Thursday, July 25, 2013

S4E16: Stunning Éclairs That Will Stun You With Their Stunningness

“I have no idea where I am. I don’t walk or hike for fun. That’s not fun to me,” says Krissi as she labors up a hill behind the other seven remaining Home Cooks. It may not be fun for her, but it’s certainly fun for me to watch her do it.

The judges are each decked out in gear from Marmot. When you need to judge amateur chefs in the wilderness, you need Marmot.

Bri and Natasha are team captains. Bri is one with nature, so it seems this will be a good challenge for her. But then Natasha reveals that she grew up in South Africa on a large expanse of land and that she’s a tomboy and that she was raised by wolves, so maybe she has the advantage here.

Bri picks James, Eddie, and Luca. Natasha chooses Jordan, Jessie, and Krissi who admits to hating Bri. Suddenly, there’s a twist! The team captains have to switch teams. Bri now has to “deal with the beast.”

There are two survival cases filled with ingredients. One has three rabbits, and the other has six pigeons. Bri’s Blue Team chooses the rabbits after Jordan claims rabbit cleaning experience. Also, Krissi has bitten the head off of many a rabbit in her day.

The teams head to their respective camps and go through the box ingredients: potatoes, quail eggs, a small jar of oil, carrots, spices, flour, etc. No giant jar of clarified butter?! These guys are screwed.

The rabbits and pigeons have already been cleaned, so Jordan’s advantage is moot. And the heads are missing, so Krissi will be going to bed hungry.

Bri has a radical idea. She wants to make pasta with the flour and quail eggs. Her team loves the idea and gets to work prepping their vegetables. Meanwhile, the Red Team is stumped on what to do. They all take peyote and converse with their spirit animals in hope that an answer will be revealed to them.

Night vision! The Blue Team continues prepping in the dark as Gordon arrives. They tell him their pasta idea, which he says is “bloody ambitious, but if you pull it off, fantastic.” He wanders off, bathed in the green light of night vision in search of Paris Hilton.

Graham and Joe visit the Red Team as they are test roasting a pigeon on a spit. They ask what tomorrow’s dish will be, and Eddie and Luca simultaneously take sips of their coffee, leaving Natasha impaled on the spit. “Not all at once,” jokes Joe, accompanied by the #notallatonce hashtag becoming the greatest Twitter sensation of all time.

So the Blue Team is confident and the Red Team is frazzled. Every time we’ve seen this before, the confident team loses, so I’m preparing for a pasta disaster. A pastacalypse if you will. And you will.

After the commercial break, the Red Team has a plan and the Blue Team is predictably falling apart. They are late getting their rabbit on the fire, and Moses has arrived, signaling the start of the pastacalypse.

Both teams enter panic mode when plating begins. Luca is freaking out on the Red Team because the sauce is in the box they're using as a stand to plate the dishes, and on the Blue Team, Bri drops one of their dishes into the dirt. The Blue Team frantically decides to make smaller portions with the food they have left. The buzzer sounds, and their plates look like shit.

The judges taste the Blue dish. The pastacalypse has been avoided, as they are impressed with the quail egg pasta. Everything is good, except for the seasoning. Overall, they nailed it. Color me surprised.

Next is the Red Team, and their dish looks very good. Eddie’s pigeon is perfect. The judges are impressed. With two good performances, it’s hard to say which team will be losing.

The teams go back to their camps and are told that the winners will be announced by colored smoke, which is also how the Wilderness Pope is chosen. Does the Wilderness Pope shit in the woods? You bet.

Red smoke rises, and the team with early confidence loses again. It will be Jessie’s first Pressure Test and Krissi’s 49th.

The Red Team gets to pick one member of the Blue Team to sit out the Pressure Test. They choose to save Krissi, who is instead stuck on 48 Pressure Tests. Krissi thinks she was saved not because she is the weakest but because she is the strongest, which is some top-notch delusion.

On to the dreaded Pressure Test. “It’s a mouthgasm of epic proportions,” claims Graham. A chocolate éclair is placed in front of the three Home Cooks. “That’s right,” says Gordon. “A stunning, delicious éclair.” They have 60 minutes to make six stunning éclairs. They really need to be stunning. Can’t emphasize the stunning nature of the éclairs enough.

According to the crew in the balcony, Jordan doesn’t bake well, Bri has bad time management skills, and Jessie is a goddess with the power to cure cancer using only her smile.

Jessie is organized, efficient, and off to a good start. “I love that girl to death,” James says. “But I hope she makes a big mistake and eliminates herself today.” I’d say the chances of that happening are significantly less than 1 in 3.

Bri and Jessie feel confident, but Jordan is feeling the pressure. The judges agree that he appears to be struggling. He even announces to the balcony that he might be gone today. Potential death by doughnut taking shape here.

Jessie’s pastries look good but she can’t figure out how to shoot her cream all the way up in there. She’s only working with a two-inch nozzle. A micro-nozzle if you will. You won’t? I don’t blame you.

Jordan has to pull his pastries out before their middles are completely cooked in order to finish in time. Bri also has to pull out early. She blows on them to get them to firm up.

Time ends, and they bring their stunning éclairs up for judgment.

Bri goes first with her éclairs of various shapes and sizes. Gordon thinks they’re flat and under filled. Graham says that they’re flaccid, meaning that she didn’t blow on them enough. Joe tells her they’re soggy and raw, which she knows by now.

Next is Jordan. His are much more consistent in appearance than Bri’s. Graham says his filling is too sweet, but there’s certainly enough of it. Gordon agrees with the sweetness, but he’s done much better than Bri, so he’s safe.

Jessie is suddenly not very confident. Joe picks up one of her éclairs and notices that it’s a little flat. He slices it open to examine the filling, which didn’t reach the middle. The pastry is cooked, but her chocolate is bitter. Gordon notices that her éclairs are all split down the middle due to a separated mix. None of her éclairs are properly filled, and Gordon really gives it to her.

It’s judgment time, and Jordan gets the reprieve.

Gordon gives the bad news. “Big names fall in Pressure Tests. Jessie, please take your apron off. Say goodbye…” Krissi is loving it. “…because you are safe. Go upstairs.” It’s Bri. Her undercooked dough cooked her.

Gordon: Bri, amazing performance. Your passion, your enthusiasm, your attitude to every second during this competition is extraordinary.”

Bri beams with pride.

Graham: We’ve seen you shine. You have an infectious passion…This is your future. I’m excited to see what you do.

Bri: My mom told me not to cry, so I’m trying not to.

Gordon: Come say goodbye.

Bri goes up to the judges, giving each of them a hug.

Gordon: Any words for Krissi?

Bri: #goodluckdude

Bri leaves to applause as we are treated to a montage of her strongest moments.

To the camera with tears finally in her eyes, Bri: The hardest part is definitely realizing that you have to say goodbye.

Sadly, we do have to say just that. So farewell, my vegetarian friend. You cheffed a great game. Reward yourself with a walk through the forest.

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