HK14: Blind Taste Test

Not a season goes by without a …Compete Again episode like this one, “8 Chefs Compete Again.”  This episode features another seasonal tradition: the 14th annual blind taste test challenge!  They’ve brought back a recent twist, the teammate dunk tank– 2 correct guesses out of 4 keeps the teammate dry.  The chefs seem to do better this season than seasons past, but the ingredients also seemed pretty easy.  Here’s how it goes down:

Michelle and Meghan sit atop the dunk tank as T and Milly taste to keep their respective teammates dry.

  • Chicken | T guesses turkey, but Milly gets it!
  • Apple | T guesses pear, but Milly gets it right, assuring Meghan will stay dry.
  • Carrot | Both T and Milly correctly identify carrot.
  • Cauliflower | Both T and Milly correctly identify it, meaning Michelle is dry too.

Alison and Randy take their places at the dunk tank while Josh and Nick put their palettes to the test.

  • Lobster | Josh correctly identifies lobster, but Nick guesses crab.
  • Celery | Josh get another right, while Nick guesses turnip.
  • Spinach | Josh guesses parsley, and Nick guesses lettuce sending Randy for a dunk!
  • American Cheese | Both Josh and Nick correctly identify American cheese.

T and Milly mount the dunk tank as it’s Michelle and Meghan‘s turn to prove their palettes.

  • Strawberries | Michelle guesses peach and Meghan guesses pineapple.
  • Macadamia Nuts | Michelle guesses peanuts, but Meghan gets it right.
  • Potato | Michelle finally gets one, and Meghan gets another.
  • Egg White | Michelle and Meghan both correctly identify egg white keeping T and Milly dry.

The last pair switch: it’s Josh and Nick at the tank and Alison and Randy competing.

  • Tomato | Alison and Randy both correctly identify tomato.
  • Oatmeal | Alison gets it right, but Randy says rice.
  • Butternut Squash | Alison guesses yams and Randy says potato.
  • Onion | Alison guesses scallion, which is honestly so close!  Randy says leek, which is less close… and sends his teammate into cold water.

The score is 9:9 and there’s a sudden death tie-breaker with the best from each team: Josh and Milly.  Alison and Meghan take the tank for a little torture.  Josh and Milly both get the first item (zucchini) wrong, so it all comes down to avocado.  Josh correctly identifies it, but Milly sends Meghan for a final dunk sealing the victory for Red!  They win a caviar tasting and a shopping spree!  Blue’s punishment includes setting up the dining room and making sangria for the charity dinner that evening.

Charities Step Up Women’s Network and Fran Drescher’s Cancer Schmancer both had 12-tops for a 5-course dinner.  A chef on each team is responsible for each course and the teams are to work together on dessert.

Michelle and Alison serve up Red's risotto.

Michelle and Alison serve up Red’s risotto.

First course is lobster risotto. Alison is responsible for this appetizer on Red, while Randy is on Blue.  Red does better with this one, especially when it comes to plating.  Instead of 12, Blue plates 16… then 9.  Needless to say, Red gets this course out first.

Josh is responsible for the second course, Tuna Niçoise, for Red and Milly is for Blue.  Under Josh’s direction, all of the tuna gets overcooked.  All of the tuna.  Red has to borrow some from Blue.  Obviously, Blue serves this course before Red.

The third course is pan-seared salmon.  T and Nick are in charge for their teams.  Josh tries to micromanage T on Red, but she ignores appropriately.  Nick is a perfectionist on Blue to the point of delay; Red gets their course out first.

New York Strip Steak, the fourth course, is handled by Michelle on Red and Meghan on Blue.  Josh tries to micromanage again, and again is appropriately ignored.  Randy makes a fuss about the plate problem from his course, but Blue pushes their plates out.  Josh makes plating messy for Red and they follow.

Dessert goes out, but there is a lot of fighting on either side from angry Randy and between T and Michelle.

Ramsay declares that Blue is the winner, by a slight margin.  Red gets together to make nominations.  At this point in time, I am DONE with Josh and his lack of interpersonal skills.  His course was the worst and he got the nomination for elimination he deserved.  Michelle also gets nominated for not listening.  Chef Ramsay says he is sending home the person who did not have control of their course and, more importantly, never bounced back… Randy!

It came as a surprise in the moment, but not looking at the history of this competition.  I do want to see Josh take a hike, though!  Thoughts?

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