This week’s theme was “Transformation.” The main challenge was much better than last week and the mini-challenge challenge was a good one, but the chefs rating each other was a real problem, as some dishes were rated poorly that should not have been.
The secret ingredient for the mini-challenge was “common American condiments,” ingredients typically considered very American in usage, although not necessarily originating in the US.
Common American condiments
Canora had the advantage by winning last week’s main challenge. He was able to pick first and assign the remaining ingredients to the other chefs. He picked mayo and assigned the others:
Tio – hot sauce
Chauhan: ranch dressing
Tsai: steak sauce
Estes: yellow mustard
Forgione: BBQ sauce
What they made:
Canora: mayo chocolate pudding, looked pretty good, Tsai’s criticism was off base.
Tsai: deconstructed steak with steak sauce, looked very creative and transformed to me, chef judging was biased and off base
Caswell: vodka shot, cocktail sauce
Chauhan: they didn’t like Chauhan’s transformed Ranch
Forgione: other chefs said it tasted too much like BBQ sauce
Tio: hit a home run
Estes: Other chefs said mustard was overpowering, Estes argued that the idea was not to mask the ingredient. I tend to agree with her
Tio won and Chauhan lost. Even with the poor chef judging, in the end, the right winner and loser were selected, in my opinion. Estes has stayed alive longer than she should have so far and Chauhan has done more poorly than I expected.
Main challenge was “Making the ordinary amazing”
The chefs had 30 minutes before opening at the San Diego County fair to run around to the food vendors and get whatever foods they could to create “transformed fair food.” At first, I thought, yikes, that is going to be really hard, but then realized that raw food was available as the food vendors have to cook there treats from something (Doh!). So, things like eggs, meats, veggies and the like were available. 30 minutes was not a lot of time to investigate the various food vendors and see what they had available. So, this was still no cake walk.
The chefs had to prepare three dishes in 60 min using only what they found at the vendor stalls they visited. This was a great and interesting challenge. Estes and perhaps Caswell did the most poorly, I am thinking Estes will go. I am surprised she has lasted this long. Chauhan was criticized for using the same flavor profile all the time, not a good criticism, she is also on thin ice.
Tio wins this one. Good for her, she is better than she may appear. Tsai continues to struggle, but makes it through.
Bottom was Estes and Chauhan. Estes was cut and I think that was actually overdue. I am surprised that Chauhan has done so poorly, I think (hope) she will improve.
My front runners to date: Canora and Forgione
Up and comer to dates: Tio and Caswell
On thin ice: Tsai
Next out unless she really brings it on strong: Chauhan
Tags: Next Iron Chef