Jen. The Flintstones – Chicken Roulade with Garlic Cream, Pea Salad and Caramelized Peaches. She tried to find a big slab of meat, but failed. Good try though.
Kevin: The Sopranos – Meatballs with Polenta, Roasted Cauliflower and Roasted Pears. At least it’s Italian; although I am not sure they would have served this at Satriale’s or at Nuovo Vesuvio. Regardless, Paul and Padma both like it a lot.
Eli: Gilligan’s Island – Macadamia Nut Shrimp with Sweet Potato Puree, Herb Salad, cherries and bananas. I will give Eli a bit of a pass and assume there were no coconuts in the pantry.
Hawk: Cheers – Chicken Parmesan with Braised Swiss Chard, and Cherry Pie. Hawk was going for bar food, although I think this is more likely to be served at Melville’s. Paul tasted some fennel and seemed pleased.
Robin: Sesame Street – Burger with Egg, crispy kale, carrot salad and almond laced cookie. She made the cookie for Cookie Monster. OK. The egg for Big Bird. Um … a bit creepy. At least she didn’t make poultry.
BryanBot: M*A*S*H - Meatloaf, mashed potato, asparagus and apple tarte tatin. He went with 50s era comfort food. If he were more adventurous he would have tried to cook Korean food. Regardless, Padma made yummy sounds.
Bottom Two: Jen – the peas were not good, and it didn’t do much; Robin – the meat was dry
Top Two: Kevin – Consistent, very Italian and great pears; BryanBot – More yummy sounds. Kevin wins and gets to put the recipe in the new Top Chef frozen foods line.
Elimination Challenge – Take over Tom’s Vegas restaurant, Craftsteak, but instead of cooking from its wealth of meat, they are cooking vegetarian-style for Natalie and her friends.
Robin – Stuffed Squash Blossom, Beet Carpaccio, fresh Garbanzo Beans, and Chermoula. She failed to plate some of the beans, including Tom’s plate. Padma felt it was so salty her ankles were swelling. Natalie liked how it looked, which may have saved Robin this week.
Eli – Confit of Eggplant, lentils, garlic puree, and radish salad. Gail loved the texture, but Paul found the lavender blossom polarizing, like sucking on soap.
Hawk – Asparagus Salad, Japanese Tomato Sashimi and Banana Polenta. All of them are wary of the banana polenta, as Tom suggests “generations of Italians are turning over in their grave.” But they all loved it. Hawk is called “Picasso.” Someone get Ash to clean his brushes.
Jen – Charred baby eggplant, braised fennel, tomatoes and Verjus. The plate is very small, and Jen tries to pour the butter sauce at the table, but is so nervous her hands shake and she spills. A lot. Gail loves the taste, but is essentially wearing butter. They all nail her on the lack of substance, and Natalie’s friend calls it a side dish.
MM – Whole roasted leeks with onion jus, baby carrot puree and fingerling potatoes. He describes it as a protein, but there isn’t any. He wanted it to look like a protein. But that is not the same thing. I can wear a Jedi costume this Halloween, but that doesn’t mean I can use The Force. Yet. Gail thinks it smells like cabbage; Tom ironically calls the badly cooked leeks “too rare.”
BryanBot – Artichoke barigoule, confit of shallot, wild asparagus, fennel puree. He fails to get some fried item on the plate (which Hawk later suggests was a good thing). I mentioned the comments earlier. It was all about the sex talk.
Kevin – Duo of Mushrooms, smoked kale, candied garlic and turnip puree. Gail finds it to be meaty, despite having no meat. Tom reminds us that veggie meals don’t always have to be light. Natalie describes it as “manly.”
Kevin, Hawk and Eli make the top three. Natalie says Hawk’s was fun and that is rare in veggie meals. Gail calls Eli’s beautiful. Tom says Kevin’s had a mouthful of flavor and the meat was not missed. Kevin wins, Hawk vents. Eli? Happy to be included.
BryanBot finishes fourth. Jen, Robin and MM are in the bottom. MM gets called out for not having a protein, and Tom criticizes him for not being able to cook leeks properly, when it only takes 20 minutes to roast them. Robin yammers on for a while as usual. Tom says she is all over the map and nothing tied the dish together. Jen’s nervousness and portion size are critiqued. MM gets knifed, and somehow Robin is still with us.