Two Teams. Two Dining Experiences. One one-of-a-kind dining disaster.
That pretty much sums up what happened this week on Food Network Star Season 10 Episode 8.
The episode started out with such promise for all the contenders. They were each given the opportunity to enjoy different 360 degree dining experiences, topped off by one-of-a-kind dishes, from various acclaimed Vegas restaurants.
Sarah enjoyed the 32 oz. Tomahawk Steak at Old Homestead Steakhouse. Luca watched as the chef hand pulled his noodles at Beijing Noodle No. 9. Loreal had to spend nothing to try the $777 Burger, made up of kobe beef, lobster tail and foie gras, at Le Burger Brasserie.
Lenny delighted in the Chef's Table at Restaurant Guy Savoy. Emma gushed over the showmanship at Nobu. And finally, Nicole experienced the glamorous, and I'm assuming extra delicious, $1,000 Golden Opulence Sundae from Serendipity 3, which still holds the Guinness Book of World Records for most expensive sundae thanks to ingredients like passion fruit infused caviar.
I want to try that!
As the culitestants basked in the joy of their dining experiences, Alton and Giada (Bobby's still absentee this week) tasked them with their challenge this week: to give the Selection committee their own one-of-a-kind dining experience.
In two teams of three, they would plan out a four course meal at Restaurant Guy Savoy and serve to impress the Selection committee, comprised of added guests, Bob Tuschmann, Susie Fogelson, and Penn Gilette.
Giving the low chefs on the totem pole the chance to redeem themselves from last week, Giada and Alton assigned Emma and Sarah as team captains. Emma, winning the chance to pick first, chose Lenny and Loreal, while Sarah chose Nicole and by default, Luca. At this point, the stronger team definitely appeared to be Emma's.
But that definitely didn't remain the case.
With her "around the world" theme, Sarah allowed each of her team members, including herself, to flourish. Each of them was able to use the fine, and rather odd, one-of-a-kind ingredients they were given to create POV-ladened dishes.
For the first course, Nicole astutely treated her frog legs as chicken wings, glazed them in a tamarind sauce, and accompanied them with a cucumber and mango slaw. She may have heavy handedly tied her dish to Thailand, but the light crunch from her fried frog legs impressed the judges.
Luca, representing Italy, seared his Muscovy duck over a parmesan risotto with duck and red wine reduction, a staple of his grandmother, for the second course. His dish wasn't a favorite of Alton's, but Penn gobbled it up and asked for seconds.
Sarah, finally getting her Texas POV right, served up a TexVegas sized third course of tender wagyu ribeye, accompanied by what the judges touted as a "delicious, crispy, and sweet" roasted cream corn with lobster topping.
And for dessert, Nicole brought the judges something interactive - a fine dining s'more - where the Selection committee had to toast their own marshmallows to eat with the toasted marshmallow ice cream and graham cracker dust.
So yeah, Sarah may have played it rather safe, albeit smart, with her generic theme. But Emma, going for a high concept worthy of the gods, shot for the stars, and her team fell hard and fast.
First up, Lenny brought the Selection Committee his sea urchin with cauliflower mousseline. So far, so good. Then, he had to connect his dish to a story. That's where it all fell apart. Using some odd character voice reminiscent of a bad narrator, Lenny connected his dish to the seas of Poseidon. He was going for Greek play, but I guess he forgot most of those plays were actually tragedies, disappointing the judges with both his food and his delivery.
For the second course, Loreal brought low energy to match her boring dish of herb steamed langoustine. She got the committee's attention when she mentioned the chicken "skinaigrette" she used on her French herb salad, but failed to mention much else about it. And taking off exactly where Lenny left off, Loreal was unable to continue the preposterous mythology Lenny originated.
Hoping Emma could somehow make sense of what they had already messed up so badly, Loreal and Lenny watched as Emma delivered the worst story of the night about how men came to eat pork after some piggies were burned in a barn. Her story was nonsense and so was her dish. Her Mangalitsa pork loin stuffed with dried fruit and fresh herbs with a cherry compote was pretty much just pork with jam.
Loreal's "godly" ambrosia dessert couldn't save them either, especially after Loreal awkwardly threw rose petals at the judges like some weird nymph.
All that being said, it should come as no surprise that Team Sarah won the challenge this week, leaving Emma's team up for elimination. And who do you think went home?
Well, that's a no-brainer - the mastermind behind the whole "garden of the gods" theme - Emma. She had so much potential, but after this week's performance, there was no way the judges couldn't send her home.