Employment Status: 3 Follow-Up E-mails and LOTS of working 🙂
The final five were taken on a fishing trip to catch the fish, in this case Sculpin, that they would cook with later that day and serve to three top food critics: Jeffrey Steingarten of Vogue magazine, Tanya Steel of Epicurious.com, and Barbara Fairchild of Bon Appetit magazine.
The chefs were scored on a scale of 12. David (Saffron Butter Sculpin) had the best dish with a score of 11.5. Lee (Braised Sculpin over Fennel Couscous) came in second place with a score of 8 followed by Sheetal (Tomato Curry Sculpin) in third place.
Whitney (Pan Seared Sculpin), with a score of 5, and Sharone (Spring Asparagus Citrus Salad), with a score of 4, were declared to have the worst dishes of the day, which resulted in both of them being sent to the pressure test.
This challenge was yet another one that I had to make substitutions for. Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to get freshly-caught California Scorpion Fish in Louisville, Kentucky (Go figure…). I did some research though and saw that it is mostly just a mild-falvored white fish with a medium texture. So I figured that Tilapia (which is readily available almost everywhere) would work well.
I decided to do an Asian-inspired dish that was both sweet and spicy. This took the form of sweet-chili tilapia with baby corn and sugar snap peas over pineapple sticky rice. To make 2 very significant portions of this dish, this is what I used:
- 1 cup of water
- 3/4 of a cup of pineapple juice
- Splash of coconut milk
- 1 cup of jasmine rice
- 9-ounce filet of tilapia
- 3/4 of a cup of Thai sweet chili sauce
- 1/2 of a yellow bell pepper, chopped
- 1/4 of a red onion, chopped
- 35 sugar snap peas
- 8 baby corn, cut in small chunks
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 tablespoon of ginger paste
- Several tablespoons of soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- Pinch of toasted sesame seeds
- Salt and pepper to taste
This dish is REALLY easy to make. I first cut the tilapia filet into small pieces and marinated them in the Thai sweet chili sauce. Then, I started the rice. I brought the water, pineapple juice and coconut milk to a boil and then added the rice to simmer for 10-15 minutes (until rice was done).
Next, I sautéed the onion, pepper, garlic, peas and baby corn with some olive oil, soy sauce, ginger, salt and pepper until the vegetables were tender. (See 1st photo below). After that, I added the tilapia and thai sweet chili sauce to the pan and cooked for a few minutes until the fish was cooked through. (See 2nd photo below for finished component).
Then, I plated the fish and vegetable component over the sticky rice and garnished it with toasted sesame seeds. (See finished product below).
This dish was really easy and straightforward. It was very tasty (although a little on the spicy side) but the presentation was pretty basic. While I thought it tasted great, I’m not sure how it would have fared with the critics given how simple the dish was. But since I didn’t serve canned tomato sauce or “disgusting” fish liver, I think I would have been safe from the pressure test.