Not just any pub food but British pub food in all it's fried starchy glory. It's either stick to your ribs good or spackle your house convenient, you choose. Since Jonathan won the Quickfire he gets to pick first from the six of what he wants to reinvent. Shepherd's Pie comes off the table. Now the remaining chefs must fight over the rest and fight they do. Our man about fish, Rick Moonen would love to rejigger Fish & Chips but so would my little French Cheese, Ludo. Suddenly it starts to get personal.
Dare I ask Ludo, where do you want Rick to take this meat?
Yeah.....just forget I even asked. Ludo (insert your favorite French surrender joke here) gives and ends up with Irish Stew. We will all come to regret this.
For once, shopping is interesting because the chefs describe the dishes they selected. Fish and chips and Irish Stew are pretty self explanatory but not everyone has had the pleasure of the four remaining dishes. Mark explains that Toad in the Hole is sausage cooked in Yorkshire pudding so he decides to upscale it by making a seafood sausage. Jonathan has Shepherd's Pie which is the lamb version of Cottage Pie where a minced meat is covered by a mashed potato crust and baked. Graham chose the Steak and Kidney Pie which is more cut up beef steak and kidneys covered in a thick sauce and covered with a crust and baked. (I'm sensing a pattern here). Wylie apparently chose Bangers (sausage) and Mash (mashed potatoes) for it's lack of green vegetables. I'm kinda sad that they left out the Jellied Eels as a possible choice.
Maybe next season. The gents get two hours to prep after their shopping. Graham wrestles with cleaning his kidneys. Mark is rolling right along with his seafood sausage.
I wish I knew what he was using as a casing? Two hours is up and the boys pack their stuff and relocate to Tom Bergin's Tavern, a dark shamrock encrusted place just oozing with pub food or at least pub food grease.
No time to gawk, you've only got an hour to cook. Or annoy your competition.
The Love Affair between Rick and Ludo continues in the close confines of the tiny kitchen.
The rest of the chefs seem to be humming right along. That is until Mark checks in on his Toad in the Holes. With only ten minutes left, his oven seems to have either malfunctioned or been turned down or off. For a Yorkshire Pudding, this is not a good thing. We've seen chefs pull amazing turn arounds in the past, will Mark be one of those chefs? Meanwhile despite all his bitching and moaning, Ludo feels pretty good about his chances with his version of Irish Stew.
I would feel that way too.....if the challenge was to make your dish look like a beautiful piece of abstract art. Time to go to the green leather banquettes and see how our guys did.
In the banquettes tonight are the dueling Gails/Gaels, and Jay & Kelly. Seems James has been given the night off. Ludo is up first.
The food Geek in me must point out Ludo's use of black radishes. I did a post on this spicy root veggie and knowing how this tastes gives me a good idea of what a wide range of flavors Ludo has got going on here. Immediately the "Questionable Dish" music starts playing in the background. I think Ludo will be taking some of the Critics meat. Rick is next with his Fish and Chips and damned if fish loving bastard didn't chicken fry some luscious pieces of black cod or sable fish. Frying black cod is like frying a big juicy chicken thigh. His fish gets raves. Wylie presents his version of Bangers and Mash next and actually added a wee bit of the green to his dish. The critics seem to enjoy it. Graham tries to apply some Baconization to his Steak and Kidney Pie. Gael Greene seems upset that Graham has eliminated most of the flavor from the kidneys. Mark tries serving his Toad in the Hole with all his fingers and toes crossed in the hopes that no one will notice the gloppy doughy thing at the bottom of the most Food Pornolicious dish I've ever seen.
I really wish this dish had come to fruition because in theory it sounds wonderful. The critics however, can not ignore the sadness hidden beneath. Jonathan rounds out the final dish with a very simply done Shepherd's Pie with a lamb chop, loose mashed potatoes with a little Parmesan cheese. Stripping the dish to it's essence seems to have made the Critics happy.
Back in the Stew Room, the Battle Royale continues between Ludo and Rick.
What are they arguing about? Who knows, perhaps the last Red Bull but they do seem to enjoy picking at each other. After Critics Table, I'm pretty sure Rick won't have to worry about Ludo because Ludo takes a beating for his non-Irish Stew. Joining him in the beat down was Mark and his failed Yorkshire Pudding. In the love category are Rick and Jonathan with Graham and Wylie holding down the middle. So who will fulfill their redemption fantasies?
He is the Walrus....He is the Fishman....cucucuchoo.
Next up? Watching the watchers.