The remaining five contestants on "Next Iron Chef" took a trip to Las Vegas Sunday evening for a Vegas wedding -- of wacky ingredients, of course. For the Chairman's Challenge of fusion, host Alton Brown married ingredients for the chefs: peanut butter and blue cheese; chicken liver and peppermints; bone marrow and hard fruit candies; clams and strawberries; and calamari and mini marshmallows. The chefs were squirming, and so was I! Hardest challenge yet? Definitely.
Last week's winner Marcel Vigneron assigned the ingredient pairs to his fellow contestants and gave himself the easiest pair, peanut butter and blue cheese. He impressed the judges with a blue cheese ice cream, peanut butter powder, peanut butter brittle and peanut butter praline, but it was Amanda Freitag who snagged the win with her grilled squid with marshmallow horseradish cream and Hungarian paprika sauce.
Alex Guarnaschelli did a safe chicken liver mousse and peppermint salad, Nate Appleman was able to make an acqua pazza and fresh cavatelli with his pair, and Jehangir Mehta did a grilled bone marrow with hard candy chimichurri, pickled fruit candy fennel bread and chile lime fruit candy. The judges dinged Appleman for his undercooked pasta and told Mehta they couldn't taste a real fusion and sent the two men to the Secret Ingredient Showdown. I'm a fan of Guarnaschelli, but seriously? Mehta soaked his candies in fenugreek, flattened them out, dried them, fried them, re-wrapped them into balls then rolled them into lime and chile salt in an attempt to re-imagine his ingredient. Guarnaschelli made a salad!