Thursday, June 27, 2013


It’s time for another Team Challenge, and this week it’s a wedding. They’ll be catering the reception for a couple of foodies. The bride reads off a giant list of dislikes, which includes every food known to man. Ugh. She’s awful. I’m guessing her husband had all of his hair when they first met. And what’s with her eyebrows? How does she make them only rise at the ends like that? Must be a Botox thing.

Graham will be contributing an appetizer and Gordon a dessert, so the lovely couple can have a taste of what real chefs can offer. The teams will each be cooking a main entrée with a vegetarian option. James is the Blue captain, and Natasha has the Red Team.

Lynn is the first pick again, this time specifically for his plating skills. James also gets Jessie on his team, and the Blue Team is looking stacked. Luca is James’s final pick and is relieved to be on the Blue Team, saying he doesn’t think Natasha is a good leader. Natasha thinks Luca is weak and a joke. Graham’s ears perk up. “Joke? Someone wants to hear a joke?”

As a twist, James and Natasha have to jilt one of their team members, excluding them from the challenge and the Pressure Test if their team loses. Natasha jilts Krissi, because she needs a nap. James inexplicably gets rid of Bri, even though they have to cook a vegetarian dish. Maybe, as I am, he is starting to doubt that Bri is actually a vegetarian and is only pretending to be.

Graham shows off his appetizer: Ecto Cooler with Purple Flowers. Gordon presents his dessert: Turd Nugget Àla Mode.

The teams begin to pick their meats for the entrées. James suggests halibut, but Lynn convinces him that lamb is easier and more flavorful. Their vegetarian dish is mushroom and goat cheese or some shit.

The Red Team all wants to do short ribs except for Natasha who wants to cook halibut. Halibut it is. Their vegetarian dish is an eggplant and tomato stack, because stacks are all the rage these days.

The wedding is beautiful and serene outside. Meanwhile, chaos reigns indoors. The Red Team scorches their carrots, and Natasha decides to blame everyone else for her own instability.

The Blue Team is working like a well-oiled machine. Will they be able to keep it up for service? Graham starts serving his appetizer, so we’ll find out soon.

Immediately, the Blue Team runs into problems. Lynn’s plating is a disaster. He’s a classic introvert, working much better as an individual than in a team atmosphere. The Red Team’s food goes out to the bride and groom’s table, while the Blue’s lamb drags.

The service issues continue through the rest of service with the Blue Team falling behind seven tables at one point. Lynn is feeling the pressure and begins sweating into the food. Then Gordon catches him wiping his brow and then a plate with the same towel. Hey, at least he’s finally committed to seasoning everything.

Service ends, and it’s pretty obvious that the Red Team won. I’m not even sure who’s on their team. Both teams are trotted out in front of the reception guests and Bridezilla announces the winners…the Red Team! They celebrate with champagne, and I crack my fifth beer since the first hour started this week.

It’s Pressure Test time. For this go around, each judge gets to pick a Home Cook that deserves to sit out the challenge. Joe chooses Jessie, Graham chooses Luca, and Gordon says, “Lynn.” Lynn begins to remove his apron, and Gordon continues, “Wiping those plates with your sweat. I’ve never seen anything like that. You are not safe.” He chooses James over Jonny B due to James’s level of engagement compared to Jonny’s. It was a wedding challenge, after all. Jonny really should have focused more on his engagement. (Yeesh. Sorry for that one.)

Macaroon Battle! It’s Lynn vs. Jonny, and it looks like a mismatch. However, Lynn reveals his lack of baking confidence, while Jonny announced that he’s very comfortable with baking. Maybe that’s what the B stands for.

They have to make 12 macaroons of at least two flavors, fitting them into a special box. Everyone wants Lynn to go home, except for Bri who understands that she will get more camera time if she plays the contrarian.

Lynn is making a raspberry macaroon with white chocolate filling and a vanilla with salted caramel macaroon. Jonny B is making peanut butter and jelly macaroons, because he is a carpenter and that’s what carpenters eat.

As the challenge progresses, Jonny starts to break down. His hands shake as he squeezes the pastry bag. Both of them have made their macaroons too thick, so fitting in the box will be an issue.

Lynn puts a slice of raspberry in his macaroon, and the judges make fun of him for being a noob. Jonny’s macaroons each have a nipple on the end, making it even less likely they’ll fit in the box.

They begin to box their macaroons, and Jonny’s definitely don’t fit. Instead of leaving two outside, he jams them on top of the other macaroons and slams the box shut. He brutalizes that poor box. Oh, that's what the B stands for. Jonny Brutalizer. Jonny Basher. Jonny Bad Decision Maker. Meanwhile, Lynn has the same issue with the fit; only he brings two macaroons up separate from the ten in the box.

Lynn’s macaroons get tasted first. “Visually, it’s got that wow factor,” says Gordon. However, he thinks the caramel ones are too sweet. Also, he doesn’t like the fruit in the others. Graham and Joe agree with his assessment.

Now for Jonny’s. What’s in the box?  Gordon slides it open, and – the horror! Oh, the horror! Gordon picks through the cookie rubble to find one still intact. He slices and tastes it. It’s delicious. Graham finds one, tries it, and compliments the flavors. Joe finds the peanut butter to be clunky and strong, but he enjoys the raspberry macaroon.

It’s between Lynn’s beautiful and not-so-tasty macaroons and Jonny’s warzone of deliciousness. According to Gordon, this is “the most difficult Pressure Test we’ve ever had in this competition so far.” Back at home, Bime throws another attempt at a meringue pie against the wall.

Gordon drops the hammer quickly. Jonny B is done. The beauty in the box was too important. “I’m not walking out depressed or sad. I have a tremendous appreciation for the opportunity I’ve been given here,” Jonny tells us. “The sky’s the limit.”

Jonny B was a walking contradiction of creativity blended with unoriginality. He introduced us to popcorn lobster and maple syrup pasta, and he also wore a faux hawk and an argyle sweater. But let us remember the good times. Goodbye, Jonny. I’m sorry for misspelling your name for so long.

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