I didn't blog about the reunion last week, but I actually thought it was pretty amusing and not at all the uncomfortable mess that was the season 1 reunion two years ago. I think part of that might have had to do with the fact that Marcel wasn't there. But a lot of it was really hilarious. Why they decided to do it in the middle of the season I have no idea but there you go.
Moving onto this week's episode, I initially thought it was kind of lame to not have any cooking at all during the Quickfire, but I ended up kind of enjoying the "Culinary Bee." I wonder if they got the idea from Hell's Kitchen's palate test. Although here there were no eyemasks and earmuffs...they just had to identify ingredients by sight and/or taste, which turned out to be hard enough. I probably would have been out pretty early, as there were things I'd never even heard of, like chayote, but I DID get the Thai eggplant! What was up with Casey getting bowtie pasta though? Like anyone would look at that and mistake it for some other kind of pasta?
The Elimination Challenge was really interesting. Generally I find these "feed the general public" type challenges to be kind of boring, but this I liked because I love pasta and make it all the time. I'm definitely going to be trying out the recipes from this one. And once again the chefs show that working in teams is generally a recipe for disaster (ack that was a bad pun). I actually found this very reminiscent of Project Runway, where some of the teams immediately gel and are on the same page, whereas some of the pairs just kind of implode. There were a lot of surprises here. Howie struck me as being a pretty horrible person to work with. For some reason I didn't see Sara M. being all that annoying...all I saw was Howie being defensive and difficult. And what was up with arrogant, loud mouth Hung not being assertive enough? He was even submissive during Judges' Table. I'm still confused as to why he couldn't get Joey to go along with his plan to individually freeze the items. And Joey ends up getting kicked off, which was a shock to me because I was almost positive that they were going to send Sara home. Joey's little goodbye was kind of sweet though. Oh, Joey, I knew that under that tough guy exterior you were just a big softy.
How incredible was it that the prize was four freaking tickets to Italy? What did the winner last week get, a bottle of wine? Glad to see that Tre and CJ won, if only because they were the only team that did the individual freezing thing properly. Although it seems to me that Casey and Dale's dish was more popular in the market. I suppose that one slightly frozen meatball did them in.
And then of course, there was Rocco DiSpirito as the guest judge. Did anyone else think he looked weirdly creepy? And can you believe that he's 40? I didn't watch his whole reality show debacle from a couple of years ago, but it seems to me that he has a somewhat laughable reputation now because of that. That said, I did kind of enjoy his little smackdown of Tom over the truffles. I like Tom but it always amuses me when people call him out.
Oh, and has anyone tried those Bertoli frozen dinners? I like to cook and I don't think making good pasta dishes is all that difficult but the episode has made me curious...