Lia explains that when she saw the table full of proteins on ice, she knew there was some exotic stuff there. She recognized razor clams and rattlesnake, but admits -- and I do love that a Jean-Georges executive chef admits to this -- that there was "this big pile of blacky-blue stuff and I don't even know what that is." The camera pans to show what looks like black fleshed birds of some sort. We find out later that it's black chicken, but I have never seen it before. Crazy. It's being called a "super food" in China now. Padma gestures at the piles of protein and announces they'll be using them to create a surf 'n' turf entrÃ©e. Colicchio steps in to say that surf 'n' turf is all about showing off. He admits that surf 'n' turf is usually made from the most luxurious ingredients, like filet mignon and lobster, but that's too easy. They are going to use these exotic ingredients to impress the judges with their culinary skills. Padma announces that there are only two portions of each particular protein, so it's possible that not everyone will get exactly what they want. The cheftestants draw knives to determine the order in which they'll pick their proteins. This means, of course, if you have a higher number you might have a slimmer chance of getting the protein you want or actually know how to cook.
Joey From New York goes first and admits to playing it safe by scoring some buffalo rib eye and a whole fish. In addition to buffalo, whole fish, black chicken, rattlesnake, and razor clams, there's also the very phallic geoduck, sea urchin (I hope they have Ilan on call in case someone needs him to pee on them), eel, wild boar, kangaroo, scorpion fish, alligator tail, ostrich, monkfish liver, and frog legs. The whole room applauds when Brian selects both eel and rattlesnake. Hung goes for geoduck and black chicken and tells us, "the black chicken is used only for braising -- we don't even eat the chicken because it's so damn tough. It's like eating freakin' wood." Okay, if you don't eat the chicken, then why did you choose the chicken? Wait, I think I get it -- he's going to be the first cheftestant to make a dish you don't eat! Now that's thinking outside the box.