On ABC tonight The Taste returns with another new Thursday, December 18 season 3 episode 3 called “Happy Holidays,” and we have your weekly recap below. On tonight’s episode, the 13 remaining cooks compete in a holiday-theme challenge that features dishes based on fowl and spiced chocolate desserts. Naomi Pomeroy is the guest judge.
On last week’s episode, Seafood took center stage last week when the 15 remaining hopefuls faced off in “The Taste” kitchen and put their personal spin on the mentors’ favorite seafood dishes. With a menu featuring steamed fish, seafood stew and shellfish in miso broth, in the end, two more competitors were eliminated. Did you watch the last episode? If you missed it we have a full and detailed recap, right here for you.
On tonight’s episode as per the ABC synopsis, “tis the season for all things delicious on ABC’s “The Taste” with 13 remaining cooks competing in holiday-themed challenges. Tasked with creating dishes based on fowl, duck and spiced chocolate desserts, the cooks take to the kitchen to see who will make the best bite. In the end, two more competitors will be sent home.”
Don’t forget to join us for our live recap tonight at 8:00pm when The Taste Season 3 episode 3 returns to ABC. While you wait for the recap, let us know what you think of The Taste!
Tonight’s episode begins now – Refresh Page for Updates
#TheTaste starts now. Anthony welcomes the contestants and says today’s theme is Happy Holidays. He says two will get coal in their stockings as two are eliminated tonight. He says today’s guest judge is Chef Naomi Pomeroy. Tristen admires Naomi. She greets them and talks about holiday cooking and says it should be about warmth, happiness and taste great. Anthony wishes them luck and says they have 90 minutes.
Anthony tells his group to do a holiday bird that’s not a turkey. Nigella assigns spiced chocolate dessert. Marcus tells his to do festive fowl and Ludo tells his to make delicious duck and a sauce. Only the best bite from each team will be passed on to Chef Naomi to taste. Tonight’s winning team gets a master class from Chef Naomi. Marcus says he wants them to do festive Thai Curry with chicken oysters. He wants them to use a lot of grit he thinks will appeal to Naomi. He also wants them to do the innards.
Nigella talks about gingerbread and says her kids make cookies each to hang from the tree. She says she’s the uncrowned queen of Christmas and they can win it. They are doing chocolate gingerbread with eggnog cream on it. She’s got 70% chocolate so it’s not too sweet along with bourbon and some toasted pecans for crunch.
Anthony is doing goose with his group and says to use spices that will please the palate. Ludo shows his group how to cut the duck and fakes cutting himself. He pulls out a duck press and shows them how to use it – most haven’t seen one before. He fires some hay up and uses it to flavor things. The group is impressed with his fiery display. Everyone is baking and cooking away with one hour of cooking time.
Vanessa is making roasted pheasant and mashed potatoes. Anthony tells her to go savory. Tarik is making duck with carrot puree. Anthony isn’t sure about the dish and says it’s not traditional holiday flavors. Tarik is a Muslim so there are limitations on his ingredients. Eric is making seared duck with fig sauce – Anthony likes that.
PK is making chocolate gingerbread with wild cherries and bourbon sauce. Mia is making the gingerbread with marscapone. She talks about losing her older sister Gia when she was just 11 right at Christmas time. Nigella critiques Mia for not measuring and says baking is a precise science that must be spot on.
Joe is making acorn quash and fried chicken. Gabe is making squab with fig compote. Tristen is making a duck meatball that Marcus tastes and likes. Ludo really wants to shut Marcus down. Benjamin is making a jordan almond crust on his duck with cognac. Dan is making pan seared duck with foie gras. Natasha is doing butter rum and orange sauce on her duck. Jennifer is doing orange glazed pan seared duck but has never cooked duck. This worries Ludo.
Anthony has his team tasting each others sauce. Nigella is getting the finishing touches on her team’s dessert. Ludo starts yelling at his team and Anthony says he needs some thorazine in his stocking. They are down to 15 minutes. Marcus tells his team to aggressively season and do their finishing touches. Marcus is worried about Gabe because he’s not focused and tells him to finish his dish. They are all down to three minutes now.
Everyone is getting their spoons together now. Ludo chooses Dan, Nigella chooses Mia, Anthony chooses Tarik, Marcus chooses Gabe. They are done and hands off the dishes. Gave forgot the confit and Marcus is really mad. Gabe says it will be his fault if they are in the bottom. Chef Naomi will taste blind and decide whose best and whose worst.
She comes out and greets everyone. She tastes the dessert first that Mia made and says it fits the holiday theme. She says it’s a little confusing though since it’s both ginger and chocolate. Next she tastes Dan’s pear and duck. She says she’s not sure what all the little parts are, but tasted good together. Next is Tarik’s duck breast and she says she’s not sure what the protein was but liked the flavors. Finally, it’s Gabe’s squab and she says the sauce was great but it was a little salty.
She says they were all incredible and she enjoyed them all. She says her best taste is Team Ludo. Dan is thrilled and Ludo says he wants to kiss the fireman right on the mouth. He’s super happy to beat Marcus. Second best is Anthony’s team.
She chooses her worst dish then – it’s Nigella’s gingerbread! The team that was down to two will be knocked down to one. The ladies are not happy. Nigella walks away and says they took a risk baking and it didn’t pay off. She says this is the third week in a row her team has had the worst bite. Nigella says she doesn’t want to send either one home.
PK says she has more experience and can get better under her and says Mia can’t plan and execute in a solo challenge. Mia says she’s growing working under Nigella and says she can express her full capability. Nigella says she has to decide and is going to send Mia home. Mia cries and Nigella says she can tell she has talent and passion and that she’ll do well. They hug it out.
Mia leaves and Nigella says she only needs one cook to win. Anthony sends the others to the break room while Ludo’s team gets a private lesson from Naomi. PK says she wants to curl up in a ball and Dan says from now on, it will always be her spoon. Gabe is upset that he messed up but likes Dan. Tarik says they need to acknowledge Dan’s efforts.
Back in the kitchen, Team Ludo is getting their Master Class with Chef Naomi. She asks who made the winning spoon and compliments Dan’s dish. She says she’s going to show them how to do a whole roast. She salts and peppers the roast then pan sears it and then says to add butter to get the fat content up. She puts in a huge glob of butter in and then pops it in the oven. She then makes a demiglace with mushrooms and cream.
Jen says she’s showing a simple, basic dish that’s fantastic. She pulls it out to let the meat rest and the juices soak in. She uncovers it and cuts it and it’s beautiful with no bleeding at all. She asks Dan to taste her spoon and he loves it. She presents the finished dish and they applaud at the end of the lesson. Then everyone else comes back in and Anthony says they have too cook a holiday dish for their solo challenge.
Team Ludo gets the advice and help of Chef Naomi which is a huge advantage. They all start cooking. Naomi advises Dan to make a demiglace to go with his prime rib. Jen says Naomi is her new best friend and asks her advice. She tells her to add a pinch of sugar with her prime rib. Naomi tastes and says it’s good but tells her to cut the prime rib down for better time.
Natasha is making a prime rib with potato gratin. Benjamin is doing chicken with crispy stuffing and gravy with cranberry. Naomi tastes his demi and then goes to check on Dan. PK is making red wine poached pears with marscapone and goat cheese. Joe is making a Kentucky hot brown (yummy – those are just ridiculously good and easy to make if you’ve never tried them).
Tristen is making pork belly with oysters and kimchi. Gabe is searing duck. Nigella tells the others she’s as nervous as if she was cooking herself and says she doesn’t want to go into the taste off. Eric is making butternut squash soup and says he’s going with something more simple yet seasonal. Anthony says Eric is solid but Tom can be dangerous. Tom is making short ribs and butternut squash but is worried about his pressure cooker getting his food done right.
The best cooks will get gold stars and the worst will get red stars and face elimination. Tarik decides to cook pork even though he doesn’t eat it. Vanessa is making pork roast with sausage gravy. She says her mom passed away and she thinks about her a lot this time of year. She’s all teary. They get the six minute warning and Tom opens his pressure cooker. He says it looks great but it’s tough. He tries to slice it thin so it won’t be noticed as much.
Joe is finishing up is hot brown and Marcus says he loves Joe’s southern roots. Ludo says Jennifer is out of control but always figures it out. Naomi says Jen’s sauce is best but says she needs to get her spoons made. She tells the rest of Team Ludo to get to plating. Tarik is happy with his pork dish and Dan says he hopes to impress Ludo with his French cuisine.
PK is hopeful that she won’t be going home since she’s the last on Nigella’s team. They are down to the last 30 seconds and then the last 10. Jen forgot her potatoes and then panics. They call hands up and Jen curses. She ran out of time and only put three spoons out. She says Ludo is going to kill her. Tom thinks he’s going to get all red stars and go to the taste off.
The judges go to taste. Each mentor judges blind and then picks a best and worst. The best get gold stars, the worst red. The two worst dishes have to go head to head in the taste off. The judges sit and the first spoons are Benjamin’s roasted chicken. Anthony says he looks forward to that and Marcus says the ratio of the stuffing to meat was off. Nigella and Ludo like it.
Next is Jen’s with the three spoons of prime rib. She didn’t make the fourth. Nigella and Ludo split one. She says the beef is good and Ludo agrees. Marcus says the sauce was great but Anthony is stuck on the short serving. Natasha’s prime rib and potato gratin is next. Anthony likes it as does Ludo. Next is a big spoon – it’s Tristen’s pork belly and Anthony says the bites are huge.
They taste and Nigella likes it as do the others. Nigella says it’s nice heat. Ludo compliments it too. Next is Tarik’s pork belly with squash puree. Ludo likes the sauce and says it tastes African. Marcus likes the combination of flavors as does Anthony. Joe’s hot brown is next and they taste and Anthony asks what it is. They can’t understand the proteins.
This one seems to be a miss and Marcus calls it muddy. Anthony says it’s a gummy wad of something. Eric’s butternut squash soup is next. Ludo comments on the lack of protein but Anthony and Nigella really like it. Marcus says it takes guts to present it. They like it. PK made pears with marscarpone and goat cheese. Ludo says it’s good and Nigella liked it too. Anthony says it’s good and would go with a pork chop.
Gabe’s seared duck and apple puree is next. They taste and Marcus loves the sauce and Anthony says his had too much sage. Nigella says the meat was sweet. Dan’s is next with his prime rib and mushrooms. Ludo says it’s like he’s in France. Nigella says it’s the best beef they’ve had. Vanessa’s pork roast is next and she forgot salt. The judges agree there are seasoning issues and too much squash.
Tom’s short ribs are next and they taste. Nigella says it’s a good balance and says it’s great. He’s floored since he thought he overcooked it. Anthony says he got some tough raw fat on his spoon. That’s the end of it. Anthony says to take a break while they talk amongst themselves. They head to the break room. Tom tells the others he knows he made a bad dish but has a sliver of hope because of Jen’s three spoons.
Jen says she just ran out of time making her spoons and says the clock is her enemy. Vanessa is upset about her lack of salt and says it could send her home. Joe is in fear as well and as they come back in – he’s freaking out as is Jen. Anthony says they chose the best and worst. He says his favorite spoon was Tarik. Marcus’ favorite was Gabe. Nigella chose Tom. Ludo chooses Dan.
They bring out the plates of the best dishes. Tarik describes his pork belly dish and Anthony says it’s beautifully seasoned and was awesome. Gabe brings out his seared duck with herbed apple puree. Tom says he made short ribs and butternut squash puree. He says Nigella saved him. Ludo tells Dan his prime rib was cooked perfectly.
Next is the red stars and worst dishes. Anthony says his worst was Tom’s. Tom is surprised and calls it’s a roller coaster. Marcus says his worst was Jen. Nigella’s worst was Jen as well. Ludo chooses Joe as his worst. The chefs will now decide which two will face off. Their plates are brought out. Ludo says he’s really tired of Jen and says she should just go home now.
Marcus says there is rare beef, no mash and asks Jen what she did. Marcus says she had Chef Naomi and couldn’t produce a fourth spoon. She says her flavors were there and Marcus says she needs to have some humility. She says the clock is her enemy and Ludo says she’s stubborn and frustrates him. Ludo tells her to be quiet when she won’t shut up.
Ludo talks to Joe and asks about the dish. Joe says it’s a Kentucky hot brown that he chefed up a little bit. Marcus says when he stays in his country roots he does well but says Parmesan wasn’t one of the true ingredients of that dish. Joe says this is like being scolded by your dad. Anthony tells Tom the meat was tough and Nigella says maybe she just got a lucky spoonful.
Eric is hoping Joe has to go home. Tom says he got one gold and one red and says he had technical flaws not flavor flaws. Joe says his kids tell him not to chef it up and says he went too far and asks they recognize his first dish of the day. He’s all teared up and it’s pitiful. Jen says she knows she screwed up and the clock got away from her and says her flavors were there. Ludo says pressure is the business.
Anthony says they have to talk and sends them all to the break room while they chat. The others congratulate Dan. He picks up his gold star. Tariks adds his to his apron as well. Gabe is really proud of his second gold star. Tom puts on his red and his gold and Jen has to put two reds on her apron and isn’t happy. The mentors talk and Anthony says Tom’s meat was so tough. Nigella says she got a lucky cut.
Anthony says he thinks Jen should be in the thunder dome and the others seem to agree. Nigella says she doesn’t want Joe to go home and Marcus says he thinks Tom should definitely go. Nigella says Tom’s gold star should count and Marcus reminds her Joe had one last week. They argue then decide and call the chefs back in for the results.
Anthony speaks to Tom, Jen and Joe and says one will get a free pass. He tells Jen she didn’t deliver all her food and will be going into the taste off. Anthony says both Tom and Joe can make great food since they both have won gold stars. Anthony says he doesn’t like overcooked meat, but he won’t be going into the taste off. That means it’s Joe versus Jen in the taste off.
Anthony tells Joe and Jen that one of them will be going home. He sends them into the kitchen. They have the same ingredient under the cloche. They lift and see Cornish hen. Anthony says they have 40 minutes and tells Ludo and Marcus to take their position beside their chefs. Nigella says this is intensive mentoring. Ludo is worried about Jen since she’s just a home cook and isn’t organized.
Marcus says this is everything for Joe and he’s pulling for him. Joe says he has to beat her since he’s a professional chef and she’s a sports reporter. Nigella and Anthony go take a seat with Naomi to chat. Naomi says she kept telling Jen to get her four spoons plated and she fell apart at the end. Jen is making her hen with white wine and potato.
Ludo barks out orders to Jen and tells her to move faster. Joe decides to bread and fry his and add bourbon gravy. Marcus talks him through this and supports the Southern vibe. Jen is slaughtering her birds and Ludo tells her she doesn’t have enough time for her bird to cook. He curses at her and says if she doesn’t start it now it won’t be done. He’s getting very annoyed.
Jen is struggling to understand his accent and Ben translates which pisses Ludo off even more. He’s screaming at her and she’s flipping out with stress. Marcus is being much more constructive and supportive with Joe. Ludo and Jen are both yelling now and he says any bird is all about the skin. He says she’s really stressing him out. Joe is also making apple and potato mash.
They are down to 15 minutes and Ludo is back to screaming at Jen. Marcus is coaching Joe very positively and tells him to do the mash in the blender for time. He runs off and when he gets back, it’s blended too long. Ludo is furious at Jen and is yelling, yelling and screaming orders at her. Marcus tells Joe he’s doing a great job.
They are down to the last two minutes and Joe tastes his and says it’s money. He’s all sweaty but is confident. Ludo calls her a turtle and she thought he was calling her a doctor. His accent is apparently indecipherable to her. The mentors talk them through the spoons and they are both done in time. Jen says it was exhausting and that he sucks the energy out of her.
Nigella, Anthony and Naomi come out to taste. Anthony says one will be staying and one will be going. He brings Ludo and Marcus up to the stage. The three taste Joe’s first and Nigella says the hen is well cooked and Naomi says it’s tart. Anthony says it’s acidic. Next is Jen’s and Anthony says it’s mustardy. Ludo isn’t happy with this. Naomi says it has a lot of acid but likes the crispy skin.
The confer and Anthony comes back over and says the cook that is going home is Joe. He thought he had it. Both he and Jen are stunned. Joe says he put all his heart and soul into it and feels sucker punched. Marcus tells him he’s proud and doesn’t think he should be sent him. Everyone applauds him and he says he was blessed while there.