I promised you a recap of “The Taste” each week, and here are my thoughts for Tuesday nights episode. I apologize it is a couple days late, but as the saying goes…better late than never!
The Taste sharpens the contestants’ taste buds with its wine pairings episode. One may whip up a superb dish but a bad wine choice can make it dismal. After last week’s first official group and solo challenges, the remaining fourteen contestants are in no position to take their mentors’ opinions lightly.
The group challenge or what we now know as “the immunity-plus- mentorship” test is designed to pit the teams against each other. Now when you factor in opinionated and extremely confident team members, the group somehow turns into an individual race. Naturally, this happens when the ultimate goal is to choose the best from each individually-crafted dish. The pressure intensifies knowing that the guest judges/mentors are Chef David Kinch (Manresa restaurant) and sommelier Andre Mack.
Anthony Bourdaine makes his point: Chef David is one of the best in the world and wine knowledge is crucial. Each team member needs to create a dish based on five ingredients selected by Anthony, Nigella Lawson, Ludo Lefebvre (who has become my favorite mentor btw) and Brian Malarkey. Each creation needs to match the full bodied flavor of the Argentinean wine Alamas Malbec .
Both Nigella and Malarkey lost a member in their respective teams last week; they’re hoping that their choice of ingredients will give them a great comeback. Bourdaine’s choices are meaty and advices his team to work along the Argentinian flavor. Among Bourdaine’s members, Diane is openly the least thrilled; her mocking banter with Bourdain reflects her disdain. Over to Ludo’s kitchen, Sarah (food blogger) receives the most mentoring time (most likely due to her relatively limited technical experience).
Nigella’s team opts to serve Erika’s lamb chops while Malarkey oddly makes the final decision by going with Adam’s dish. Ludo decides to send Gregg’s dish if only to “shut up his mouth”. Gregg is apparently an extremely assertive individual as noted by his own mentor and a number of contestants. Fortunately for Ludo, David and Andre go for Gregg’s creation. As such, Gregg is safe from the solo challenge and earns his team the guests’ mentoring time for the solo challenge.
The elimination challenge entails four wine selections and a freehand choice of ingredients, something that brings back cheer to Diane. From Ludo’s winning team, Paul’s cooking decisions are put to test by Chef David’s suggestions. Although annoyed at what he feels is an intrusion to his skills, Paul goes along with Chef David’s idea. If not, he would have been up for an elimination vote.
Once more, Khristianne’s dish prevails for the second week in a row along with Ninamarie. During the taste test, Ludo’s least favorite dish forced him to say “if this is someone from my team, I will send him home”. Malarkey diligently writes down this statement and reminds Ludo about it after learning that the dish belongs to Shawn (from Ludo’s team). Ludo’s vote creates a unanimous decision to eliminate Shawn along with Erika. This will be Nigella’s second loss in two consecutive weeks.
The Chef’s are really starting to step up their game. Let’s see next week what’s stronger…their food or their personality? Stay tuned…