Mike and Jen are cooking next to each other, and Mike jokes that he's making chocolate polenta bars, if he can execute it. He interviews that his mom probably did make him snacks in brown paper bags when he was growing up, but he probably blocked it out, because they were so bad. I hope his mom isn't watching, since he just insulted her cooking. Although since Mike is her son, I'm sure she has bigger problems. Marcel, on the other hand, has a mom who took over his school's lunch program to make it healthier, so he loves her cooking and loves cooking for kids. I'll bet kids like Marcel. He kind of looks like a cartoon character and he makes weird-looking food.
Spike comes from a restaurant family and always had to make the homemade potato chips growing up, so that's what he's making today. He's using a deli slicer instead of a mandoline to slice the chips, but he knows what he's doing, obviously. Kids probably like Spike too. He looks like Poochie. Tiffani is having some trouble with the liquid nitrogen and asks a passing Blais for help. He tries to just yell something out, but it doesn't work, so he takes a second to run over and fix it for her. Blais can't stand to see liquid nitrogen used improperly. It was nice of him to help, but it must be annoying that every other cheftestant (except maybe Marcel and Angelo) probably ask for his help with that stuff. Tiffani goes on, in an interview, to redeem herself A LOT in the eyes of everyone. She reminds us of the challenge during her season where they had to cook for the Boys and Girls Club, and she was an insufferable prig about how real chefs wouldn't deign to cater to the child's palate. Yikes, reading through that recap, I'm remembering more about why I hated both Stephen and Tiffani. Anyway, Tiffani now admits that she was an asshole. And with that interview, anyone who had residual hatred for her must feel it wash away, right? She was always a good chef but her attitude sucked, and she's showing us that her attitude has changed. She just rocketed up to my top five, easily. Anyway, she knows now that the challenge is to give the kids what they want, so her dish is "somewhere in between a Snowball, a Moon Pie, and a Rice Krispie Treat, if all those three things, like, had a threesome and a baby." I really like her right now. We could hang. Especially if she brought some of those treats she's making. I'm not sure why she needs to use liquid nitrogen to freeze the marshmallows in her dish, but who am I to judge?
Blais interviews that he was "a husky kid" (a.k.a. fattie, and I was one too, so I know whereof I speak) and that no one ever really told him how to eat, so he would eat things like cereal with heavy cream, because it tasted good. Yikes. That makes me like him more, though. Stephen, on the other hand, had parents who monitored his eating habits, and he ate healthy. So today, he's making snickerdoodles. He knows they're still cookies, but they aren't super high in calories, for a cookie. Dale T. knows that kids want unhealthy food, but all that sugar means that they will be wired, and he wonders if he should have laced his corn muffins with Nyquil so that they kids would pass out. I have sometimes wondered the same thing with my twins' bottles. Just a nip. It couldn't be that bad for them, right? (Note to Child Protective Services: Jokes! They're jokes.)
Everyone is stuffing his or her treat into the brown paper bags. Antonia laughs at Mike, who is sweating and grunting while trying to finish on time. She offers to help him, as she is cleaning up her station with five minutes left, but he doesn't want help. He just wants to sweat and grunt. He is gross. Anyway, Padma and Joe return to try the dishes, and everyone seems to finish on time. Here are the dishes:
Antonia: white chocolate and cherry muffin with cinnamon and allspice. There are also apple slices, but she doesn't mention them.
Blais: white bread (cooked in the microwave?), spiced apples with whipped honey and crunchy chocolate
Spike: homemade potato and carrot chips with mascarpone and marshmallow dip with lime zest
Tre: cracker with cranberry and cherry jam and apple smoked bacon and fresh basil
Casey: chocolate and bacon lasagna with apple juice and candy. Mike thinks chocolate lasagna sounds horrible. I think it sounds awesome. I don't think there's any pasta involved; I think it's just layers of different flavors, and that's why she called it lasagna. It's tough to tell from the pictures, though.
Dale L.: sweet tart nuggets and caveman boulders with chocolate sauce. Dale claims that his goal was to make his dish as sweet as possible, and he's hoping to achieve a ten-year-old rave. They really will be hallucinating after all that sugar.
Jamie: mini cheddar biscuits with homemade apple sauce
Tiffany: coconut rice pudding with grapefruit sauce. The dish is still warm when they get to her, and it falls apart in their hands.
Dale T.: corn cake with dried cherries and whipped maple topping
Fabio: apple with white chocolate, caramel, and blueberry, and an apple with dark chocolate, marshmallow, and candied ginger. Fabio jokes that a midnight snack in Italy is pasta and roast chicken. Even for kids?
Tiffani: rice krispie treat snowball with malted milk and graham crackers
Angelo: fried dough, white pepper, Old Bay spice, and cheddar crumbs. He calls it Cheese Crisps 2010: The New Evolution. Only Angelo would have both a title and a subtitle for his dish.
Stephen: snickerdoodle sandwich with white chocolate, coconut ganache, apricot, and mint
Jen: bacon ginger taffy and honey grilled peaches. She jokes that if the kids don't like her taffy, they can whip it at each other. Then she laughs overly hard at her own joke. I'm just pointing it out because this is the first instance of Jen being a little over-the-top, compared to her normally laid-back style.
Mike: chocolate coconut corn bar and coconut horchata chaser, which is supposed to be like cookies and milk.
So they skipped over Marcel and Carla, which is fine by me, but why did they show EVERYONE else. Weird. Joe lines up with Padma to explain which dishes he liked and which ones he didn't. The worst are first. They also cut to this weird shot of Jen GRINNING REALLY HARD, like so hard that one of her eyes is almost shut. I'm just saying. In light of what comes later, I feel like I need to explain why I thought something about Jen was off from the very beginning. Anyway, Joe disses Tiffany's dish because it fell apart and was messy, Mike's dish because it wasn't chocolatey enough, and Stephen's dish because the filling wasn't great and needed more mint. I don't think I've ever asked for more mint on anything. I hate mint except for gum and toothpaste.
The two favorites were Spike and Tiffany, and Joe puts his best Camp Rock acting skills out there to pretend like he couldn't decide which one was best. So they're going to let the kids decide! What a spontaneous decision! I wish they had just admitted up front that Joe was going to narrow it down to two and then the kids would decide. I don't get why we needed this whole storyline overlay. Anyway, many chefs are worried about the kids deciding, or even being around or seeing kids at all. For example, Dale L. thinks that kids are called brats for a reason. Look, I don't begrudge anyone for not liking kids, just because I have some. A lot of kids are annoying, mine included at times. I do kind of think that, by writing off all kids, you're missing out on some cool people, but it's not like any of the chefs is going to make a magical buddy connection at a Quickfire, so whatever.
Spike and Tiffani learn the details of what they need to do to earn immunity in the Elimination Challenge. They will have to serve their snack to 150 kids. Tiffani is confident; Spike is less so, if only because he's putting carrot chips up against Tiffani's sugar bomb. So what are the other cheftestants going to be