"Imagine if a musician could find a new note, or if a painter could discover a new primary color, the possibilities would be endless. Well this is what it is like for a chef when they find a new flavor"- Raymond Blanc
Raymond surprises me every week with his quotes. He shows more passion and love for food than most celebrity chefs. He tells the couples they will be out of their comfort zone, He wants them to cook different cuisines of the world this week at their restaurants. This idea excited me, but also made me nervous. Let me tell you why.
As you may know from reading my blog, I LOVE trying new foods from all over the world. I try and cook things from many different countries to learn about their flavors and cultures. I am continually shocked on reality shows when people say "I have never cooked with _____ before." It happens on top chef all the time! I would think that if I was going to be on top chef, or any cooking reality show for that matter, I would prepare myself and check out some exotic ingredients in the months before the show. I have cooked with many of the ingredients, techniques, and cuisines people commonly say they haven't used on shows like this, and even with all this knowledge, I still think that I could never do well on a show like that. Ranting aside, the top chef crew are 10 times more accomplished in the kitchen than Last Restaurant Standing couples. This caused me to be nervous about the couples trying out new cuisines!
I was thinking that they eat a lot of curries in the UK, so I was expecting an Indian food, maybe Irish, and French, stuff that they would be more comfortable cooking. The first 3 flags did not surprise me; Sweden, Spain, and France, all within 600 miles of the UK. Then I see Japan. Ok, a bit further but still a popular type of food and very simple clean flavors. Mexico was a tricky one. The Mexican food most people know is not truly authentic Mexican. Finally, the main curveball thrown by Ray was Thai. He gave Thai food to the least capable cook in the competition!
Helen of course freaked out about the Thai food. She says it's the only type of food she doesn't like. In the world. Somehow I do not believe this statement. Stephen does his usual stern talking when Helen freaks out and immediately she is on track coming up with ideas for Thai basil on her chicken skewers. Helen is shocked by the differences in Thai basil and regular basil in the kitchen. I first thought this would foreshadow her starting the like the smells and flavors, because I was reminded of Mandi and me when we first made a green curry, hypnotized by the smells in our kitchen. Unfortunatly, this was not the case. Sarah says where Helens normal menu is bad, her normal menu infused with wannabe Thai flavors is REALLY bad. Look at this picture of a Thai girl trying to choke down the food and look happy about it on camera.
Alasdair and James (Jalasdair) know they have to really do French food well since it is Raymond's home. The judges always say that they lack attention to detail, so they decide to write their menu in French to show everyone just how much attention to detail they have! But they forgot to pay attention to that one minor detail that neither of them know French. The French people that Raymond sends to the gallery are in stitches laughing so hard and the terribly written menu. Ray is pretty upset by this, but it isn't enough to send them to the challenge.
The Cheerful Soul
Not much camera time, but we do know that they got reindeer and that it was delicious. I guess Sweedes eat a lot of reindeer? This is enough for them to win best restaurant of the week, but I think it's mainly cause everyone else sucked.
In the Challenge next week
Lindsie is having a really hard time this week
spelling her own name worrying about her baby at home. Tim pulls one of the best reverse psychology passive aggressive moves in the history of reality shows when he says fine lets quit! You actually think they will quit for a while but Lindsie says "I miss my babie, but to give in todaie after how far we have come would be a travastie." The Japanese people seem to like the food, but Ray wants to test them since they almost quit. He says he is proud of their pivotal moment, and wants them to tear it up in the challenge. Watch out Tim! Lindsie might counter your move by throwing the challenge so she can go home and see her baby!
The Welsh Wok
We first see a close up on a Google results page for "Spanish Recipes" which anyone who knows anything about the internet food world would know is not the best way to get actual Spanish recipes. (Would people be interested on a post about best ways to find recipes online? I have some great tips.) When they don't have much luck, they start asking the sous chefs. They keep saying Paaay-ELLA and it is getting on my nerves. We all cringe as the sous chef is running the kitchen and calling out orders while peter cowers in the corner and Laura asks what's wrong 8 times. Raymond says they have a decent night, but if you aren't in charge of your kitchen, you are in the challenge.
What to say about Caroline and Chris? Just when I was starting to like them last week, they proceed to have a dismal, dismal, dismal night at their restaurant. We see them looking at the Wikipedia Page of Mexican Cuisine (MUCH BETTER START!) for ideas. Chris then burns off all his arm hair on their oven (I can relate) and decides it is broken and they will serve a cold buffet and margaritas for dinner. They have cheesy decorations and sombreros everywhere and I worry that they are veering into the fake Mexican territory I mentioned earlier. All the guests cough when they taste Chris's Margarita because of how strong it is. That's ok because a proper margarita is pretty strong. Suddenly we see the food and all I can make out is a weird soggy white potato dish. The Mexicans say that the food doesn't have anything to do with Mexico and I am relieved that they didn't go the fake Mexican route, but rather the not Mexican at all route! They could have easily made quac and salsas on this cold buffet and gotten SOME points. Ray was impressed that they thought on their feet and still opened with the broken oven, but too bad they failed miserably. He doesn't think they have the professionalism needed to work with him and for that they are in the challenge!
Before the show ends, Raymond reminds everyone that the challenge is not a punishment, it is a way to build character, get experience, and show Ray what you are really made of! I liked this episode a lot. What did you guys think?????