Next Level Chef Season 3 episode 5: Hurried choices causes curry chaos

Next Level Chef Season 3 episode 5
Next Level Chef Season 3 episode 5 / FOX

With the chefs going into their second team challenge, the curry in a hurry had everyone’s nerves frazzled in the kitchen. One chef found the balance in all those spices, but an early favorite made a quick exit in Next Level Chef Season 3 episode 5.

Making a curry in 30 minutes is not an easy task. Although are numerous ways to make a fragrant, vibrant curry, the time constraint requires the chefs to have the knowledge to create the dish from the limited resources. Even with a successful platform grab, the chefs need to be able to see and use the pantry in a smart way. The curry in a hurry causes a chaotic kitchen.

Looking at this challenge, the chefs who appreciated the idea of balanced yet bold flavor excelled in this challenge. Chefs have said that there is benefit to swinging for the fences. The reality is that throwing darts without any aim makes no sense.

Looking at the teams, the highs and lows have become more apparent. It is not necessarily professional chef or experience that causes the divide. It is how the chef handles the pressure which makes a difference.

For example, Zach, on Team Blais, has the talent, but his dish was less successful because his plating did not meet the challenge. A well-cooked goat is difficult; he did that aspect well. It was the disjointed plating that caused the dish to fall flat. The pressure of trying to stand out with a different plating style did not work in this particular challenge. He got too far into his head.

In contrast, Mada took a big risk and gained a big reward. Folding the mint chutney into the shrimp dish does not make sense, but the flavors worked. It was completely surprising and wowed the judges. It was far from any traditional curry. There was not necessarily a reference point for this flavor profile. But, the dish showed creativity, which earned high praise for the Team Arrington member.

Earning the top dish of the curry battle was Izahya from Team Ramsay. Even though this chef does not normally make curries, it was the well-composed, complete dish that earned high praise from the judges.

Specifically, the judges commented on the creativity. It was another big risk dish. Cooking squid well, in the limited time, is not easy. It had the right texture, was bursting with bold flavor, and paired well with the naan. It earned Izahya and Team Ramsay a win.

Unfortunately, the bottom dishes were clear. On Team Blais, Lauren’s undercooked pork earned her a spot in the elimination round. Serving a raw protein cannot happen, even in the basement.

Competing against Lauren was Ari from Team Arrington. Although Christina served a slightly undercooked snapper, her curry’s flavor was quite good. Ari’s cod was cooked well, but the turmeric in her dish blew out everyone’s palate. In addition, the previous challenge saw Ari serve an a raw ostrich burger. Two mistakes in a row made did not help her cause.

For the elimination challenge, Ari and Lauren had to make butter chicken. The smothered, tomato forward dish needed to capture comfort eating satisfaction in addition to being well-executed.

At first glance, it would seem that Lauren, who had never made or eaten butter chicken, would struggle. Being unfamiliar with the dish is never a good situation for a chef. But, Team Blais seemed to rally around her (Zach’s ghee suggestion helped a lot). More importantly, she used her knowledge to cook a good dish.

Ari seemed frazzled throughout the whole challenge. She could not see ingredients on the platform, and she seemed to be jumping from task to task. Even if she fought to get those chicken thighs, her choice to use the grill was a mis-step. Char on the chicken would have been nice, but the limited time did not allow that concept.

As Nyesha Arrington and Richard Blais tasted the two dishes, the differences were clear. Ari’s dish was well-seasoned, but the spices seemed to lack depth or were not cooked down well. In addition, her dish had a big error. The chicken thighs had a flaccid skin, which was an unappealing fat layer.

Lauren’s dish was not necessarily a traditional, saucy butter chicken, but the dish was well seasoned. Even though she had the chicken breast, Blais said that it ate juicy like a chicken thigh. Overall, it had a lot of flavor.

Due to the mistakes, Ari was eliminated from Next Level Chef Season 3 episode 5. While a home cook took down a professional chef, the moment shows that this FOX culinary competition is not about the title. It is about using all that food knowledge and executing in the moment.

With Team Arrington heading to the basement, can the team make a comeback? Will Team Ramsay see a fall from their lofty perch in the top kitchen? Can Team Blais stay out of the basement for another challenge?

New episodes of Next Level Chef Season 3 air Thursday nights at 8 p.m. ET/PT. Episodes can be streamed on Hulu.