Top Chef
Sunny Delights

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Keckler: B | Grade It Now!
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Bye, Bye Birdsong

Back in the kitchens, the cheftestants prep for two hours. Food Flurry. Hung tears through the kitchen at a run and tells us that Immunity means nothing for him in this challenge. He's "still going to blow them away no matter what." Hung throws open the fridge door and something falls and breaks. Bravo must have an awesome Foley team because I swear the breaking sound is the same one Billy Joel used in the opening of "You May Be Right." "I didn't do it! I didn't do it!" Hung insists, but does clean it up. Lia says that Hung is always running around like crazy, "It seems a little dangerous." Casey comments on the interesting things going on in the kitchen. No doubt -- what the heck is that pineapple thing CJ has in a sauteuse? I say "pineapple thing" because it has a top like a pineapple and eyes like a pineapple, but the thingness comes from the fact that it looks like it's made out of dough or flour or something white. It also appears to be melting into the pan. Brian (MALARKEY!) is excited about his seafood sausage, admitting that it doesn't sound like much, but he's as confident as he was when he made the dueling snakes with ribs of venom and Medusa eyes. And when he says "confident," we all know he means "crazy." Tre, who says he knows how to "kick up a grill," thinks his peach BBQ salmon is going to be a major top contender. More Food Flurry. Sandee, being from the South, knows everyone expects her to do barbecue chicken but she's going for lobster and pancetta with a vanilla bean bacon butter sauce. We see a lot of finger tasting going on in here, and I am just glad Hubert isn't here to see it. Although, I do miss him.

Okay, so after my recaplet rant about vanilla and lobster, not only did I get emails from people who have experienced the combo but I also consulted with a fellow food blogger on the matter. Johanna at The Passionate Cook had this to say to my "what gives?" email:

I guess it is the sweetness of the lobster meat that allows that pairing -- and vanilla, for me at least, isn’t really a "sweet" taste in itself, if you can get yourself not to see it as intrinsically linked with custard or ice cream! Many people are unable to distinguish vanilla (the real deal) from vanillin, which is used to flavour ice cream, custard and the like (cooks illustrated did a study on this). The vanilla in the mayonnaise here just adds a whiff of something exotic, but doesn't actually sweeten the dish at all…it's just a flavour component like cumin, but much more elegant and subtle at that. It allows you to add a special note without completely drowning the delicate flavour of seafood.

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