It is not a winter wonderland for the cooks because the heated competition continues in the new episode of “The Taste” Season 3 Episode 3 “Happy Holidays,” which aired last Dec. 18, 2014 at 8:00 p.m. on ABC. In this episode, cooks create their best holiday food for an award-winning chef, it is the first time for the mentors to receive only three spoons and Ludo announces he is getting tired of one teammate.
Anthony introduced the theme of the episode, which is "Happy Holidays." However, he breaks the holiday spirit for a while by reminding the cooks that two of them will be going home. Anthony moves on to introduce the guest mentor who won a James Beard Award. Naomi Pomeroy enters the stage as everybody gives a round of applause. Lastly, he reminds the cooks that they have one hour to complete their dishes.
After Naomi exits to the break room, each mentor goes to their kitchen. The mentor introduces their own theme for the group, which they think is best to represent the main theme. In Anthony’s Kitchen, they must cook any holiday bird except the turkey. “Festive fowl” is the theme of Marcus’s Kitchen. Nigella wants her team to make a spiced chocolate holiday dessert. In Ludo’s Kitchen, they must make a dish with duck and sauce. Each cook is expected to make their own version of their mentor’s given theme.
The reward will be a special masterclass with Naomi. She will also be with the cooks to mentor them during the solo challenge. The mentor of the losing team, however, will be forced to eliminate one cook.
Before the cooks create their own dish, each mentor must present their own version of their team’s theme. Ludo is presenting the most unusual dish that makes his team members excited. He starts chopping the cooked meat messily. He then puts the meat on the duck press to extract the juice out. However, the weirdest part is that he will put hay on butter. First, he torches the hay to toast it. Then he cooks the hay with the meat and butter. He explains that the butter absorbs the flavor of the toasted hay. His team loves the taste of the finished dish.
The cooks start making their dishes. They must do their best for only one person will be picked to represent a team.
While Anthony checks each of his members, he notices Tarik using spices that are not coinciding with traditional Western holiday food. He asks him what ingredients are prohibited for his religion. Tarik answers pork and alcohol. He shares that he is a Muslim and does not celebrate holidays like most people do. On the contrary, he knows holiday food is all about passion and soul.
Nigella is uneasy about making her team cook dessert since most chefs are all about savory food. However, she thinks the perfect holiday food is dessert. She stays on Mia’s station the whole time, lecturing her step by step. P. K. is confident that she can stand alone because she thinks she has more experience than Mia. Nigella reminds Mia to be precise with the measurements all the time. She thinks baking is a science. She explains one wrong measurement can ruin the dish.
Marcus is proud of his team for winning two team challenges in a row. However, he knows other mentors, especially Ludo, are more determined to steal his team’s winning streak.
Some cooks start tasting each of their teammates’ dishes to help with their mentor’s decision. However, Ludo is having a hard time making his team start tasting. He starts scolding his team that it can be heard in other kitchens.
Cooks start plating their dishes. Mentors taste each of their team’s dishes. Anthony likes Tarik’s Moroccan and African spices. He thinks it represents Christmas well. Benjamin helps Ludo decide on which dish to choose. Nigella is confused on what dessert to pick between P. K. and Mia.
Nigella chooses Mia because the balance of flavor and texture on her dish is perfect. Marcus tells Gabe that he chooses his dish, so Gabe must hurry in plating it. Anthony chooses Tarik’s dish, while Dan is Ludo’s bet.
Time is up, but Gabe did not manage to finish plating. Marcus is mad at him. He admits he wants to punch Gabe for not finishing the most important details.
It is time for Naomi to blindly taste the chosen dishes. She thinks Mia’s gingerbread chocolate cake with mascarpone is delicious and perfect for the holiday season. However, she finds the dish confusing because of the conflicting flavors of chocolate and ginger. Mia asks Nigella if that is a good thing. Nigella thinks Naomi liked the dish.
Dan’s duck with sauce, roasted pear, mushrooms, foie gras and ginger is next. Naomi likes the texture and thinks the flavors fit the holidays. Even though she is not sure of the ingredients, she loves the dish as a whole.
Tarik is confident with his dish as Naomi nods while tasting his duck breast with carrot purée and currant reduction. Naomi finds the dish delicious, despite not identifying the protein because of the bold flavors.
Gabe’s squab, fig compote, cognac raisins, apple and duck liver dish has a nice combination of flavors for Naomi. However, it is salty for her taste.
The best taste is Dan’s dish from Team Ludo. Ludo is happy to beat Marcus. The second best taste is Tarik’s dish from Team Anthony.
The worst taste is Mia’s dish from Team Nigella. Mia cannot believe her dish is the last place. Nigella feels ashamed that her team has the worst taste in team challenges three weeks in a row. She chooses Mia to be eliminated because she thinks Mia cannot handle the pressure of being the remaining member of her team. That means P.K. is the only one left in Nigella’s team. However, Nigella is still confident because there will only be one winner anyway.
After the masterclass with Naomi, the cooks start to make their dishes for the solo challenge. While Naomi is supervising Team Ludo, she notices that Jen was nervous and disorganized.
On the other hand, Tarik is making a big risk by cooking pork despite being a Muslim. He thinks that if it will be cooked properly, he can win the challenge.
Tom puts out the beef from the pressure cooker. He thinks the meat is cooked properly. However, when he sliced it, he finds out that it is too tough for anyone to eat. His plan B is to cut the meat into thin slices.
After tasting Jen’s sauce, Naomi thinks it is the most delicious in her team. However, she is worried if Jen can finish plating. She is totally right. Jen finishes plating only three spoons.
During the blind-tasting of the four mentors, they are all disappointed to see only three spoons from one cook. Nigella and Ludo have no choice but to share one spoon. However, Jen’s prime rib with marsala glaze and mushrooms is delicious. Despite the good taste, Marcus and Anthony believe that one missing spoon is unacceptable.
After the blind-tasting, the best and worst cooks are announced. Anthony picks Tarik as his best cook. Marcus chooses Gabe. Nigella thinks Tom’s dish is the best. Dan is Ludo’s best cook.
Tom has a rollercoaster ride because Anthony chooses him as his worst cook. Marcus and Nigella picks Jen because of incomplete spoons. Joe is chosen by Ludo as his worst.
While deliberating who must be in the bottom two for the taste off, Ludo tells Jen he is getting tired of her. He even scolds her that she deserves to go home. However, Jen announces she is proud of what she did. All the judges are surprised of what she said. Marcus is annoyed that he reminds her about Naomi staying in the kitchen with her, yet she did not finish plating her dish. Jen defends herself by saying the show is all about the taste anyway. She believes her dish is still delicious. Marcus scolds her that she must show some humility because she is the only one with unfinished plating. Ludo thinks Jen is too stubborn.
Jen says she is confident in winning the taste off. Ludo scolds her again because the bottom two is not even announced yet.
The cooks who will be in the taste off are Jen and Joe. Tom has the upper hand because of his gold star from Nigella.
Ludo and Marcus stay with Jen and Joe to coach them during the battle. The key ingredient for the elimination round is Cornish hen. The cooks only have 40 minutes to cook.
Jen will be cooking Cornish hen breast with white wine, mushrooms, potatoes and thyme. Ludo lets her choose what dish to cook because he will just coach her. On the other table, Joe is cooking fried Cornish hen with bourbon gravy.
Ludo is scolding Jen because she does not know how to clean a chicken properly. He starts kicking a table because Jen is too slow and disorganized. He tells Jen to get the mustard, but she tells him she cannot understand what he is saying because of his heavy French accent. He yells at Jen, telling her she is the only one who does not understand him. While plating, he tells her that she is slow like a turtle. Jen answers back that doctors help people. Ludo gets exasperated because he meant turtle, not doctor.
Anthony, Nigella and Naomi exit the break room to get on stage for the blind-tasting. After tasting Joe’s dish, all judges think it is too tart. With Jen’s dish, the judges say they only tasted mustard.
In the end, Joe is eliminated. He cannot believe it because he knows he put his heart and soul on the dish.
There you have it for the recap on “The Taste” Season 3 Episode 3 “Happy Holidays,” which aired last Dec. 18, 2014 at 8:00 p.m. on ABC. Catch the next episode on Jan. 1, 2015. For more updates about this show, including spoilers and recaps, follow Movie News Guide (MNG).
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