Only when time's up, he doesn't get a chance to plate the scallops. When Rocco asks him about it, he lies and says they were undercooked. Fortunately, his dish was lovely otherwise. Joel also fared well with his perfectly cooked duck. Michelle not so much because half an hour wasn't enough time to get the raw flour taste out of her roux. She doesn't go on to the next round.
Rocco then reveals that the theme for this party is "Mystery Guest" and gives Jeff and King a dossier with some salient facts about said guest for them to use while planning their menu and decor. After meeting with party planner Jes Gordon who will take care of the dining rooms, they shop and then start their food prep and cooking.
The Mystery guest loves Bali, Italy, spices, and clean tasting foods, so Joel is making steamed mussels and clams, a barlotti bean stew with homemade Dijon sausage, and a sourdough bread pudding with cardamom ice cream. King's menu seems to fit the theme better as he's taking things more exotic with an appetizer trio of ribs, papaya salad, and spring rolls, a seafood green curry, and a panna cotta dessert.
Padma Lakshmi turns out to be the Mystery Guest in this party which includes such luminaries as singer Bebel Gilberto, fashion designer Gilles Mendel, stylist Mary Alice Stephenson, Glamour Magazine editor-in-chief Cindi Leive, and, oddly, DL Hughley. Rocco takes Padma into the kitchen for introductions, and she hands the chefs a jar of her brand of Afro Caribbean spice mix, with which she wants them to make a cocktail snack...in five minutes. So the chefs stop what they're doing, grab some fish, and get to work.
Out in the living room, the guests are served King's salmon and Joel's tuna and prefer the latter because it's more aggressively seasoned.
On to Joel's dinner. The guests love the decor and the food, although they wish the Dijon sausage in the stew had more punch. Over on King's side of the loft, they seem to love the decor more, but think the food is perhaps a bit safe, since everyone is familiar with the dishes.
In the end, Rocco gives the win to Joel, who now has a cool $20,000 in his pocket.
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Posted on AllTopChef.com