Okay, let’s see if we can do this one.
Please note – I’m off to Israel tomorrow night, and I won’t be home until NEXT Wednesday night.
But. This is a fairly high level competition, or is pretending to be that. We have a number of Food Channel chefs – Anne Burrel and her skirts, Robert Irvine, plus Spike Mendelsohn from Top Chef, and Marcus Samuelsson, who is one of the great chefs and who won Top Chef Masters, as well as Elizabeth Faulkner, who competed on Top Chef Masters, and whom I remember for baking cookies while waiting for a verdict. There’s also several chefs who competed on Iron Chef (often beating Bobby Flay – Michael Chiarello, Geoffrey Zakarian, Chuck Hughes, Beau MacMillan, and Alex Guarnaschelli. The show calls them Chef Lastname except for Chef Spike, so I will do the same. I guess Chef Spike chose that himself.
There are two challenges per episode – one Chairman’s Challenge, and one sudden-death secret ingredient face-off between the bottom two.
The first challenge is a partner challenge. They drew matches and Chef Spike got the red tip, so he got to not only choose his own partner (Chef Samuelsson) but also to pair the others – Chefs Burrel and Irvine, Chefs Chiarello and Hughes, Chefs Guarnaschelli and Faulkner, Chefs Zakarian and MacMillan.
They’re taken to a wilderness with a lovely clear lake and told the challenge is Fire and Meat. The meat is whole piggies, the fire is a wood fire pit. They have to build their fires and butcher their pigs and use the resources available to make two dishes per team. They all have problems – Chef MacMillan twists an ankle, Chef Guarnaschelli burns a pork leg, two teams manage to not get crispy skin, and one produced underdone chops (although that’s not a problem healthwise.) There are panic attacks and trips to forage wild greens and one team even uses the lake water.
The judges are Michael Symon, Judy Joo (Iron Chef UK) and food traveler Simon Majumdar. They taste all the dishes and tear them apart – some they love, some they don’t, and in the end, the winners are Chefs Zakarian and MacMillan, for producing delicious foods with perfect technique despite the conditions. The losers were Chefs Spike and Samuelsson.
It’s a Halloween challenge. One is a trick, one is a treat, and they both have to choose the same one. They got diver sea scallops, not canned tuna.
½ hour to prepare one dish. Cheered on by the others. Chef Samuelsson makes a duo. Chef Spike is making a one dish, and has problems with pressure cooker.
Chef Spike made scalloped sofrito. The judges liked it a lot.
Chef Samuelsson made scallop corn miso soup and seared scallop with porcini. Duos are dangerous. The judges also love it.
Chef Samuelsson survives. I’m not surprised. He’s Marcus Samuelsson. No way does Spike Mendelsohn beat him – and he came close. And I won’t have to write Chef Spike anymore.
No judgment on the food because I haven’t eaten pork or shellfish in twenty years.