We began today with another Mystery Box Challenge and this time the box itself was so huge you could almost fit a family under it and... oh wait! There was a family under it, or rather, several families - and as the cooks were tearfully reunited with their loved ones, I began to grow alarmed because it didn't look like anyone from Krissi's family was there.
As it turned out, her son had standardized testing that week and was unable to attend. The show made up for it by letting Krissi watch a personalized message from him; and I have to say, what a cutie - proving once again there is much more to her than the one dimensional villainess the editing team has created this season.
It was also nice to see "the tin man" back.
Joe Bastianich - our man of tin with the secret heart of gold - shed a couple of tears as he watched Krissi. Despite their run in a few episodes back, I think there's something about Krissi that strikes a chord with him; and he's compared her cooking to his mother's on more than one occasion. This is yet another reason why I wish Krissi would win this. Why I wish the producers would decide on the underdog this year and surprise us with an upset.
You know that ain't happening. Yet, every year I get sucked in rooting for the tough talking single mom. And every year my hopes get as dashed as the uni shell Jordan demolished later in the episode.
The Mystery Box Challenge
With their loved ones in the gallery, the cooks were charged with creating dishes inspired by them - and I have to say, listening to Jessi's parents as they questioned and critiqued everything she did got on my last nerve. The one dimensional glimpse the show has so far given us of Jessie has been "beautiful girl, great cook, great leader" - in other words, a contestant the TV viewing public can get on board with should she *ahem* happen to win.
But listening to her parents (providing that was real and not put on for the show), made me wonder if perfection is the expectation in her life. Maybe that's why I root for contestants like Monty, Christine Corely, or Krissi - because they are perfect too. Perfectly flawed. Perfectly fallible. And perfectly human.
The top three dishes went to Luca, Jessie and Natasha. Luca prepared white asparagus risotto topped with halibut for his wife. Natasha put together a Thai green curry with shrimp paste, and coconut rice. And Jessie cooked a duck breast in a red wine reduction.
Love Conquers Over All
In the end, the nod went to Luca and he became the mystery box challenge winner giving him a advantage in the elimination round which tonight was a tag tam battle featuring sushi. As the winner, Luca was automatically exempt from elimination and also got to pair the cooks off. His target was Natasha, so guess who he paired her up with?
If you chose Krissi, then you get the golden California Roll!
Krissi was paired with Natasha, Jordan with James, and Jessie with Eddie.
They were told to make shrimp and vegetable tempura, nigiri, and an Alaskan king crab roll - and from the get go, Krissi had the right attitude. She let Natasha, who has far more experience with sushi, steer the ship. Over on team James and Jordan, though - not so much. Anytime these two are put together it becomes the battle of the egos which resulted - among other things - in the demolished uni I mentioned earlier.
I say this with tongue in cheek, though, because, truly, I am in awe. I don't know what goes on behind the scenes of if they're given tutorials prior to filming, but whatever the case, the high pressure atmosphere they're all under coupled with being away from home and completely out of their element - and then to have to prepare tag team sushi on top of that - people, that would be a one way ticket to the psychiatric ward for me.
So even though Jessie and Eddie also seemed quite lost, I give them kudos for getting through the challenge without needing some kind of intervention.
But there are two things I would like to point out:
- Krissi's rice was perfectly seasoned.
- Krissi's salmon was perfectly cut.
And then there were six.
Stay tuned next week for another recap!
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Samantha Wentworth's catering business goes belly up along with her marriage to cut throat divorce attorney Alan Wentworth. To recoup her losses she applies to be on a reality TV show, falls in love with the married producer, just about kills the pompous chef host, and gets herself into all kinds of other interesting predicaments.
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Lyndsay Wells is a professional trainer, writer, and program developer with a passion for food and cooking. She is an award winning recipe developer, and a website ambassador for Kraft Foods Canada. Lyndsay believes cooking should be approachable and easy and has great tips and ideas for putting together sophisticated looking dishes that cooks of all levels can accomplish.
Visit her daily on her blog, The Kitchen Witch or on her YouTube Channel, CHARMED With The Kitchen Witch.