Narrator: What makes a great recipe?
Are they the dishes that are passed down to us through generations of home cooking?
Woman: I love to make my mom's honey turkey wings.
Narrator: Are they the ones that tell the story of who we are and where we're from?
Man: I'm making Nashville hot chicken.
Second man: Korean potstickers, or what we call mandu.
Chilaquiles is a very popular Mexican dish.
But this is something that I've recreated here in the United States.
Narrator: Modern American home cooking has it all.
Woman: This brings us all the love.
That broth just feels so good.
The flavor is so many memories, so many important moments in your family's life.
Narrator: From a personal twist on an American classic... Man: I add cardamom to the cookies.
Oh, my gosh.
Perfect for oatmeal cookies.
Narrator: to a century-old Sunday gravy.
Man: Just to set the record straight, if there is meat in it, it is a gravy.
Narrator: To discover the melting pot of dishes this country has to offer, we have invited 10 talented home cooks from regions across the United States to share the unique and heartwarming stories behind their most treasured recipes.
This is really genius.
You need that open flame to char the squid.
Woman: I think about how wonderful the food is, and honestly, I think about my grandmother.
There is so much love.
This is family.
Narrator: And at the end of their journey, one home cook... You're passionate about flavor and you respect your heritage.
That is a perfect recipe.
Narrator: will be crowned the winner.
[Contestants cheering] Whoo!
Our doors are open and everyone's invited.
Welcome to "The Great American Recipe."
[Pencil scratching] ♪ ♪ Woman: Hi, everyone!
[Contestants cheering] Oh, my goodness, this is gonna be fun!
I'm here with some amazing cooks, but I didn't come here to play, I came to cook, baby, I came to cook.
[Laughs] Man: Feeling pretty excited.
This is the moment that we've all been waiting for.
This is the opportunity to share my story and to be able to show that any home cook, from any background, has recipes to share with the world.
[Cheering and applause] Welcome to "The Great American Recipe."
I'm your host--Alejandra Ramos.
Everyone has their own personal food story.
Over the years, I've created hundreds of recipes that combine the Puerto Rican foods I grew up eating in New York with the dishes and flavors I've fallen in love with along the way.
Now we wanna fall in love with your recipes.
You each have a unique background and flair for cooking up the tastiest dishes from around the country.
But before we set you free in the kitchen, are you ready to meet the judges?
[Cheering and applause] Alejandra: Welcome, welcome.
[Laughs] Woman: Oh, my God, these are the people that are gonna judge my food.
I hope I do not mess up and I don't set my station on fire.
[Laughs] First we have Tiffany Derry.
Tiffany cultivated her passion for cooking with the seasons growing up on her family's farm in the South.
Now an award-winning chef, Tiffany presides over 3 restaurants in Texas that celebrate the soul of Southern farm to table cooking.
Narrator: Tiffany's work as a food ambassador for the U.S. Embassy has sent her all over the world, feeding her hunger to explore the techniques, culture, and stories of each country's cuisine.
Next we have Leah Cohen.
Leah is a celebrated chef and a cookbook author who sharpened her skills working in Michelin-starred restaurants.
She then traveled throughout Asia, immersing herself in the Southeast Asian flavors of her Filipina heritage.
Now her notable New York City restaurants combine classical Western techniques with the spicy and robust Asian flavors that she loves.
And last, but certainly not least, Graham Elliott.
Growing up on naval bases around the world, Graham has been exposed to flavors from every continent.
His culinary gift has earned him a rare two Michelin stars.
Alejandra: Now he's returned to the Hawaii of his youth, blending the local flavors of the island with his inventive cuisine.
All 3 of these judges have found success in fusing their award-winning recipes with heartfelt food stories.
Now it's your turn.
Here's how it'll work.
Each week, there will be a different theme and you'll cook up your most cherished recipes in two rounds.
In each round, you'll present a different recipe that will be judged on taste, execution, presentation, and how well your recipe showcases the theme.
We wanna find the home cook with the most delicious recipes out there.
At the end of the competition, the winner will have one of their recipes featured on the cover of "The Great American Recipe" cookbook.
Man: I'm so excited to be competing because I've got a deep, rich history of family cooking, and I would love for one of my recipes to become a tradition for other people.
The theme for today is "If I were a recipe."
In the first round, you have 60 minutes to cook a dish that introduces us to every single delicious flavor that you feel defines who you are.
This is your chance to make a memorable first impression.
Good luck, cooks.
Your 60 minutes starts...now.
♪ It's go time.
I'm Foo Win, I'm 48, and I'm from Los Angeles, California.
I'm a home cook, I'm fast, I'm efficient, and I love doing dishes with Southeast Asian flavors.
Today, I'm making a Vietnamese-inspired beef salad.
Inside the salad is watercress, romaine lettuce, Brussels sprouts, and carrots that I roast.
My marinade for the beef is oyster sauce and black bean sauce marinade.
I was 3 years old when my parents emigrated here from Vietnam in 1975, and we moved to Cincinnati, Ohio.
The dish is quite humbling to me because my parents, when they came over to the United States, they didn't have any money, and when they did have money and they were able to afford steak or beef, that's a special occasion.
My mom cooked traditional Vietnamese food.
That's where I learned a lot of my culinary skills.
My wife and I have two little girls.
They're 5 and 7.
Chloe and Kit.
Now that I'm older, now that I have kids, I respect the history behind these foods.
I'm ready to share my recipe with everybody.
All right, that's-- we like it, we like it.
♪ [Food processor whirring] Bambi: ♪ Mac and cheese, mac and cheese ♪ Work it, baby, work it.
[Laughs] I'm Bambi, I am 53 years old, and I live in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
The first round is meat on a plate.
So, I'm making smoked mac and cheese, 'cause in every Black Southern home, you gotta know how to cook mac and cheese.
I grew up in the South, and because we were a farm family, we had everything.
We had fresh meat as well as our garden foods and greens, so, we ate off the land.
When I'm making this mac and cheese, there's mozzarella, Colby-Jack, smoked Gouda, and sharp cheddar.
The traditional recipe is passed down from generation to generation, and so, I'm hoping to express that I am a traditional Southern girl with a little bit of spice, baby.
[Laughs] I am using the food processor and I'm like, OK, I have my rhythm, like, mm, I'm gonna win this competition.
This is not happening.
Lord have mercy.
I am losing time.
I am so stressed.
I am shaking.
I'm just gonna have to do it old school.
We're gonna do quick mac and cheese, and we know how to do it.
I'm Silvia Martinez, I'm 49 years old, and I am from San Luis Obispo, California.
I'm making chilaquiles with queso fresco and avocado and a egg on top.
I was born and raised in Mexico, and I grew up in a state called Guanajuato.
My husband and I met in Mexico, and he is American, and we got married, and is when I moved to California.
And now I'm a mom.
I have two beautiful boys.
What I'm doing right now is just getting the salsa to roast.
It's just adding an extra layer of flavor.
Little bit of spiciness, a little bit of smokiness.
[Blender whirring] I cook a lot of Mexican food, but I also like mixing my cooking with things that I see in California.
Fresh vegetables and just certain cuts of meat.
And that just has enriched my Mexican cooking as well.
I'm gonna start cutting my tortillas so I can put them in the fryer and get that really crispy base for the dish.
Chilaquiles is a very popular Mexican dish, usually for breakfast.
It was made when people had old tortillas and they didn't want to just throw them out.
Normally, we fry them and then cook them in the sauce, and with the salsa, it gets soggy, so, I decided to switch the soggy tortillas for the crispy tortilla chips, so, when I give a bite to the chilaquiles, they are still crunchy.
But when I do that with my Mexican family, they say, "Those are not chilaquiles," and I say, "Well, yeah, those are my chilaquiles, the way I like them."
So, I need to have perfect tortillas for the judges.
I cannot burn them.
I cannot make any mistakes.
45 minutes remaining.
♪ We're doing some ribeyes.
It's one of my favorite cuts of meat.
We gotta get 'em out to rest so they'll cook evenly.
My name is Brian Lee, I'm 42 years old, and I live in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
Family recipes mean everything to me.
My family background is a blend of Hungarian, Germanic heritage.
Every meal has something that originated within my family recipes.
So, my dish today is a ribeye with blue cheese, with barbecued Brussels sprouts.
It's gonna be fantastic.
As a home cook, my cooking style is rustic, open flame-style cooking.
Steak, ribs, brisket.
Anytime a grill is fired up, I'm there.
So, this is a favorite steak blend of mine.
I'm so excited for the judges to try it.
I feel like I can crush this one.
I am so honored to be competing because I love to inspire and share the culinary traditions that form the basis of my family.
See you in 15.
♪ [Food processor whirring] Brian: How you doing over there, Robin?
Robin: I'm having fun over here grinding up my nuts.
[Laughs] [Whirring stops] My name is Robin Talbot, I'm 68, and I'm from Annapolis, Maryland.
I am a mother of 4, grandmother of 3, and we are a family of cooks.
We all love passing down the recipes that were given to me from my mother, who was Syrian, and so, we've adopted a lot of the Middle Eastern food into our style of cooking.
I am making baklava.
[Laughs] We've got walnuts and pistachios ground in here with spices.
I have just butter basted the pastry, the filo dough, and I'm about to roll this up and get it in the oven and let it bake.
I would hang out in the kitchen with my mom, who was a first-generation Syrian, and the traditions, culture, and customs that she taught us, the kitchen is the best place to keep it alive.
We've got rose water in the honey.
You mix the rose water in with the honey, 'cause rose water can taste wonderfully floral.
♪ [Food processor whirring] Get it, get it, get it, get it, get it.
I'm Nikki Tayno-Alamand, I'm 44, from Boise, Idaho, and I love taking my Italian family recipes and combining them with ingredients local to Idaho.
I'm doing flank steak with a chimichurri and roasted Parmesan Italian potatoes.
So, I'm Italian.
At my dad's house, we had my grandparents living with us, and it was all home-cooked food.
I just learned from them.
I love to grow our own food in our garden, so, I absolutely love having, like, all of our fresh herbs, and this chimichurri is just perfect for that.
We like to add basil to ours.
[Blender whirring] I'm cooking the potatoes two different ways because I have two crazy boys.
One likes it sliced, one likes it diced.
So, I thought, it's meant to be.
But I am terrified about getting judged on my food.
The potatoes might not be done, the steak might be too rare, the chimichurri might be too basil-y.
Talk about stressful.
I can feel sweat in places that there should not be sweat.
♪ Man: Giving it everything I have.
My name's Dan Renaldi, I'm 52 years old, I'm from Providence, Rhode Island, and I'm a firefighter.
I'm making Rhode Island-style fried calamari.
It's a classic Italian dish.
It's the state appetizer.
So, it kind of represents me all the way around.
I'm a Rhode Island guy, born and bred, I'm an Italian guy, so, kinda made sense to me to do the dish that we're pretty much known for.
I get the calamari started by soaking it in a little bit of buttermilk.
The majority of the squid that comes out of the water for the United States comes out of Rhode Island waters, and this dish is very unique to Rhode Island, because the other states serve their calamari with tomato sauce, where we serve it with a hot pepper sauce.
I grew up in a very large Italian family.
There was always cooking of something going on.
That's where it all started.
I didn't even know that clothes drying racks, the wooden ones, were used for clothes until I was in my teens.
They were used to hang pasta in my house.
It's important for me to share my recipes with the world 'cause I like to represent the Italian food, the Italian upbringing.
We're gonna get our fried calamari going.
Cooking's pretty much shaped my outlook on life, 'cause cooking's the one thing you can do to get everybody together.
It's like the one bond we all have that we can kind of circle the wagons around.
It smells so good.
It's almost making my eyes water with all the garlic.
Ooh, now you're speaking my language.
♪ This smells [sniffs] oh, so good!
♪ I'm Christina McElvy, I'm 42 years old, and I'm from Portland, Oregon.
I am a small business lender and I enjoy an active lifestyle and creating healthy Filipino versions of the food that I grew up with.
I'm making a chicken adobo bowl.
It's traditional Filipino adobo.
This is a dish that my dad taught me.
I grew up in Saginaw, Michigan, and, being Filipino, my parents made a lot of traditional Filipino dishes.
For my parents to teach Filipino cooking to me was a way for them to pass on where they're from.
I'm using just lean chicken breasts.
I did keep a little bit of the fat on just to make sure that we've got a little extra flavor there.
It's gonna go with a bed of kale and carrot slaw.
I want to be able to share Filipino food and to show that there are different variations of those flavors incorporated into traditional American dishes.
Because it's comfort food, it's what I grew up with, it's the flavors of home.
I am feeling good!
♪ There, we'll put that one on top for a few minutes.
♪ Man: Hey, BT.
Brian: What do you got?
So, this is my gochujang marinade right here.
It's got a little bit of soy, sesame, garlic, ginger.
Let me know what you think.
It's a little bit on the spicy side.
Oh, that's money.
You like it?
My name is Tony Sherber.
I'm 30 years old.
I'm from Minneapolis, Minnesota.
I'm a sport operation specialist.
My plate is Korean gochujang tacos.
I was born in Busan, South Korea, but I was adopted when I was about two years old, and it was definitely different, growing up in the Midwest.
Being a Korean-American, my brother and I both being adopted from Korea, my parents did everything they could to make sure that we were cognizant and aware of our culture.
And so, my style of cooking is Korean flavors but with a Midwestern flair.
[Blender whirring] It's kind of my own secret gochujang recipe marinade here.
Made it probably when I was in college, that it's kind of been more developed over time.
Gochujang is a fermented red bean paste, and it has soy, sesame oil, garlic, and then some gochugaru, which is a red chili Korean flake.
It's very important for me to cook Korean food because it's who I am.
Honestly, it's just like I'm cooking at home.
It's definitely stressful, but this is not the first time I've ever made these tacos.
I've made these tacos plenty of times.
I could probably do this in my sleep.
However, I've never cooked tacos in my sleep in 60 minutes.
How much time do we have left?
Alejandra: 15 minutes left.
♪ ♪ Woman: I just love plantains in any way, shape, or form.
I am Irma Cadiz, I am 45 years old, and I grew up in Rochester, New York.
But I live in Harlem in New York City.
I'm making mofongo.
It's a classic Puerto Rican dish.
It's a mash of plantains with garlic and olive oil, and I'm gonna be adding shrimp to that.
I grew up in the inner city in Rochester.
It was a very mixed and blended city, it was very multi-cultural.
I am Latina.
My father is from Puerto Rico and my mother is Dominican.
Everything I make is homestyle rustic, 'cause it does remind me of my mother, and food is a mother's love, and that's what you're putting on your plate for your kids, and it's me trying to replicate those flavors.
Back in there you go.
Gonna mash that in a little bit.
Definitely the one that I said this is what I'm making first.
I'm going in strong, and we're gonna show this plate.
I make this dish as often as I can to show off for people who visit, 'cause it's flashy, it's savory.
I just got to make sure it tastes OK. [Laughs] You get to see a little bit of my personality on that plate.
[Indistinct] Making this dish for the judges, I really hope that my actual final presentation stands out as well as the flavor.
Just gotta stuff these into the ramekins now and hope for the best now.
Now--it's on the judges now.
♪ Now we're gonna go old school.
This is what I should have did the first time.
I am concerned because I lost time.
And my mac and cheese still needs to bake for about 15 minutes.
Alejandra: Hey, Bambi.
Bambi: Hey, ladies.
how are you guys?
Alejandra: How are you feeling?
Bambi: I cut myself.
Alejandra: Oh, no.
I would have been finished and plated by now.
Alejandra: Oh, gosh.
Tiffany: Tell me what you're making.
This is a family recipe.
We top our mac and cheese with bacon.
Instead of using regular paprika, I use smoked paprika... OK, so it gets some depth.
Tiffany: You look a little behind.
So, what's the plan here?
I am going to do my best.
Kind of do a quick stove-top mac.
Alejandra: Maybe you can toss 'em under the broiler for a couple of minutes just to get that cheese and bacon really crispy on top.
Make sure your oven is hot and ready to go.
♪ I am sweating like a roasted pig.
Alejandra: Hi, Silvia.
How's it going?
All right, well, you tell me, what are you making?
So, I'm making Mexican red classic chilaquiles.
Ooh, OK. And they're gonna have the queso fresco and the avocado, an egg.
And this is a dish that I have made so many times but, trying this, my American way to do it.
Alejandra: You took that recipe and made it your own?
Is it spicy?
I didn't make it that spicy, 'cause, you know, it depends on the chili.
So, I hope you like it.
All right, you get cooking.
Thank you for stopping by.
Silvia: I know the flavors are there, but now I need to focus on a good batch of tortillas to serve to the judges.
All right, judges, I have to say, I'm really impressed with how amazing these home cooks are.
What are you most excited to try?
Leah: I'm really excited for the baklava.
Always have room for dessert.
Sign me up.
I think that's a very bold choice to do as her first dish.
It's something everyone avoids, and she's just going for it.
Graham: And she's the only one doing it, right?
Leah: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Oh, I saw tons of steaks.
It's simple, yes, but it requires technique, and it's a different feel when you get into this kitchen and you're cooking sort of, you know, competitively, instead of at your home.
So, I want to see who can really pull it off.
Right, and you're cooking against the clock.
That's the big one.
We know that.
Dan's cooking calamari.
Any potential issues you see with that?
Graham: Yeah, I think this is one of those that you gotta be really careful, right, make sure you blot off that extra oil.
When it comes out, you season it.
He's gotta have some acid to cut through that grease that's gonna be on there.
So, I think there's a lot of risk.
One minute left.
Those finishing touches have to happen right now.
Tiffany: Whoo, let's go!
Nikki: I'm freaking nervous.
It's the first round.
I wanna make a good impression, and I need to just focus.
Like, don't disappoint your family.
Get it done.
And, by golly, I hope to nail the plating.
[Laughs] Alejandra: 5...4...3... 2...1.
Everybody step back from your station!
♪ Tony: Definitely nerve wracking.
I know the pedigree that these chefs and judges have.
Presenting a dish that even though I've made 100 times, to serve to them, oh, man, I am nervous.
Tony: Hi, guys.
How you guys doing?
So, these are my Korean gochujang chicken tacos.
I can tell that you love food by tasting it.
It comes through.
I think it's important to remember that not only flavor and visually you've hit all those points, but also just how you eat it.
You know, the way that the meat's cut, just making sure that it's easy enough for everyone to just get a bite.
But I love it.
Thank you so much, Chefs.
I appreciate that.
Alejandra: Hey, Dan.
This is Rhode Island-style fried calamari.
It's an old-school Italian dish.
I'm an old-school Italian sorta guy.
[Laughter] This calamari is popping.
[Laughter] Tiffany: The calamari is tender.
It's still crunchy.
The garlic, the peppers, the acid.
This is just done right.
Leah: I love that you took the time to make sure you marinated the calamari in buttermilk to make it tender.
Sometimes, if you get really big peppers, maybe cut 'em down a little bit.
But other than that, very, very good.
These are chilaquiles with egg.
Leah: I mean, I think a lot of chilaquiles, they have no texture to it.
Leah: But, the sauce, you know, gets soaked up by the chips, but there's also that crunchy element, so, you have the traditional and then you have your spin on it, and I think that's fantastic.
Graham: Only thing I would maybe do is bring those flavors up, right?
The acidity, the cilantro, all that stuff.
Just a little more flavor.
[Laughter] Tiffany: You say you're spicy.
I wanna see spice on that plate.
Silvia: OK. [Laughs].
I can do that.
[Laughter] Alejandra: Hi, Foo.
I made a beef salad with an Asian marinade, with some roasted vegetables.
Leah: This steak is delicious.
The marinade, I want the recipe, because it is so good, and you really were able to infuse a lot of flavor into such a short amount of time.
Tiffany: I think that you're onto something really great, 'cause it's there, I just want more of it.
[Laughter] I like it, I like it.
Alejandra: Hi, Nikki.
Nikki: Hi, guys.
Tiffany: How are you?
So, I made for you guys a flank steak with the chimichurri sauce and roasted Parmesan potatoes.
I'm an Idaho girl, so, we love our grass-fed beef, and we are the state of potatoes.
Clearly the lead singer of this band on the plate right now is the steak.
And it's perfectly cooked.
You made it happen, so, great job.
Leah: I completely agree with you, but salt is everyone's best friend.
Just a little bit of the Maldon salt on top of the steak would have gotten a little bit more flavor.
Alejandra: Hey, Bambi.
Bambi: Every little Southern girl needs to know how to make a good mac and cheese, well, at least in my family.
[Alejandra laughs] Tiffany: I love the presentation.
I see the cheese, I see the bacon.
The bubbling action that happened when it came out of the stove.
And I get the smokiness from the Gouda, I get the smokiness from the paprika, but there is a lot of cheese here.
Almost to the point where I want just a little bit more noodle and just maybe a little less of that cheese.
Alejandra: Hi, Robin.
I've made for you rose and honey baklava.
I've raised my children to make these and now my grandchildren are starting to.
Leah: The flavors are delicious.
It's not an overly sweet dish, but that's nice.
And the pastry is nice and buttery and flaky.
It's baked so well.
I feel like I really was a part of your family today.
Thank you, thank you.
Graham: You got lucky grandkids.
Robin: Thank you.
[Laughter] Alejandra: Christina.
I am Filipina, so, we've got a Filipino chicken adobo bowl.
Leah: Filipinos love their sauce.
I'm half Filipino, I know, and I need a spoon with everything because I gotta get that sauce in.
And what I'm missing is the sauce, right?
I would recommend, if you are gonna use, like, chicken breast, maybe shred it after and then let it cook, and it absorbs some of that adobo sauce.
OK. Alejandra and Leah: Hi.
This is mofongo.
I love plantains 'cause I'm Dominican.
[Laughter] Tiffany: The shrimp is perfectly cooked.
It is still moist, it is juicy, it is garlicky.
I mean, I'm not gonna be kissing anybody after this.
[Laughter] Tiffany: But, like, all I have to say is you brought the flavor.
Graham: There's so much shrimp in there, I was totally expecting that it was just gonna be the plantain with, like, two shrimp on top.
It's full of flavor.
Thank you so much.
Alejandra: Hey, Brian.
Brian: Hey, Chefs.
I made a ribeye with a funky dab of blue cheese, with bacon barbecue Brussels sprouts.
I love the combination of sweet, salty, and tangy.
And I also love funky, hence the blue cheese in that.
I think the steak is cooked really well.
I love Brussels sprouts.
You know, if you can cook a good Brussels sprout, then you're definitely a skilled cook.
Graham: Yeah, you can come out swinging and have some big flavors, but again, make sure that they all harmonize.
Like, I've got Brussels sprouts, right, they're funky and earthy, and there's barbecue stuff on them, and there's a bunch of bacon, and then I threw blue cheese on top, and it's just, like, I feel like this is you coming out and just, like, whoosh, throwing the bucket of flavor on everything and being like, "Thank you.
Like, I know who you are now.
I'd say buckle up then.
I'll bring it.
No one goes to a baseball game looking for a small ball, and sometimes when you swing, you miss big.
♪ Alejandra: We've had a delicious introduction to you as home cooks.
We asked you to show us a dish that represents who you are.
Your dishes were judged on taste, execution, presentation, and how well it showcased the theme.
Judges, who are your favorite dishes?
Leah: Tony, your dish had everything that I crave.
The flavors were bold, they were balanced, and your chicken was perfectly cooked.
Tony: This is everything that I dreamed of.
It's a high going into round two.
Hopefully that momentum keeps going.
Another one of our favorites was Dan.
[Dan laughs] Tiffany: You made an amazing calamari.
The best way I can explain it is an explosion of flavor.
You took something simple and you hit the mark and made it extra-delicious.
Thank you, Chef.
It's a huge relief that Tiffany didn't say the calamari was like eating a mouthful of rubber bands, which was my biggest fear.
[Laughs] Alejandra: Amazing job, cooks.
We enjoyed learning so much about who you are through your recipes.
And I hope the judges' tips will help you in your next round.
♪ All right, is everybody ready to hear about the challenge for our next round?
In the last round, we asked you to introduce us to who you are.
This round, we're giving you 90 minutes to show us where you're from.
We wanna see your regions represented in a single dish that showcases the cooking traditions from your culture and community with your unique cooking style.
Tiffany: Remember, your dishes will be judged on taste, execution, presentation, and how well you use the theme.
Unfortunately, at the end of this round, we'll be saying good-bye to one of you.
So, you're really gonna have to bring it all to this plate.
Are you ready, cooks?
Your time... ♪ starts now.
That was almost a nightmare.
Going into the second round, I know I have to step up my game.
Round one was a wake-up call.
We're gonna take their advice to heart and hopefully this dish will wow them.
I'm from the South, in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
It's a wonderful mix of traditions and cultures.
You know, sweet tea with everything, biscuits with everything.
I know the bold flavors of Kentucky, so, this round is really gonna highlight what I can do.
So, I'm creating a biscuit trio today.
It starts out in Louisville, which has the home to hot brown.
The hot brown is a biscuit topped with chicken.
In the middle we've got Kentucky love, pimento cheese.
In you go, friends.
And then we end the night with hot chicken.
So, for my biscuits, I'm incorporating my butter here.
It's a little warm in this kitchen.
I might have to take it back to the freezer for a little bit.
I'm looking for a grainy, sandy-like texture for these biscuits.
I'm kneading this dough.
The dough is starting to, to come apart a little bit.
It's way too tacky.
I had to fold it multiple times and the more you touch that dough, the tougher the biscuit.
I am terrified that I'm gonna have hardtack and not big, fluffy biscuits.
There we go.
♪ Silvia: Here's my tortillas.
As a home cook, I'm so proud of my recipes.
So, for the second round, I'm making tri-tip tacos with guacamole salsa.
This a very traditional cut of meat.
Tri-tip is the piece of beef that is very popular on the West Coast, in the central coast of California, where I live.
Tri-tip is a part of the sirloin.
It's tender and juicy.
In round one, the judges told me that I need to do a little more seasoning, like adding that and trying and maybe season a little bit more and try again.
So, I'm gonna make sure I season correctly.
♪ South Carolina is the birthplace of barbecue.
Carolina mustard right there.
I am making liquor house barbecue chicken.
This represents my region.
I'm from the South Atlantic region, and I live in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Everybody has a barbecue recipe, but mine is done with generations of love that was given to me.
I am making this liquor house Carolina barbecue chicken two ways, because the sweet base barbecue sauce is South Carolina, and the mustard base barbecue sauce is North Carolina.
Baby, this is pure Tennessee whiskey.
If it's not from Tennessee you ain't got no whiskey.
[Laughs] It has the flavor.
There's always a sweetness.
That's why I call it liquor house barbecue chicken.
Alejandra: 60 minutes remaining.
Dan: Making some meatballs and traditional Sunday gravy you can find in any Italian household on any given Sunday, and several other days during the week.
I live in New England, in Rhode Island.
It's a very Italian area.
I can drive 5 minutes away from my house and get prosciutto di Parma that was flown in from Italy.
You have marinara sauce, you have pizza sauce, but you have Sunday gravy.
I have some short rib and I have some pork rib.
Just to set the record straight, if there is meat in it, it is a gravy.
This is usually a 4-hour dish, so, [laughs], not today.
I'm gonna attempt to make this in a pressure cooker.
This is extremely concerning.
I need to brown the meats off on the stove top and then get everything in that pressure cooker while it's hot and get it going immediately, and, you know, I'm already in the woods.
Hopefully we can pull it all together in time.
♪ Foo: Sweating up a storm but I'm having fun, having fun.
I am making a Vietnamese beef stew, and it's gonna be accompanied with Japanese green cabbage salad.
So, this dish represents the West Coast, where I'm from, in Orange County, California.
My dish, in Vietnamese it's called Bo Kho.
It's known for its sweet and savory bold flavor.
My sole objective is really to show and share my mom's food.
I wanna share Vietnamese flavors and show that any home cook can do it.
♪ Robin: I'm making a beef stout oyster pie, and it represents both the land and sea of Maryland.
I grew up in the region of the mid-Atlantic, where I live in Maryland.
It's really kind of a great place to grow up, right along the seashore.
A beef stout oyster pie is basically a beef stew made with stout beer, and when you serve it, you serve it with a raw oyster in its shell.
Piping hot, put a slice in there, and you dump the oyster in there and push it down.
It ever so slightly steams inside the hot pot pie.
Silvia: All right.
♪ If there's ever, like, a superlative award for, like, cleanest yet messiest station, it'd probably go to me.
So, the dish I've created is Korean-style meatloaf with roasted potatoes.
I grew up in the Midwest, in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The Midwest is definitely known for its meat and potatoes, and growing up, we've always had meatloaf, and it's always glazed with that ketchup.
When I do it at home, I make, like, a quick gochujang ketchup glaze.
It has that Korean flavor, and the blend of it, too, is a Korean fusion mixed with the Midwest.
This gochujang ketchup glaze mixed with soy, sesame oil, and garlic.
Going into round two, I'm nervous.
You know, the judges loved my Korean gochujang tacos, so, I just want to make sure that I impress the judges even more.
Oh, boy, the texture is lovely.
While I was mixing, something wasn't right.
I knew the blend of meat was there, but it's the bread to milk ratio.
This is way too wet and it's not the right texture.
But there's nothing else I can do.
Time's running out.
I have to put it in the oven and hope it turns out for the best.
Alejandra: 45 minutes remaining.
Tony: Oh, no!
Nikki: Oh, my God!
[Woman laughs] [Christina sniffs] Ooh.
Dude, this rosemary smells ♪ amazing ♪!
My dish for this round is going to be pork adobo sandwiches with a spicy chimichurri.
I live in the Pacific Northwest and I'm from Portland, Oregon.
Oregon is a place that really prides itself on ingredients.
As a home cook, I buy hazelnut-fed pork.
It makes a difference in the flavor of the food that we have.
And that's how Portland itself has influenced how I cook.
I'm using my dad's basic adobo recipe.
The marinade has honey, vinegar, soy sauce.
I decided to sous vide my pork with the marinade to give the pork a little extra juiciness.
Sous vide is a cooking technique where you place your food in a vacuum-sealed bag in a pot of water that is held at a constant temperature.
♪ Nikki: You know what we're missing?
♪ [Laughs] I'm doing a cioppino.
Cioppino is seafood-stuffed tomato broth with white wine and fish.
Lots and lots of fish.
I'm putting all the fish into this great tomato broth, which is my Italian heritage.
I'm a home cook from Boise, Idaho, but I grew up in the northwest, in the Seattle, Washington area.
Growing up, we just ate a ton of fish.
As a home cook, I love the judges' feedback.
Just, you know, season, season, season.
Round two, I am gonna salt the bejesus out of this.
'Cause I really want that flavor to come out for the judges.
I just love fish so much, so, I'm just excited to bust this out.
Well, that one's ready to go.
This dish is actually one of my favorites.
I am making pastelon.
It's like a plantain lasagna.
I'm from the northeast.
I live in Harlem in New York City.
I did grow up upstate in Rochester, New York.
Pastelon is such a simple dish.
it's a blend of fried sweet plantains mixed in with ground beef, and it's layered with cheese throughout, so, you consistently make layers of plantain and ground beef and cheese, topped off with even more cheese.
And it took on a sort of lasagna-like feel.
Now it's just waiting on these lovely things.
10 minutes left, cooks.
[Contestants cheering, laughing] Christina: So, when I pulled my pork out of the sous vide, and I take a peek, I realize, oh, golly, this meat is still raw, and that is a big problem.
So, now I've got to use a cast iron skillet to finish cooking the pork.
There is a huge risk that I could dry this out and it's not gonna have a good texture.
♪ [Pressure cooker hissing] Dan: So, I open up the pressure cooker.
I don't smell anything burning.
That's a good sign.
I pull the meats out.
A little tougher than I would like them to be.
Oh, we're in trouble today.
I'm absolutely nervous, so, like, oh, boy.
How are you?
Dan, tell us what you're making.
I'm making a disaster.
[Laughs] Tiffany: No!
It looks a little ugly, but I'm hoping for the best.
I'm making a traditional Sunday meal.
We call it Sunday Gravy.
So, we have some meatballs.
So, time's running down to the wire.
Dan: It is.
I'll be able to get something on the plate.
Get it all on the plate.
And make sure that it tastes good.
Dan: Absolutely, Chef.
Tiffany: That's the most important.
Dan: All right.
Alejandra: All right, we have 5 minutes left.
Tony: Ooh, Lord.
Nikki: Time is almost up.
Typically, I get the clams to start to open up, and then I put the shrimp last.
But time is a-ticking.
I put it all in.
My clams aren't opening.
Come on, babies, open!
I'm freaking nervous.
Alejandra: Finish that plating.
Everybody step back from your stations.
Tony: Good job.
[Contestants cheering] ♪ Alejandra: This week is all about showing us who you are as a cook.
We asked you to make a delectable dish that represents your region of the country but also blends the flavors from where you live with your unique cooking style.
And don't forget, your dish will be judged on taste, presentation, execution, and how well your dish showcases the theme.
Tiffany: At the end of this round, we're sadly gonna have to send one of you home.
Alejandra: Silvia, come on down.
I made tri-tip tacos with avocado salsa because the tri-tip is a particular cut that is very popular where I live, which is the West Coast in California.
Graham: With these, I wish that, like, every day was taco Tuesday, 'cause I could literally crush this, like, 7 days a week.
You nailed it.
Leah: You really took all the direction that we gave you in the first round and you just kicked it up a notch.
You made it spicier, you made it saltier.
The tri-tip is cooked perfectly.
On its own, it tastes delicious.
Foo, come on!
[Laughs] Foo: I made a Vietnamese beef stew with a green cabbage slaw.
Graham: I really love it.
I just love the stew itself, and the flavor is really great.
Tiffany: You went and you showed me a little bit more of yourself.
This is who you are, right?
And I felt that on the plate.
Alejandra: Bambi, come on down.
Bambi: I'm from the South, and South Carolina is the birthplace of barbecue.
What I made was liquor house barbecue chicken.
Leah: So, Bambi, I'm not a huge mustard fan, but this right here is making me love mustard.
I love the kick that you have in this, I love spicy food, and I think it kind of really ties the dish together.
You have the acidity from the vinegar and then you have the sweetness from the other barbecue sauce.
So, I really think that the flavors go very well together.
Alejandra: Brian, tell us what you made for us today.
Brian: I made a biscuit trio.
Tiffany: The biscuits.
We're just gonna start there, and I may just end there.
Because it is flaky, it is crispy, it is buttery, it is soft, it's like pillows.
I mean, there is a true art to making a biscuit that most people have no clue about, and, gosh darn it, Brian, you just did it.
Thank you very much.
Brian: I am relieved.
The judges love the taste on those biscuits, and the layering was perfect.
Christina: I prepared pork adobo sandwiches with a spicy chimichurri.
Graham: As a sandwich, it's having all those equal flavors so that every single bite has delicious flavor.
I feel here the pork loin is too dry.
It's almost hard to eat, right?
But try to focus next time, thinking of the texture as much as you do the flavor.
Thank you so much, Christina.
Christina: Thank you.
Graham: Thank you.
Nikki: So, I live in Idaho, but I like to think that this represents where I was born and raised, in Seattle.
I made cioppino.
Tiffany: This is a beautiful bowl of fresh seafood, and tons of garlic and herbs, and the flavors are definitely there.
But in one of my pieces of clam, I got a little bit of that sand.
The flavor is so good, I still went back in for a second bite.
[Laughs] Alejandra: Robin.
Robin: I made you a beef and stout oyster pie.
I'm from Maryland, so, this dish is served piping hot.
And you cut a little hole in the top of your crust and you dunk that raw oyster inside, where it will steam just ever so slightly inside of your pot pie.
Graham: I love this dish.
Having a fun, little surf and turf, and it's interactive.
You've gotta break it open, pour it in.
I think it's super cool.
I really dig it.
Alejandra: Irma, come and join us.
I made pastelon, which is a Latin version of lasagna.
Tiffany: I have a best friend who's also Puerto Rican and her mom makes this all the time.
I like the plantains are cooked nicely but still have a little bit of crunch, and the meat is nice in here.
It just needs a pick-up of flavor.
We're not saying go crazy with the salt, just saying a little bit more takes the dish up a notch.
Alejandra: Thank you so much.
Irma: Thank you.
Alejandra: Dan, what did you make for us today?
I'm representing New England, specifically Rhode Island, where we have a large population of Italians in the state of Rhode Island.
So, I wanted to make a traditional Sunday gravy and pasta for you.
Leah: The pasta is cooked very, very well.
I think the ribs, they are a little tough.
But, other than that, I love the flavor of the dish overall.
Thank you, Chef.
Alejandra: OK, Tony.
The Midwest and Minneapolis is known for its meat and potatoes, but with my Korean flair.
So, it's with a gochujang and ketchup glaze.
Tiffany: The flavor.
I love the sweetness of the gochujang in there with the ketchup, but the meatloaf itself, the texture is a little off.
It's not really holding together.
Graham: To see you go from making those amazing tacos to this, I feel like you know that there's more you can do.
Thank you, judges.
Tony: I'm nervous.
This meatloaf is gonna be the downfall and put me at risk of being eliminated.
♪ Alejandra: All right, cooks, we asked you to show us a dish that represents the region where you live.
Your dishes were judged on taste, execution, presentation, and how well it showcased the theme.
Judges, which are the dishes that stood out for you?
Brian, your biscuits 3 ways.
♪ It's all about them biscuits.
Tiffany: Another one of our favorites was a dish that we kept wanting to go back and eat, and that is Miss Silvia.
Your tri-tip tacos shined.
♪ We did all agree that there was one that was the standout star.
Graham: We all agreed it was a great dish that had a great amount of flavor, creativity.
♪ And that is Brian.
Good job, Brian!
[Laughs] Graham: You gave us 3 different components, all tied in together.
We all thought that it kept hold of who you were.
We know that you're gonna bring all this flavor, you're gonna throw a lot of stuff out there, so, keep bringing that, keep editing, find your voice.
For the judges to find such joy in a dish that I created, it's a fantastic endorphin rush.
♪ Unfortunately, two of you had the least successful dishes.
Leah: Christina, we just wanted to see a little bit more with what you could do in the 90 minutes that you were given.
You did the sous vide, it didn't work out well, and then you tried to adapt and switch to the cast iron, and I think that really just kind of messed you up, and we were left with a dry piece of pork.
Christina: I am feeling a little deflated.
Made some risks that weren't the right ones.
But it's not right, but it's OK.
I'm gonna make it anyway, to quote Whitney Houston.
[Laughs] Tiffany: Tony, you gave us one of the most iconic comfort foods on this planet.
The Midwestern meatloaf with the gochujang and all the Korean flavors.
Unfortunately, the texture wasn't right for the meatloaf.
It sucks to hear that, plain and simple.
My heart sunk.
Alejandra: The judges have made their decision, and, sadly, Tony or Christina, one of you will be heading back to your home kitchen tonight.
♪ Christina, unfortunately, you're going home tonight.
When it came down to it, just wanted to see more from you.
But I really appreciate that you brought your Filipina heritage.
We're sorry to see you go tonight.
Foo: It's sad, because I really like hanging out with these people and talking about food, and that was our common bond.
And so, now that she's leaving, it's like we're in it, we're in this competition together.
To be here was a huge surprise.
I work at a bank, you know?
[Laughs] So, I've learned a lot about food from everyone here, from you, and I am truly and eternally grateful for that.
This experience was crazy and amazing.
You were so good to me.
The friendships that I formed with my fellow home cooks have been something I will never forget.
Keep helping one another.
Don't let me down.
Christina: I will always carry them with me, and I hope that a little bit of me is with them as well.
Tony: Christina's a very talented chef.
Sad to see her go but at the same time, I was very relieved that the judges do see something in me to allow me to stay, and I wanna be able to prove to them I do belong here, and I wanna put my best foot forward.
Alejandra: Thank you all for sharing your recipes with us.
You did amazing work.
We cannot wait to see you all again on the next episode of "The Great American Recipe."
[Contestants cheering] ♪ Narrator: Next time on "The Great American Recipe"... Alejandra: This week's theme is the Daily Dish.
You have 45 minutes to make a quick dish with your go-to staple ingredients.
Tony: I always have kimchi.
My leftover white rice in my fridge.
I'm doing fried rice.
Alejandra: There's another fried rice happening in the room today.
Oh, the battle of fried rice.
Alejandra: We all agreed the cook with the best recipe is... ♪ [Pencil scratching]