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The Portlandian, the Internet's premier source of Tonya News

June 24, 2019 Edition - SPECIAL "WORST COOKS" VICTORY EDITION
(C) 2019 Portland Ice Skating Society
http://www.pdxiss.org
*****************************************************************

Welcome to another edition of "The Portlandian", the internet's 
only Tonya newsletter. There's been a lot happening in 
Tonyaville since our last edition, the most notable being her 
appearance on "Worst Cooks In America" which has been airing on 
the Food Network over the past few weeks, resulting in Tonya 
taking first place. So we'll be devoting all of this special 
mega-edition to a recap of that show.


TONYA EMERGES VICTORIOUS IN "WORST COOKS IN AMERICA"

Now at first glance, winning "Worst Cooks In America" may seem 
like one of those titles that nobody wants to win, rather like 
our own Jayson Awards for shoddy Tonya-related journalism or a 
movie director getting a Razzie. But the name is deceptive, for 
the "Worst Cooks" prize is actually awarded to the bad cook who 
improves the most over the course of the seven-week show. After 
going through a "boot camp" during which all the cast are put 
through intensive training and are required to perform various 
culinary tasks, the two finalists get to cook a restaurant-
quality meal for a bunch of food critics. And in addition to the 
honor of winning, in the celebrity version in which Tonya is 
competing they also get to take home $25,000 for a charity of 
their choice.

https://www.foodnetwork.com/shows/worst-cooks-in-america/episodes/1600

There's also another article about the show in Portland's daily
fishwrapper:

https://www.oregonlive.com/entertainment/2019/04/watch-tonya-harding-return-to-tv-in-food-networks-worst-cooks-in-america-celebrity-edition.html

For Tonyaphiles, it's been a repeat of the experience on Dancing 
With The Stars last year with Tonya going much further than we 
ever dreamed to hope for. So let's backtrack and see how she got 
there.

Season 16, Episode 1 - This Isn't How It Looks in the Pictures

Episode Summary:

The eight celebrity recruits arrive and are introduced to their 
mentors, chefs Anne Burrell and Tyler Florence. In addition to 
Tonya, there's Jimmie Walker (stand-up comic, actor), Alec Mapa 
(actor/comedian), Morgan Fairchild (TV legend), Taryn Manning 
(actress), Jim J. Bullock (actor, sitcom star), Jonathon Lipnicki 
(actor) and Kym Whitley (actress/comedienne). You can read more 
about them and their bios at:

https://www.foodnetwork.com/shows/worst-cooks-in-america/photos/worst-cooks-in-america--season-16--meet-the-celebrity-recruits

Great to see that the bio correctly lists her as a two-time U.S. 
National Champion, which not many do.

Their first task is a "Skill Drill" where they have to recreate 
their favorite restaurant dish, with other cast members 
commenting on the results. Then, for the Main Dish Challenge, the 
chefs teach the celebrities how to make a classic steakhouse 
meal. Finally, the recruits are split up into two teams - Red, 
consisting of Tonya, Jim, Taryn, and Jonathon, mentored by Chef 
Anne, and Blue comprising Kym, Alec and Morgan, mentored by Chef 
Tyler in an awards show type ceremony. Sadly, Jimmie fails to cut 
it and becomes the first to be sent home.

Tonya summary & judges comments:

Not a huge amount of Tonya in this one, because of so many 
contestants, but we do learn that at home, Tonya's husband cooks 
99% of the time and she hopes that the show will improve her 
cooking skills. Tonya cooks Chicken Fettucine Alfredo for the 
first challenge, but gets off to a bad start - even she describes 
her Alfredo sauce as "nasty" and the rest of the cast thinks the 
dish is too peppery. Anne says that the cheese has curdled 
because it has been cooked too long.

For the steak segment, things literally reach boiling point when 
her sauce boils over, and Tonya's on the verge of a meltdown when 
Chef Anne intervenes with a helping hand. But at the end, Anne 
says she got the hardest thing on the whole plate of food right, 
and Tyler pronounces her steak as delicious.

Tonya has made it into at least the second round - so we can be 
assured of at least one more episode of tasty Tonya treats to 
come!


Season 16, Episode 2 - Wheel of Misfortune

Episode summary:

The celebs start off playing a bunch of food-related games. First 
up is a "Wheel of Horror", where the recruits are forced to eat 
disgusting foods (such as geoduck and head cheese) if they fail 
to answer a question correctly. Other games involve playing mini-
golf - each team member has to perform a task to help their team 
make egg toast whenever one of their team-mates puts a ball into 
the hole - and trying to guess a food-related item from a drawing 
done by another team-mate.

A surprise happens near the start when Taryn (the one who looks 
like a junkie) walks out and disqualifies herself during the 
Wheel of Horror segment early on when asked to taste something 
nasty (which was cold chicken feet, not Tonya's cooking, you'll 
be pleased to know). What a wimp - whether her charity got paid 
out anyway, we don't know. As a result, no-one is sent home at 
the end. 

Main dishes this time around included lobster roll for Tyler's 
team and chicken under a brick with ratatouille for Anne's. Kym 
freaks out over the lobster. Alec puts all the lobster in the 
sauce, not the sauce on the lobster - but in the end he and Jim 
are the winners. Jonathan & Kym compete to cook a crudite platter 
in 10 min in a sudden death cook-off - but Taryn's voluntary 
departure earlier on  means it's all a farce with nobody being 
eliminated.

Tonya summary:

In the Wheel of Horror segment, Tonya fails to answer the 
question correctly (what is brioche? - answer, a type of bread) 
and is assigned by Alec to eat thousand-year-old-egg. We don't 
see Tonya drawing or doing golf - it's not clear if those 
scenes were cut for time reasons of if she didn't do them at 
all. 

For the main dish, at least Tonya gets to cook a chicken, which 
unlike the lobster was already dead. Tonya struggles getting 
the lid off some spices. Chef Anne tells her to turn her pan 
down, teaches her how to crush stuff with a knife. Tonya uses 
the wrong leafy green vegetable (basil) in her salad. 

Judges comments:

At the end, Anne says Tonya's chicken is beatifully brown, looks 
juicy, is nicely seasoned, and praises her uniform knife cuts. 
Not a pretty plate of food, but a tasty plate of food, she says - 
Tonya says she'd rather take tasty over pretty any day. Tonya is 
"safe" on the red team, but it's unnecessary since the wimp-out 
by Taryn means nobody was in danger anyway.

And in case you're wondering, thousand-year-old eggs aren't, 
geoduck isn't a duck, and ratatouille isn't rat...


Season 16, Episode 3 - Take the Bait

Episode summary:

Ahoy, me hearties! This time it's sushi & fish tacos that our 
contestants have to contend with, and some of them are all at sea 
as a result. For the Skill Drill, the teams try to assemble sushi 
rolls on a speedy conveyor belt, resulting in some of them ending 
up getting sent to Davy Jones locker (i.e. the floor). In the 
main dish challenge, Team Anne (Jim, Tonya & Jonathon) cook 
tilefish tacos with cabbage slaw & salsa verde, while Team Tyler 
(Kym, Alec & Morgan) prepare Baja-style fish tacos with beet & 
pineapple salsa. Winners - Alec & Tonya.

The show has its first casualty when the young guy (Jonathon) 
cuts himself - but thankfully he doesn't end up as Captain Hook. 
Really surprised that nobody's lost a finger so far given just 
how hopeless most of them are at wielding a knife. Morgan and 
Jonathon are made to walk the plank in a blind elimination, with 
Morgan, in spite of her pirate-sounding name, sinking like the 
Titanic. Arrrhhh! Arrrhhh!

Tonya summary & judges comments:

The conveyor belt exercise is a disaster, with Tonya freaking out 
at rolling the sushi rolls, and a lack of teamwork by the Red 
Team overall costing them this task. But although fewer in 
number, Anne thinks they are better-made than the Blue Team's 
rolls. Tonya has a natural flair for filleting the fish, given 
her hunting & fishing background - though we do learn that she 
can't actually eat the stuff because of an allergy. She also has 
trouble with her tortillas sticking to the plastic and the 
hotplate.

Chef Anne is highly impressed, describing Tonya's tacos as the 
culinary equivalent of a triple axel. She thinks her pickle 
cabbage slaw is cut too big, but it's uniform, and her fish is 
nicely cooked, but a little bit underseasoned. "Your creme, the 
presentation... there's too much of it, here. It just takes over 
everything. But, I would say, I am very proud of you, and I think 
that you did a GREAT job today."

Tonya's quiet, methodical approach pays off - but doesn't 
necessarily make for as interesting television as others having a 
meltdown, so we don't see her as much. She's made it through to 
episode 4, so she's over halfway there. Four episodes of Tonya 
would satisfy me - anything else is just icing on the cake, if 
you'll pardon the food pun. And with only five people left, that 
means more time to focus on her in the next episode.


Season 16, Episode 4 - Around the World in 60 Minutes

Episode Summary:

The recruits must make Thai ice cream rolls as a Skill Drill, but 
there's a catch - they must make them fit a certain flavor 
profile, which they first determine by playing a "pin the tail on 
the donkey"-type game involving pinning pictures of the two chefs 
on parts of a giant tongue (believe me, this makes more sense 
when you see it than it does written down). Johnathon's icecream 
is too thick and he can't roll it and ends up with a lumpy mess. 
Kym's is delicious, but not sour enough.

Then they're off to Spain for the Main Dish Challenge, with Team 
Anne (Jim, Tonya & Jonathon) cooking seafood paella with 
andouille sausage and Team Tyler (now down to Kym & Alec) doing 
seafood paella with chorizo sausage. Tyler reveals to his team 
how to tell when rice is properly cooked by its sound. Johnathon 
shows he still hasn't learned how to chop onions correctly 
(cutting it through the equator, not the poles as he should), and 
also gets Anne's dreaded red marker on his finger for failing to 
hold a knife correctly. Kym makes the crucial blunder of failing 
to taste her food before serving it, but does get the crunch 
Tyler's after. Winners - Kym & Tonya.

The Cook Off sees Alec & Jonathan making grain bowls. This time 
Jonathon, not the onion, gets the chop - honestly, how he lasted 
this long is a miracle.

Tonya summary & judges comments:

Tonya's flavor profile for the icecream is bitter - she uses 
blackberries, grapefruit & semi-sweet chocolate chips. Tonya 
predicts she'll be good at spreading the icecream onto the cold 
plate that's used to freeze it, because she's good at spackling 
plaster.

Anne says "you look like you were born to do this" as Tonya chops 
the icecream mixture up at the start, but she leaves it to sit 
too long, and it goes hard. Tyler describes it as the "best thing 
I've tasted today. It's really good, and balanced, it's a nice 
texture, it's a good creamy mouth feel". Anne: "the grapefruit 
zest on the top of it tips it over the edge. Really, honestly, 
you could get a job probably as a Thai ice-cream roller."

In the Main Dish Challenge, once again Tonya is victorious, even 
though she has no idea what some of her ingredients are! Tonya 
makes a bad mistake when she accidentally refers to Chef Anne as 
"dear" - but in the end, it's no harm done.

Anne: "So tell me what your three proteins were?" Tonya: "two 
types of sausage, shrimp & clams". Anne: "I think it's absolutely 
beautiful. This looks like it could be on the cover of a 
magazine." "Your aeoli is really delicious, it's got a nice, 
bright, acid to it. You did a great job with all of your 
proteins. I will say your rice might be a hair on the salty side, 
but, you made momma proud, alright?"

Announcing the winner, Anne says "This is two wins in a row for 
you. This is the Tonya Harding I expected to see here in Boot 
Camp." Tonya: "Thank you". Anne: "This is the fighter, this is 
the champion, and you are safe this week and will be moving on." 
Tonya: "Thank you".


Season 16, Episode 5 - Waited on Hand and Foot

Episode Summary:

With boot camp now over halfway through, the chefs decide to 
celebrate with a cocktail party, complete with a harpist (I 
wonder if she can play Black Sabbath's "Paranoid" on that 
thing?). But after sipping champagne and eating caviar-topped 
blinis, the tables are turned, with the Skill Drill requiring the 
recruits to make their own blinis and cocktails. Jim's blini's 
are bacon & eggs. Tyler says Kym's cocktail is too sweet and 
describes Alec's as like hot acid.

For the Main Dish Challenge, they find themselves serving the 
entire "Worst Cooks" crew. Team Anne (Jim & Tonya) prepares 
meatloaf, polenta & broccoli rabe with a jelly roll dessert, 
while Team Tyler (Kym & Alec) go for chicken paillard with frisee 
salad & pound cake dessert. Each team has to put a personal spin 
on the dessert. Alec nearly rips his finger off with the mixer 
(and that's before they even get started), then puts too much 
lemon zest in his cake. Kym has trouble even figuring out how to 
plug her mixer in, and then burns her coconut. 

Tonya & Jim decide to work as team, dividing the chores, with 
Tonya working on the meatloaf, which she's never made before, and 
Jim chopping the garlic and onions. Jim also does the brocolli 
rabe. 

Alec can't figure out which spatula to use. Tyler berates the 
Blue Team for the messiness of their station. Kym nearly poisons 
herself by trying to taste uncooked chicken. Jim panics when he 
can't find some bay leaves that are stuck to the side of the pan.

Tyler thinks his team has overdressed the salad, but overall the 
winners this time are Jim & Kym, forcing Tonya and Alec into the 
Cook-off. For the blind elimination, Tonya & Alec must prepare an 
appetizer that includes one cooked element from a table of 
ingredients in 15 minutes. Tonya uses steak & brie cheese with 
mushrooms while Alec goes for Italian bruschetta. But it's 
another red herring, as since they are now down to four, nobody 
is eliminated.

Tonya summary & judges comments:

With the numbers down to four we are now seeing more Tonya. For 
the skill test, her blinis use motzarella cheese and ham, and 
her cocktails champagne, orange juice, orange bitters, and 
raspberry seltzer.

Anne: "an odd choice, ... 
Tyler: "To me my mind wants to taste basil".
Anne: "but in 30 minutes, I think it's remarkable." 
Tyler: "you've never made Blinis in your life - wow! And your 
cocktail's refreshing". 
Anne: "it's kind of like a mimosa, with berries - I think it's 
great".

In the Main Dish Challenge, Tonya & Jim generally display better 
teamwork than the Blue team, and seem to be in more control, 
although at one point, it's almost disaster for the Red team when 
a large oval serving bowl of polenta overflows. Although not 
winners, it pays off with positive comments from both Anne and 
the crew: 

Rob (crew): "for me my favorite part is the meatloaf, it's really 
good". 
Anne: "it's moist, and seasoned well" 
Rob: "I could definitely go up and get seconds". 
Mia (crew): "I like the polenta, I think it's very well seasoned, 
and I can taste the parmegan. 
Anne: "I know - I have to say the polenta is super-yum." 
Tina (crew): "I've never had polenta before, so it's delicious".
Anne: "it's kind of like grits, isn't it?"
Tina: "yeah, yeah".
Anne: "yeah, that's exactly what it is, Italian grits".

Anne: "You guys did a great job, I feel like of all the things on 
my plate of food, the brocolli rabe could have more salt, but - 
you guys did a very nice job doing this... Your jelly rolls are 
moist and delicious. I love both flavor combinations, and they 
look beautiful."

Blind elimination - as already mentioned, this is all fake 
anyway. But Tonya doesn't know this, and so goes all out to 
impress the judges.

Anne: "steak & cheese & mushrooms - yum, oh my. Flavor is so 
yummy, and the cheese how it melts, like, super yum." "This skirt 
steak I would say is a little on the tough side".

Tyler: "but the knife cuts are totally wrong. With skirt steak, 
you cut it like shoestrings, and it's really, really chewy like 
this, but if you cut it against the grain, then it melts in your 
mouth".

And by the way, if they're serving the crew, who's operating the 
cameras?


Season 16, Episode 6 - There's No "We" in Food

Episode Summary:

This episode will see a double elimination, with two contestants 
going home.

Skill drill: the celebs must work in teams to recreate a meal 
(dry-rubbed pork chop with arugula, tomato and peach salad & 
Swiss chard & pancetta) from taste alone, while the chefs take a 
break. Or so it seems - in fact they are watching every move (and 
mistake) from behind the scenes on a monitor.

Tonya correctly identifies the skill drill meal as pork chop, and 
to sear it and put it in the oven. Kym struggles to ID the cheese 
- "she tastes food like a six-year-old" says Tyler. Jim correctly 
ID's one of the fruit as a peach, but Tonya doesn't know what a 
peach looks like. After a while, she works out that the dressing 
is made from white wine.

Both teams struggle to ID the green vegetables. Tonya correctly 
ID's an onion, but she and Jim mistakenly ID the brown seasoning 
as cayenne pepper - and then dumps too much on. Sherlock Jim 
decides that the brown marks on the peaches are burn marks, 
indicating they have to be grilled. But Tyler's team isn't doing 
any better, using half the wrong ingredients. Tonya thinks you 
need to blanche & shock the salad - too late, Jim recognizes her 
mistake, and finds there's not enough salad left to re-do things. 
Tonya is spinning out of control like a botched quadruple 
Salchow. Anne: I'm in love with my team - these are the best 
recruits I've ever had".

Kim & Alec recognize they have used the wrong leafy green 
vegetable, but manage a last-minute recovery. Blue team (Tyler) 
get the right ingredients, and perfectly cooked. But they fail to 
recognize the tell-tale burn marks on the peach.

Judge's comments - Skill Drill:

Anne: "My rockin' red stars. You guys sussed out a lot of the 
correct ingredients right away. Your salad - just shouldn't 
have blanched and shocked your arugala, but you readjusted and 
you fixed it." "When it came to your dry rub, there was no 
cayenne pepper in the dry rub, so ... very, very spicy".

Tonya: "Oh, crap!"

Anne: "but I think you guys did a great job. You two might be my 
most successful at this ever."

Tonya: "wow, thank you". End result - a tie.

In the Main Dish section of the show, each team is given 60 
minutes to turn a basket of five mystery ingredients into a meal. 
They must use all five ingredients in some way, and anything in 
the fridge and pantry is fair game as well. Ingedients for Team 
Anne (Jim & Tonya) are zucchini, brown mustard, chicken thighs, 
lemonade & cornbread. Team Tyler (Kym & Alec) gets heirloom 
tomatoes, corn, skirt steak, mini watermelons & lime popsicles. 
But this time they're cooking against each other, with only one 
member of each team set to survive.
   
Kym decides to go with a watermelon & balsamic marinated skirt 
steak. Alec decides on skirt steak with Mexican corn salad, 
boiling the popsicles with the corn. Jim cooks a mustard & 
lemonade chicken thigh.

Alec shows abysmal knife skills and not surprisingly he cuts 
himself, becoming the shows's second casualty. Jim does chicken 
under a brick, puts his chicken in too early, but Anne stops him, 
saying that Jim "has a tendency to get a little kooky". Tyler 
tells Kym he wants to be able to see the ingredients as well as 
just taste them. Jim's zucchini fries up nicely. Disaster for 
Alec - his skirt steak is massively undercooked. He puts in his 
backup piece, but is it too late? Kym has the opposite problem - 
her steak is charred, but also makes a good recovery.

Tonya Summary:

Tonya's dish is a spicy lemon chicken with rice, and marianated 
with lemonade, garlic, mustard and white wine vinegar. Tonya also 
does chicken under a brick, with chicken stock. Anne suggests 
cutting some bread and frying it. Tonya's quiet, slow and steady 
approach wins the race here, with no major goofs.

Judges Comments - Main Dish:

Anne - Jim: "zucchini is super-nicely fried, your chicken is nice 
and juicy, but the skin is flacid, and has a bad mouthfeel". But 
he used all of the ingredients in the basket - "fantastic".

Anne - Tonya: "your cornbread, the molasses on it, very tasty. 
Your rice, very nicely done. Your chicken - nicely seasoned, but 
we can see this one, right here, really nice. This one, a little 
less brown. Brown food tastes good, flaccid chicken skin does 
not.

Tyler - Kym: drink delicious, corn really good, steak perfectly 
cooked, but watermelon/lime marinate doesn't scream either of 
these. But delicious.

Tyler - Alec: "delicious plate of food, man. Corn salad really, 
really tasty. Tomatoes are nice and juicy, like the skirt steak". 
But his knife cuts are wrong. Tyler says Alec is a great cook, 
did a great job, learned alot.

Winners: Alec & Tonya. Kym is obviously glad to be gone. Anne 
lets Jim keep his apron. Tonya breaks down in tears and hugs 
Anne. Our rockin' red star is now through to the final!


Season 16, Episode 7 - That's a Wrap

Episode summary:

This is it, folks, do or die time. Tonight's episode features 
ricotta, scafata, tagliatelle and mascarpone, but they're not 
characters from "The Sopranos", rather some of the ingredients 
from Tonya's prize-winning meal. And with blowtorches and liquid 
nitrogen it looks more like Frankenstein's laboratory than a 
kitchen. But we'll let Tonya herself tell you what she thinks of 
it all:

   TheRealTonyaHarding: Well today is finale day, I have had such 
   a wonderful time here on worst Cooks in America I thought I 
   would hate it but I grew to really love it and meeting 
   everyone who was on the show with me was an enjoyable time and 
   making new friends! Chef Anne you say you chose me to be on 
   your team, but I know that God chose you to be my chef thank 
   you so much for all that you have taught me now God be with me 
   Good Luck Alec! Love you! Thank U! Thank you!?? I left you 
   this rockin red star??

The episode starts off with everybody watching a movie - but 
instead of "I, Tonya", it's a highlight reel of their Worst Cooks 
lowlights. Next step is the final skill drill. Their task - 
recreate the dishes they did at the start of Episode 1; in 
Tonya's case, it's Chicken Fettucine Alfredo - and the result is 
a massive improvement.

Judges comments: 

Anne: "That looks like a professionally-done dish of pasta. The 
pasta is sauced appropriately."
Tonya: "no lumps!"
Anne: "And no lumps - no little balls in it, as Kym said."
Tyler: "The dish before felt very amateurish, this feels very 
professional."
Anne: "Good job!"
Tonya: "It's like ka-ching!"

In the next segment, Tonya and Alec then practice in the studio 
kitchen the three-course meal they will be serving to the 
restaurant critics in the final the next day. In Tonya's case, 
Anne suggest a ricotta toast with heirloom tomatoes and corn as 
the appetizer, with the ricotta cheese made from scratch. Alec 
gets to make tuna poke fried rice as his appetizer. That's tuna 
poke, not tuna can, by the way.

For Tonya's entree, she does lamb chops, scafata & labneh. Alec's 
entree is lobster tagliatelle with caviar. Fortunately, this time 
the lobster is dead.

Tonya cooks the lamb with a cast-iron skillet, something she's 
not used to. Anne is impressed: "Not just a lightbulb, you're a 
whole frickin' chandelier." Tonya says her salad is "like neato-
looking".

Tonya's dessert is peach & blackberry tart with Mascarpone ice 
cream - the preparation of the latter involves Tonya dressing up 
in safety gear and pouring liquid nitrogen on it to freeze it. 
Alec goes for strawberries & summer truffle ice cream (at least 
he doesn't have to deal with liquid nitrogen). Tonya is close to 
tears with excitement at her accomplishments: "Oh my God - I just 
totally did a dessert".


Next day it's on to the final showdown - the pair have 90 minutes 
to prepare a three-course restaurant quality meal for the three 
critics, Leah Cohen, Zac Posen and Melba Wilson. The judging 
criteria will be taste, presentation (because like in skating, 
they also judge on presentation), and overall culinary skill & 
execution. In addition to having to cook in a different, 
unfamiliar kitchen, there's another catch: Anne & Tyler will be 
giving advice but are not allowed to physically help their 
proteges.

Tonya reveals her charity - it's St. Jude children's hospital. 
Alec's is RaiseAChild. 

Appetizer course: Anne tells Tonya not to break up her curds. 
Alec allows his cream to boil over - bad mistake. Another 
disaster for Alec - his rice has not cooked for some reason - he 
puts it back, and it ends up slightly overcooked. Tonya's bread 
burns. Alec's balls fall apart.

Judges comments - Appetizer: 

Dish Y (Tonya): Zac suggests starting with the Ricotta toast. 
Zac: "This looks delicious", "I like the crust on the bread". 
Melba: "Mmmmmm". Leah: "It's toasted really nicely" "I like the 
thickness of the bread - toast is really hard to make great, and 
I think the chef did a really good job doing that". Melba: "just 
to make homemade ricotta is a huge deal". Leah: "and the texture 
of it is really great - really nice and creamy... but I do think 
that the ricotta could use a little bit more salt." Zac: "but 
there's a lot of ricotta on there". Leah: "yeah - too much 
ricotta". Zac: "It's imbalanced". Melba: "I totally agree with 
you".

Dish X (Alec): the judges agree that it looks fancy, with pretty 
knife cuts and that the tuna is well seasoned. But Alec is let 
down by his rice, which is way too hard.


Entree course: Alec gets started on his lobster. Anne presses 
Tonya to hurry up. Tonya burns her potatoes, and has to ditch 
them and start again - but does she have time? Anne urges Tonya 
to turn up her burner to speed things up (I wonder if Tonya's 
burner goes up to 11 like Spinal Tap's amp?) - but has she 
overcooked her lamb chops? As it turns out, it's all for nought 
as Tonya fails to get her potatoes on the dish in time.

Judges comments - Entree:

They start off with Tonya's lamb chop - Leah: "This is a 
beautiful plate, and everything works together". Melba: "the sear 
on the outside on the lamb chops, beautiful. The yogurt sauce 
here I think is great". Zac: "The textures are really nice, I 
like the brightness with the labneh. The peas are popping!" 
Melba: "The peas are poppin baby!" Leah: "But I definitely think 
that the lamb is overcooked". Melba: "I definitely like a little 
more pink".

Alec's lobster is described as cooked elegantly, and succulant. 
But his pasta is way overcooked.


Dessert course: No disasters for Tonya this time round, with the 
nitrogen pour going smoothly. For the tarts, she uses a blowtorch 
to melt the sugar.

Judges comments - Dessert: 

Dish Y (Tonya) - Leah: "This is so pretty, you guys". Melba: 
"Gorgeous. Mmm". Zac: "happy dance". "That crust has that, like, 
almond bite to it. Breaks beautifully." Leah: "It's flaky". 
Melba: "It's buttery". Zac: "But, my tart test is always the 
middle of the crust, and how was it cooked? Leah: "It's a little 
mush". Zac: "Little bit mushy, which is hard with the custard, 
it's not easy." Leah: "and the mascarpone is a little dense." 
Zac: "I feel like they could have aerated it more." Melba: 
"However, these peaches, they're cooked to perfection." Zac: 
"Perfectly torched".

For Alec, the judges say it's a fun dessert, presentation 
beautiful, icecream set well. Crumble not too sweet, and it 
stayed crunchy. But they can't taste the truffle.

Zac: "These cooks should be, like, pastry chefs."


Finishing comments from the judges:

1) Appetizer (from Zac)

- Alec: "was super sophisticated, knife cuts: impeccable, overall 
it was a job well done. However, rice was too crispy, and dry."

- Tonya: "The ricotta toast was delicious. The crust was crispy, 
it was a beautiful color. The ricotta itself was super 
impressive. However, it was a little heavy on the ricotta."

2) Entree (from Leah)

- Tonya: "we loved the presentation, the vegetables were cooked 
really well, and overall it was a really good dish. But we all 
agreed that our lamb was overcooked."

- Alec: "I was really impressed with his pasta dish, thought the 
lobster was cooked perfectly, but that the pasta was a little bit 
overcooked - lacking bite and toothsomeness."

3 Dessert (from Melba)

- Tonya: "the crust on the tart was di-vine. When I came in here, 
I was size 2 (Tonya laughs) - I'm blaming it on you, Tonya, I'm 
blaming it on you! However, the crust did get a little soggy."

- Alec: "homemade icecream - dude, like totally, totally rocking, 
okay? And your crumble held its texture - amazing! However, when 
you say truffle icecream, where's the truffles? That was 
disappointing."

In making the choice, Leah said that it ultimately came down to 
the meal they  wanted to eat again. And that was Tonya's.

Tonya does a mini-single axel to celebrate! She also won 25 grand 
for St. Jude children's hospital, "because I want every child to 
have a chance in life".

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Overall Summary:

I have to admit that I enjoyed this a lot more than I expected, 
and not just because of the outcome. I hate reality shows, 
especially cooking ones - they are mostly more rigged than a 
pirate ship, full of fake dramatics and usually focus on 
manipulating and humiliating the contestants - and if it hadn't 
been for Tonya's presence I wouldn't have given this the time of 
day. Even the name - "Worst Cooks In America - Celebrity 
Edition" sounded really trashy, and with the exception of Morgan 
Fairchild I didn't even recognize any of the other contestants. 
So I went in with pretty low expectations, assuming that Tonya 
was just there as "filler" and would get the boot after a couple 
of episodes, sort of like the expendable black guy who's always 
the first to get shot in action movies. Or, worse, that she would 
be set up as the "heel" that everybody's supposed to hate.

In fact, I was pleasantly surprised at just how professional and 
positive the whole thing was. Obviously we can't taste the food, 
so unlike in skating or dancing where we can at least see the 
routines we have to rely on the judges' honesty, but I felt no 
hint that it wasn't honest. Naturally there was drama, but it was 
not contrived or nasty - I felt that Anne and Tyler were 
genuinely trying to help these guys. And at the end of the day 
Tonya and Alec made some new friends and went home with some 
valuable cooking skills - I'd imagine that a normal cooking 
course like this from Anne & Tyler would cost thousands if you 
had to pay for it. So all in all, a good result all round.

Even the O-rag is positive about this one:

https://www.oregonlive.com/entertainment/2019/06/tonya-harding-wins-worst-cooks-in-america-celebrity-edition-this-time-ill-say-it-was-me-i-did-it.html

At last, Tonya has finally got the gold medal she deserves, even 
if it was for cooking, not figure skating. It's proof that when 
Tonya is given a fair chance (and in this case the judging was 
totally blind, they didn't even know Tonya was in the building) 
she can deliver the goods. And her charity, St. Judes Children's 
Hospital, goes away 25 grand richer (just one of many charitable 
causes that Tonya has raised money for, by the way).

If you want more, Tonya's posted some photos from "Worst Cooks" 
on her Instagram account:

https://www.instagram.com/therealtonyaharding/

Will we be seeing Tonya's Triple Axel chain of skating-themed 
restaurants very soon? Who knows? But it just shows that Tonya is 
a woman of many talents - skating, boxing, land speed records, 
dancing and now cooking. Perhaps we should address her as Chef 
Tonya from now on!

P.S: By the way, if you want to have a go at some of these 
recipes yourself, they've got links for the recipes for each 
episode:

https://www.foodnetwork.com/shows/worst-cooks-in-america/episodes/celebrity-this-isnt-how-it-looks-in-the-pictures

And no, it does not have one for chicken feet.

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VISIT THESE GREAT TONYA WEB SITES:

PortIce - http://www.pdxiss.org
David House - http://www.tonyaharding.org
Charlie Main - http://www.charliesweb.com/tonya/tonya.html
Puppetboy - http://www.usapaul.net/tonya/
Valerie Smith - http://www.olywa.net/radu/valerie/LilHam.html
Swan Lake - http://members.tripod.com/~TonyaHarding/index.html
Blades of Gold - http://members.tripod.com/tmhfan/index.html
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