Notes on episode 5:
- The first challenge was even more inane than usual. Asking a cook to describe someone else’s dish and then docking them for not guessing all the ingredients correctly is more than a little absurd. At the end, the judges criticized a few contestants for not “owning” the dishes, or “taking ownership.” Hey, news flash, they didn’t cook the dishes they were describing. I have more ownership of the Taj Mahal than they had of those dishes.
- Cat Cora is a verbal train wreck – “your describing skills,” “the reason I’ve chose you” – and I’ve seen shorter roots on a hundred-year-old tree. Having her judge the candidates on presentation was not a good decision. Seriously, when Aaron said “coq de vin,” I’m sure she thought, “Yeah, that’s right.”
- Adam’s decision-making sucked; bone-in chicken breasts can be cooked in 45 minutes in an oven, but not on a grill, and polenta takes a solid 45 just to cook, plus a few minutes to finish it.
- The key to the second challenge was deconstruction. For the coq au vin, I would have done roasted chicken breasts wrapped in some form of cured pork (probably bacon or pancetta) with a sauce of red wine, butter, shallots, and thyme. Lisa’s idea of duck confit for the turducken was great, as was using a poultry sausage, although I would have used the sausage gambit to get credit for chicken, which has the least flavor of the three meats involved.
- “I can’t believe that happened” â€¦ no, Jen, I can’t believe YOU did that. Who the hell bangs a glass jar on a cooktop – or ANYWHERE – to get it open? You have heat sources everywhere. Run the lid under hot water for ten seconds. It’s not that hard. If she bangs glass jars all the time, I’m surprised she has any blood left in her system.
- The complaint about the white onions and beige pastry was the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard in my life. I cancelled my Bon Appetit subscription four or five years ago because their recipes were slipping, and this is probably why: They care more about colors clashing on the plate than, you know, how the freaking food tastes. Unbelievable. I’m not sure what world they live in; maybe a world where Andrew’s hair is actually stylish.
- Shane and Kelsey won this in a walk; I have to give Shane credit for coming off as older than nineteen every time he’s on camera. Still not sure I could stand 22 minutes of Kelsey.
- The judge who made the point (to Aaron, I believe) about self-editing was spot on: You can’t do that while you’re on camera. It’s not writing, where you can go back, delete, re-word, and so on. You have to just keep going, even if what you just said was wrong or stupid or boxed you into a corner. Fight your way out if you have to, but don’t stop or pause or think about what you just said. The camera is still rolling while you think.