Last week, I identified two early villains in this season; DoucheHat (Aaron, who wears the black baseball cap), and Adam. This week, Adam comes across as much more tolerable. He seems easy-going, energetic, and there’s not a whiff of misogyny in sight; of course, the emotional way he tells the story of his mother’s experience at Ground Zero in New York during 9/11 goes a long way to help the audience connect with him. Not so much for Aaron, who seems even more unpleasant and arrogant than last week. He seems completely unable to function in the group challenge, insisting on wasting most of his time making some kind of bullshit molecular gastronomy “gel” to serve to Boston Firefighters and Police Officers, a group which is probably not really into gimmicky, fancy, ultra-haute cuisine. Worse yet, he gets plenty of warnings from his teammates, particularly Keriann, who as the daughter of a firefighter insists that they shouldn’t get too fancy and stick with simple, well-prepared food with good flavors. Of course, he completely ignores her in the most dismissive way possible, earning him the misogynist card for the week, and nearly getting himself kicked off in the process. I feel bad for Stacy, the Boston contestant, who’s stuck in the middle of such a dysfunctional dynamic. Somehow she manages to deal with it, because her chicken is actually well done and apparently the only thing that keeps her team from being ranked on the bottom.Joy from the other team, unfortunately, is sent home for serving some undercooked veal chops. It’s disappointing, because I believe she had talent and I would have liked to see what she could do in future challenges, though given the nature of the mistake, it’s maybe not all that surprising. The judges seem to always be harsher on simple mistakes of execution, and undercooking veal is certainly that, than they are on failures of complicated concepts, like Aaron’s (Sorry, I mean DoucheHat’s).
To rewind just a bit, the opening quickfire featured Todd English as judge, and tasked the chefs with cooking surf and turf. They had to select their ingredients based on several lanterns lighting up at different intervals, a call back to Paul Revere’s famous ride; I may not have been paying close enough attention at this point, because this never really did make sense to me. Some fellow who I didn’t recognize from the previous episode came out on top, with $5000 for his victory. In the main challenge, competitors are split into five groups, assigned a time by which to show up to the restaurant they’re cooking at (I forget the name), where they will select a basket of ingredients. Of course, the best baskets go first. They’re all cooking and serving to members of the Boston Police Department and Fire Department. Aside from the dysfunctional nature of DoucheHat’s team, I thought the team with two people seemed to function pretty well together; despite being down by one hand, they seemed to be on the same page and produced some good food. The winner was Adam’s team; as I said above, this episode does a lot to rehabilitate his image, especially because Aaron comes across as such a raging misanthrope.
On to next week, and a meal underneath the Green Monster?