Horse Meat. Andrea cooked with horse meat and people freaked out and started a Facebook page to protest. Where’s the protest page against cute little lamb slaughter, and tiny helpless frogs and HELLO! Foie Gras people! You have work to do. The geese need you. Sorry Facebook activists you can’t feel sick inside about your friend Flicka being a main course, but have no problem eating a juicy cow steak. It’s just not French-which in Episode 6–is the whole point. Perhaps a side of frites would help. Or were you just subconsciously outraged at the lack of toast with the tartar? Cracker-hmph.
The Quickfire Challenge:
Chuck Hughes from “Chuck’s Day Off” is the Quickfire judge. He’s injured his leg which makes him even more “friggin’ cute” for Andrea and Francois thinks the cane with a skull is “pretty cool.”
Francois becomes the “star” character (or caricature) of Episode 6. He is the “goofy Frenchman” and whenever we see him from now on he will have some french bistro music (cue the accordian) playing in the background or a “somethings’ up!” theme worthy of the Pink Panther.
For once Francois is confident with the challenge: make your own version of poutine. He clearly understands the point of the dish– being stumbling drunk at 2am, the poutine settles the stomach and you wake up “perfect”. Exactly!
Dale looks insulted to be associated with such plebian fare. Apparently he sips a creme de menthe before bed and tucks himself under the afghan by 9pm. “I’m not worried, it’s a fucking poutine,” he declares.
And that is how it goes down–the “let’s refine poutine until its unrecognizable” group–Dale makes foie gras poutine with white onion puree (puree when you’re already on the edge of puking–not helpful Dale) or Rob adds Perigod sauce, pecorino with duck and black truffle (see above reference to puree and substitute with rare duck) plus Chris who constructs a kind of “log cabin” with his thick cut fries and serves it alongside a cheese dipping sauce that has curds at the bottom–(FYI Chris, I can’t find my house keys when I’ve had too many gin and tonics–please don’t humiliate me by making me search for the curd in my poutine.)
Francois wins it–with a kind of potato pancake sandwich with melted cheese (see–now that is ingenious–a poutine that does not require a fork.)
Winning immunity and smiling (kind of sweet actually) he says “my momma will be proud.”
(My pick would have been Todd’s poutine topped with a moose stew. I want to drink in Newfoundland.)
We’re “back to the basics” of French cooking with uber-chef Daniel Boulud. Andrea refers to him as “a super star” (but not super cute..sorry Daniel). Chef Boulud is Dale’s mentor and Dale is ready to sculpt his likeness out of horse meat if he has to.
The challenge: a 10-course tasting menu using French proteins which each chef pulls from the knife block. This is where Andrea pulls the horse meat (she does look as if candid camera is going to pop out any second). Francois pulls “hazelnut” but by winning elimination he is allowed to switch with anyone. He takes “frog’s legs” from a relieved looking Todd.
Dale sulks for the rest of the show after pulling “oysters”. “My margin of freedom is nothing” he says. Make Daniel love you Dale–oysters are an aphrodisiac after all.
Francois has the privilege of putting the menu in its serving order. It goes from the top: Oysters-Dale, Horse-Andrea, Foie Gras-Chris, Lobster-Connie, Skate-Daryll, Frog Legs-Francois, Sweet Breads-Rob, Rabbit-Patrick, Lamb-Dustin and Hazelnuts-Todd.
Essentially all the chefs are relying on their French Basics training–possibly back from cooking school–and hoping to impress one of the best chefs in the world.
Darryl decides to stay basic and Rob stays catty, “Salt’s too fancy for Darryl” he quips.
Chris has no idea what to do with foie gras so logically decides to make a foie torchon in one day when it actually requires three.
Dale works out his frustration by folding his linens –snapping them into crisp squares. He’s never been happier all episode. Maybe he should make a napkin swan and float his oysters to the table.
Francois is tres confidant because, “I have studied in French, worked two years in France and oh yah..also I have immunity.”
I anticipate more Inspector Clousot music when we discover that Francois has never made frog’s legs in his life. That crazy Quebecer!
Ultimately Francois pulls off the frogs legs, the judges are impressed. The visual slightly reminds me of a Kermit the Frog massacre but it is bright and fresh looking. Judges love it. Cue love theme from Amelie.
Rob modestly admits “he rocks” before he goes out to serve. And so he does. DB pays the ultimate compliment, “a very well executed dish” (Sweet breads, garlic puree, chanterelles, brussel sprouts and smoked bacon.)
Guest judge Laura Calder (French Chef at Home) questions whether Todd’s Tarte Tatin puff pastry is homemade (good call–homemade by Presidents’s Choice. Laura).
First let me say that Mark McEwan is showing up for briefer and briefer periods in these episodes–(does he have a food empire to run or something?)
Francois (frogs’ legs, salsify purée and parsley jus), Connie (lobster bisque, scallop dumpling, brandy chantilly cream), Rob (sweet breads) and Dustin (rack of lamb with baby vegetables and parsnip purée).
Rob steals the win with the classiest of the classic dishes.
Andrea: the horse meat tartar made more of an impact on Facebook. Judges find it bland and are melodramatic about the fact that she served it with a cracker and not toast. Poor Andrea –she really looks like she’s taking it hard.
Darryl- his skate dish is as lemony as lemon pie-not in a good way.
Todd- admits his first instinct was a souffle rather than the Tarte Tatin. Everyone seems to think, “waaaaay better idea”. Chef Boulud gently suggests that Todd practice making puff pastry 2 hrs a week as penance.
Chris- basically a disaster of raw liver that is also under seasoned. Chris looks defiant and essentially tells the judges that, “though I know nothing about foie gras, I stand by my raw, mushy torchon of disappointment.”
Not surprisingly–Chris is sent packing. Onwards…and downwards? Milestones coming up next!