1 – Tiffany – Mexico – Chicken Tamales with Queso Fresco and Tomatillo Sauce. She has deconstructed and reinvented the tamale. Jose thinks it is Mexico. Tom thinks you can taste corn husk, which is rare in these dishes. Quincy Parker from the Bahamanian Embassy loves it. Bahamas?
2 – Kelly – Italy. She elects to make a Carpaccio because she will not have a kitchen. Smart. She is going to roll it in hot oil to infuse the spices. Virginia Beef Carpaccio; Spring Vegetable Salad and Parmigianino–Reggiano. Gail gives her props for adjusting to the situation. Jose thinks she did a difficult dish very well. Giuseppe Manzo from the Italian Embassy says the dish represented Italy better than he does. HA!
3 – Hot Amanda – France – Beef Bourguignon with Pommes Fourchette and Horseradish Mousse. Gail thinks it lacks ample beef, and what it has is cut so small. Jose thinks that without the beef it is perfect. Unfortunately for Amanda, beef is the first word in the dish.
4 – Kenny – Thailand – Tamarind Braised Pork with Rice Noodle salad and Thai Green curry. Padma liked the flavors; Gail thought it was not too coconutty. Some random woman pays him a great complement – some were too spicy, some not so spicy, but Kenny’s was the perfect in-between.
5 – Moby – Spain. If Moby knew about Jose guest judging, he likely would have skipped over Spain. Braised Veal Cheeks, Jamon (Ham) Torta with Olive and Tomato Salad. Jose thinks it doesn’t work. Uh oh. Marcus finds it lacks focus. Gail wanted more punch, as the flavors are too muted.
6 – Spenny – Japan (after jokingly taking Brazil). Sashimi of Tuna Ribbons with Candied Wasabi and Soy infusion. Jose goes crazy over the color of the tuna. Tom thinks it is nice, not great, but nice. The Austrian Embassy guy – why? – thinks it represents well.
7 – Sbarro – India. This doesn’t start out well as he needs affirmation from Spenny that India is actually in Asia. I must admit I would be nervous making Indian food for Padma. Of course, I would be nervous speaking in front of Padma. Stewed Chicken with Leek and Parsnip Puree, Cucumber-Mango Salad Lentils. Jose says he got the aroma right, and Padma surprisingly liked it.
8– Ed – China. He is confident because he has had some Chinese girlfriends. I am going to elect to not get vulgar here. I am sure Ed would not have such restraint if the roles were reversed. Tea-Smoked, Duck Breast with Pot Stickers and Szechuan Jus. Padma likes the flavors. Marcus thinks the sides are good; Jose and Tom are not fans of the duck. Zhang Tibin from the Chinese Embassy disagrees.
9 – Stephen – stuck with Brazil. Kenny notices early on that Stephen is making a dish that will not translate well to the Sterno situation. Flank Steak in Chimichurri Sauce with Black Beans and Rice with Brazil Nuts. Padma likes how he marinated in coffee. I think it was edited from a conversation that may have begun with the phrase, “What DID you like about this?” Tom thinks that Stephen should have been able to cook the rice properly. Tom hates when basic skills are messed up. Marcus rightfully says Stephen could have gone with Portuguese cuisine if he didn’t know Brazilian. However, for some reason Mats Widborn from the Swedish Embassy was shown saying how he thought it was good street food. I guess the Brazilian guy either couldn’t make it or walked out in disgust.