local late night fattening foods. The challenge is to make a Kentucky staple, the hot brown. Justin has hot browns on both menus at his two restaurants. He plans to win. A hot brown is an open-faced turkey sandwich with bacon and a delicate Mornay sauce. Yes, please. I will trade you some oddly seasoned red cabbage, onion, carrot and water chestnut stirfry with shrimp. Sara, who is from Kentucky has a hot brown on her menu too. It’s called the Hot Damn Hot Brown. This is going to be a slugfest. Sorry yankees, this is not your challenge.
Kelsey is making a croque madame that she discovered in Paris. It’s ham and cheese sandwich that is fried at some cafes and baked at others. It’s kind of a grilled cheese with ham and the cheese varies but all French cheese is good cheese. The madame version has a fried egg on top. When I go to Paris I eat my weight in croque monsieurs which is the same thing without the egg. They are in every single hole in the wall spot in Paris and they are delicious and cheap which is good because my hotel is a bit pricey.
Sara, DID NOT GET HER SECOND SANDWICH ON THE PLATE! The Kentucky chef is disqualified! Justin’s Kentucky Fried Hot Brown looks amazing. He had me at gouda. Eddie’s didn’t have enough bacon. Fatal mistake. Brian’s turkey was a bit dry. Lena is not a fan of white meat. That made me giggle. Brandon missed the whole concept and had vegetables in his like it was some sort of freaking health food. Kelsey didn’t meet the rules of the assignment which I believe was bread, turkey, sauce served in a skillet. She didn’t have a sauce which is like THE most important part of the sandwich.
Sara, Brian and Kelsey were on the bottom. Justin, Eddie, and Adrienne were the top three. Justin won the quickfire. Justin was very emotional about the win and hugged Lena who heaped on the praise.
For the elimination round, Chef Nancy Silverton arrives to announce it is a beef challenge they draw knives for their cuts of meat. They have entire sides of meat that need to be broken down so famous Italian butcher Dario Cecchini gives them a demonstration. Brian is particularly impressed by his credentials since he is a butcher. They don’t have much time at all to choose their ingredients. Just ten minutes in the pantry that includes some special local items this time, and half an hour and $100 in Whole Foods. The pantry shopping starts now so they have to decide in seconds what they will be serving a group of local farmers the next day.
Adrienne lives on a farm and wants to do a black and blue steak with local blue cheese and blackberries. She’s a pretty smart chef. Kentucky Sara on the other hand, doesn’t seem to have her head in the game despite her husband being a cattle rancher. She wants to make sausage but doesn’t know if she can? Has she given up after losing the quickfire? Get it together, homegirl! Eddie is also a huge fan of Dario and very excited to see his butchery. Justin has flank steak which isn’t a great cut. Two guys are doing steak tartare, Brandon and David. It’s a face off and David is more confident than Brandon.
The guys fangirl out as Dario butchers half a cow while yelling, “Carne!” They are mesmerized by this Italian dud. The chefs grab the cut of meat they drew and then have to butcher that down into portions. It’s quite a workout for some cuts. Brian is hacking up his prime rib. The guys doing tartares for this challenge are idiots. Eric’s cut is “the head” which will be beef cheeks and tongue. This will either win or lose, I don’t see middle ground here. Sara’s cut isn’t a lot of meat, that was her concern about making sausage. But she did it anyway. Eddie is doing a Polish dish that should be wrapped in cabbage but he is substituting local Kentucky romaine. I’m not chef but I don’t think those two things are interchangeable. Tom arrives to tell the tartare guys they are fucking up. Brandon especially he has New York Strip! Brian is doing a rosette of ribeye cap, with a raspberry vinaigrette.
Brandon is having trouble with his tartare and uses xanthan gum to thicken it. EW! He could be going home. He will be in the bottom for sure. He and David are up first with the head to head tartare dishes. They all hate Brandon’s dish for multiple reasons. David’s isn’t much better. I told you so!
Justin’s flank steak is up against Adrienne’s locally inspired black and blue steak. They both sound like winners to me. I was right. The locals love the black and blue.
Sara’s sausages didn’t come out well. I am not shocked. She is up against Brian’s ribeye that I imagine will be great. The sausage was a miss. Brian’s ribeye was not well received either.
Michelle’s braised beef chuck over grits is presented rather reluctantly. She better know how to make grits if she going to serve the to locals. Eddie brisket stuffed romaine leaf never sounded like a good idea to me. Surprisingly, they loved Eddie’s brisket both in English and in Italian. This will thrill Eddie. As for Michelle, Dario says her meat is try, and the Chef Nancy Silveron used the word “coagulated” when describing the grits. Oh my.
Eric is in trouble with his beef cheeks and knows going out they are not braised all the way. In defense of my man, he had a really difficult cut to work with in the time allowed. Kelsey’s shank dish over carrot and saffron grits looks amazing. I trust her grits are perfection. The judges hate that he made “tongue mousse” Oh Eric, you better hope you stay in the middle. The judges were not pleased with the grits because she said they had carrot and all they tasted was the saffron. The Italian guy said over all, speaking of the entire group, the challenge was to cherish the beef and he wished they had done more down to earth dishes focused on the beef without all of the other frou-frou stuff.
Tom says there were a lot of missed opportunities and the judges were disappointed over all. However, the top three were great and they were Justin, Adrienne and Eddie. Eddie won with the stuffed romaine. And he got a signed apron from Dario and he gets to work with Dario in his butcher shop in Tuscany for a week. He’s definitely going to cry. Brian looks like he is going to cry too.
To make matters worse, Brian is in the bottom with Sara and Brandon. I doubt he goes home though the other two had terrible dishes. Sara cries for screwing up a beef challenge considering she and her husband raise cows. Brandon has to be going, he’s arguing about there being too much grape seed oil with Tom when he said himself he put too much in. Then he blurts out that he used xanthan gum to thicken it! I think xanthan gum is one of those ingredients that keeps your product out of Whole Foods. Even I know better than this. The judges jaws drop. This is an easy decision.
Brandon is out.
Next week: The chefs go to Lake Cumberland, the houseboat capital of the world. And Captain Lee is there! YAY. Oh, and Captain Sandy is also there. They cook on a houseboat and the power goes out. Adrienne gets really sick. No! Adrienne is doing so well!