Besh, Symon, Chris, and Aaron are going to Munich! However, interestingly enough they’ll be cooking for/on the plane – the new wave in airplane food, this time complete with tasty. They each have to make an innovative 3-course meal for the passengers of the airline Lufthansa’s new plane.

Alton takes the home audience on a tour of the kitchen where these meals are created. They are really well done for this airline – lots of meals, of course, but really well done. Definitely not your standard peanuts! These people earn the name Sky Chefs.

Our beloved competitors get 90 minutes in the Lufthansa kitchen, in which they have to create the meal and plate it onto the airplane’s trays and then get it into the trolleys. It has to be chilled, but reheatable, as that is exactly what will happen to it. The head chef of Lufthansa also advises them that it would be best to spice their food more heavily than normal, as palattes are less sensitive at high altitudes.

As usual, they get a limited stack of ingredients. Symon took venison, and later ruminated that perhaps he should have taken it all, to gyp someone else out of its use, but then he remembered that he feels chefs should win on their own cooking merit. A good thing, but he does have to remember that backstabbing will happen. So long as he assumes that he will be backstabbed, though, I’m cool with Symon’s being honorable.

Besh is going to try making an extra course. Or two. Anyone surprised?

The kitchen they are in is designed to make mass amounts of food, so they have troubles making smaller amounts with what they’ve been given. It is hard to make three plates in a bowl 3 times the size of Chris’ head, as it were.

Symon’s dishes sound interesting, but there’s a lot of fish. I don’t know that fish is a good idea, because it seems that it would have a weird texture if you’re already having texture issues from being that high up. Also fish reheats poorly.

Lobster and watermelon soup out of Besh’s kitchen? Wierdo, but it could be good.

AARON! He is making a scallop ceviche. Which he has made before, or at least tried. He needs a creativity shot. Or, you know, knocked out of the competition, but we’ve already discussed that a few times before. He also has a lot of fish present, even beyond the ceviche.

Chris starts yelling at the cameramen because they are in his face. He’s cursing all over the place and threatening the camera. The others don’t seem to have this problem – a bad attitude I hope we don’t see later! It could get really annoying in real Iron Chef competitions if he shoved the cameras out of the way all the time. However, Aaron is still the worse sport.

Alton asks Symon, who has fish in multiple forms, if he’s ever had fish on an airplane that’s worth having. He says it’ll be a culinary first. I say it’s an unnecessary risk.

For finishing, they have to put everything in little tv-dinner-like trays and cover them with saran wrap. Then they have to blast-chill what they have in those trays so that it will be safe to put in the trolley to take up to the plane. Then, before the 90 minute timer is up, they have to barrel, with the trolleys, down the elevator into the door. 20 seconds to go, but they all make it in.

Then, once they are on the plane, a flight attendant reheats it for them, and then they plate, from what I could see.  They didn’t really describe it. I imagine that if this were real, the flight attendant would have been trained in how to plate the dish, but obviously here that’s not the point.

Everyone says they all really respect airplane chefs now. Really, though, airplane chefs don’t do this in 90 minutes, with jet lag, thinking they will lose their job if even one plate isn’t dead-on exact perfect.  Deadlines, yes, pressure, yes, but not quite that extreme.

Chris: Sicilian Vitello Tonnato (Piece of tuna and veal with stuff on it), White asparagus in lobster stock with lobster greviche – which they thought was overspiced with chives, but they are not in the air, and then there was a cauliflower dish in which Ruhlman decided the cauliflower was not done. Hopefully that does not spell Chris’ doom.

Besh: Watermelon consomme with poached lobster – Alton wonders what makes consomme, and Besh answers that it’s a clarified, usually clear soup. His is bright pink, but you know, you get a little artistic license in naming.  White asparagus salad with pumpkin seed oil came next, to no coment. Baby lamb with spaetzle with canterelle mushrooms and bluberries, which Donatella likes. Madeira sabeyon and fresh fruit came up for his extra dish, but no one seemed particularly impressed or surprised that he had one extra dish. Donatella laughed. Besh felt his dish was an Iron Chef set because it was history, improved upon with modern technique. Very similar to Chris’s answer.

Aaron: Scallop and spinach ceviche up first, and then snapper over summer squash. The skin on the snapper was icky and the dish not appropriate for high altitude consumption. We can but hope! Seared sirloin over celery puree. When queried as to what made his particular dish-set Iron Chef-eqsue, he talked about not being afraid of the fish, but it’s quite obvious the judges wish he had been more so! They are seeing turkey ice cream in his future, perhaps?

Symon: Tuna Crudo (raw tuna with lemon vinagrette). He felt that this test was extremely difficult, but he took it well. He’s right, it was, and he did.  Salmon with creamed leeks – no berry gastriques, which donatella wholeheartedly appreciated. He also used the plane as the cooking apparatus, which alton seemed to appreciate. A beef dish next, which no one commented on. He felt his presentations were iron-chef worthy because he used the cultures of the place where the plane was to take off from and where it landed. Not an Iron Chef issue, really – but the culture mixing is definitely appropriate.

Alton called Cosentino playful, but the extra chef from the plane (hereafter called Chef) didn’t like the Vitello Tonnato because the garnish was limp – he felt it would have been better without entirely. Ruhlman didn’t like the cauliflower, and Donatella didn’t like it either. Micheal doesn’t like the trend of something “always missing” in at least one dish, feeling that Chris is incapable of making the five necessary dishes for an Iron Chef competition.

Ruhlman didn’t think Besh’s watermelon was consomme, but it was tasty. He tried negating the dish due to the name, but Donatella thought he was being too darn picky and she liked it, name aside. I agree, and also feel that the playful use of consomme is appropriate. He knew what a consomme was, when asked, and thus obviously he is using it artistically here. Chef didn’t think anything was well enough seasoned.

Aaron had heat, according to Donatella, which she appreciated. However, the snapper was ugly and “like cardboard” – also, the skin wasn’t crispy. Micheal would have sent it back.

Chef loved Symon’s salmon. Micheal felt that only Symon actually listened to the warning to spicing. My guess is that they will give Symon the win.

Elimination comes! Alton tells them that Paris is on the agenda, but of course, only 3 can go.

Symon was quickly informed that he knocked it out of the park and is the easy and clear winner. He looked so relieved, he looked about ready to cry. Besh was told it wasn’t his best showing, but he survives to cook another day. (What are we going to do when Alton doesn’t get to say that anymore?)

Here is where I started chanting: Aaron needs to go! Aaron needs to go!

All three of the judges felt that the two of them were on the edge, as we know. But then, guess what! It’s commercial time. I hate it when they do this. It is annoying!

Sanchez is informed that the sirloin was good, the salmon was a 50/50 shot, and the snapper was worthless. Cosentino was told to stop setting off bombs in people’s mouths with chives, and then following it up with flavorless beef.


I nearly jumped out of my chair. I don’t think that Cosentino will make it through next week – which is acceptable, as Besh or Symon needs to win – but I am so happy that Awful Aaron finally went home. He went home due to bad food, which doesn’t have quite the justice as someone telling him to go home and grow up, but y’know. You take what you can get, so long as he is no longer in the competition!

See you all next week!