Kimmie is practically crapping her pants in glee at all the down-home goodness flying around. Dana thinks this might be Kimmie’s opportunity to carry the team. Hold on. Is that really Dana, showing confidence in Kimmie’s ability? After being all nice and nurturing the night before? Everyone, put down your spatulas and step casually to the side, as far from Dana as you can get. I think she’s either become a host body for Marybeth Louise Hutchinson from The Faculty, or else she’s been injected with large amounts of tracker jacker venom.
Each team member is paired with a contestant from the other team. They have to pick their ingredients, a main course and a side, by choosing gospel singers to yodel out the ingredient written on the back of their secret fan. It’s all very sophisticated, and not at all corny. The contestants will create a dish that expresses the epitome of fine Southern dining, using the two ingredients as a base. So yeah, the winner will be the one who draws Crisco.
Barbie chooses to compete against Clemenza, which is smart as hell, because Clemenza can’t seem to function outside the scope of whichever borough houses the most Italian people in Yankee-ass New York City. No way will he nail a Southern challenge. Barbie’s ingredient is catfish, and Clemenza gets collard greens. I have a hunch that Clemenza has never seen a collard green in his life, and sure enough, he confirms that my hunch is not remotely off base. The good news is his body produces enough grease to deep-fry that catfish without dipping into Gordon’s supply.
Brian chooses Kimmie, because he wants to “go big.” Damn, Brian, stop writing the damn jokes for me. Going big means going with Kimmie? Too easy. He wants to beat the Southern girl in her own territory—he wants to “beat the best.” Might I suggest another competitor? He gets pork chops. Kimmie gets grits, and informs Brian he is soon to be reamed. I don’t doubt this, somehow. Something tells me Kimmie has taken down more than one plate of grits in her life. Even Gordon wishes Brian good luck.
Christina gets fried chicken and Justin gets mac and cheese. Clemenza is hating life, because he’s stuck with collards when he could’ve rocked out the mac and cheese. Because he’s Italian, don’t you know—his veins are literally fashioned from macaroni noodles.
Robyn gets meatloaf and Dana gets sweet potato, and neither of them react much. I’m actually kind of stoked about this challenge, though, because I know how to cook all this stuff, so I’ll actually be able to tell if they’re ruining it or not.
So they get down to it: each pair must cook up the entrée and side they chose, “reinventing” Southern cuisine via their dish. This seems somehow wrong, when you consider that Southern food relies so heavily on tradition. The best recipes are always the ones passed down from your granny’s granny, but what the hell—I’m not sure why I expect Gordon’s limey ass to know this. Also, they have to do this in 30 minutes. I hope they at least pre-soaked that grits for Brian and Kimmie, because otherwise they’re fucked. Unless they’re letting them use instant. Somehow Justin and Christina, the stars of their respective kitchens, don’t know how to deal with fried chicken. Christina even wonders if she should take off the skin. Oh honey, no. Down South, you leave that on. This is not the fashion designer challenge—Southerners aren’t too concerned with their saturated fat intake, in case you didn’t know.