Careful not to lose their edge, the finalists taste Rio's best wines to learn about clarity, aromatics, and pairings for their next challenge.
The contestants are here to cook under fire, not start them! Ming reacts quickly to a grease fire left blazing by Russell.
Allergic to uncooked alcohol, Russell didn't have a taste for wine and takes home the 86 pan.
|THE FINALISTS' JOURNALS|
Read more about this episode in the finalists' own words.
|John Paul Abernathy|
86'd in this episode
Guest Chef Judge: Martin Heierling, Sensi in Las Vegas
Las Vegas' reputation as the ultimate party town makes it the perfect location to challenge the contestants' knowledge of wine. First, our final eight get a crash course during a guided tour of Vegas hotspot Rio's extensive wine cellar from sommelier Ryan Voss, who teaches them how to taste and pair wines. As a wine expert, Voss educates the thirsty finalists on a simple and proven principle: balance either the equal or the opposite flavors of a wine to complement a dish and bring out the best in both. In keeping with Vegas glamour, Voss' selection of wines includes a 1982 bottle of Chateau Latour — a tremendous $1,000 treat for everyone sipping.
Next, our eight new wine connoisseurs head upstairs to meet Chef William Becker, Rio's director of culinary operations, who introduces them to a fully stocked kitchen. In 45 minutes, the finalists must prepare and pair three dishes with wines before returning to the kitchen one by one to plate, present, and explain their pairings to the judges. As they work, Russell leaves a dangerous grease fire roaring, which Ming Tsai quickly extinguishes after Russell shows little concern. From the ashes of that fiasco, the ladies rise yet again and are applauded for their food, all of which "brilliantly" complements the wines. In particular, Katie's confidence and knowledge of wines wins her a high-end Laguiole French corkscrew. But not everyone does so well, as both Matthew and Russell turn in rather sour performances. Matthew lives to cook another day, but Russell's fiery mess pairs nastily with his bad wine choices, making him this week's recipient of the dreaded 86 pan.