TGIF, kids! I’m so happy it’s finally here. Also, haven’t we been seeing this amazing rice Mystery Box preview for so long? Well, I love a Mystery Box and it was kind of magical watching all of that beautiful rice flow out. More magic happened with the home cooks, as they each found a connection to the grain to make a dish straight from the heart.
Am I getting ahead of myself? Boxes are lifted and rice– long-grain, basmati, jasmine, forbidden, sushi– goes everywhere. The winner of this rice challenge gets the usual advantage in the elimination test, but also gets a cool prize: their dish featured in Family Circle magazine! The stories behind some of these dishes are largely just as beautiful as the dishes themselves. Here’s the judges’ favorites (and mine!):
Hetal’s Khichdi is, as she says, the first food you have as a baby. I loved her story– growing up, she hated khichdi because they ate it so often, but when she moved out, it’s the first thing she wanted! Tommy’s Jambalaya is dedicated to his Aunt Lorraine, who he says made everything in a cast iron skillet & that skillet has never cooled down! Gordon basically says he’d like to wake up with Tommy… or his dish? He really let his words get away from him there, hah! Finally, Claudia’s arroz con leche molotes literally makes Graham dance. I was so bothered by her mispronunciation of arancini, though! I threw Christopher’s pineapple fried rice in here because I really wanted to eat this more than anything. Also, I was touched by Christopher’s childhood memory of his mother, who left when he was young.
Tommy wins, placing himself firmly in the top 10! And with that, he’s in control of the challenge themed: Dynamic Duos. He gets to choose between three classic flavor combos: peanut butter & jelly, pineapple & ham, and tomato & basil. He picks pb&j, the most challenging to a room full of savory chefs.
Tommy also gets to save two home cooks– one before they cook and one after. He chooses to save Claudia pre-cooking, but Claudia turns down the opportunity. After cooking, he saves Nick who accepts. As for the rest, here’s what they cook:
- Claudia’s pork chop is ballsy and good!
- Christopher’s PB&J tart is a pleasant surprise. Christina calls it beautiful and tells him she’s proud.
- Shelly’s PB&J spring roll misses the mark entirely.
- Hetal’s PB&J cookies are so good that Graham simply fist bumps her.
- Katrina’s satay & spring rolls blow Christina away.
- Sarah’s strawberry tart disappoints… Gordon can’t even taste peanut butter.
The top two and next week’s team captains are Hetal & Katrina!
The bottom two are obvious: Shelly and Sarah. Shelly started out rough, forgetting both peanut butter and jelly from the pantry! Olivia and Hetal were able to spot her. She manages to hang on, though, and Sarah is eliminated. Sarah was supposed to be a baker and never actually showed this talent… I’m happy Shelly is still around for the top 10!
Can’t wait to see more!
Have a great weekend, guys!