Alejandra Ramos: Tonight on "The Great American Recipe"...
This week we're gonna mix it up a little bit.
Dan: I love empanadas, just not mine.
Promise you won't hate me if it doesn't taste like yours.
I know you didn't create this dish, but you recreated it very well.
Robin: I just got on the plane and went to Brazil.
If I don't make it back in time for dinner, it's 'cause I'm having too much fun.
Alejandra: There were so many delicious recipes, but we all agreed the most successful dish was... Alejandra: What makes a great recipe?
Are they the dishes that are passed down to us through generations of home cooking?
Bambi: I love to make my mom's honey turkey wings.
Alejandra: Are they the ones that tell the story of who we are and where we're from?
Silvia: I make mantecadas.
It's like a Mexican muffin.
Tiffany: If this is what it feels like at your home, no matter what culture, no matter what type of cuisine, this type of comfort I understand.
Alejandra: Modern American home cooking has it all.
Dan: You have marinara sauce, you have pizza sauce, but you have Sunday gravy.
Foo: I'm making a crab meatball soup.
You guys asking for funk and some... [Laughter] There it is.
Alejandra: To discover the melting pot of dishes this country has to offer, we have invited 10 talented home cooks from regions across the United States to share the unique and heartwarming stories behind their most treasured recipes.
This is family.
Alejandra: And at the end of their journey, one home cook... You're passionate about flavor and you respect your heritage.
That is a perfect recipe.
Alejandra: will be crowned the winner.
Our doors are open and everyone's invited.
Welcome to "The Great American Recipe."
♪ [Pencil scratching] ♪ [Indistinct chatter] Robin: I'm just totally relieved that I'm still here.
Robin, we love that you have been going after some big flavors, but the kibbeh was dry.
I really didn't expect to be here this long, but I am elated to have the opportunity to share another recipe with the judges.
Foo: Last week I won the challenge.
What a great feeling.
Foo, we loved your squid and mango salad.
It is something that I think would be lovely at every Christmas table.
I've got a lot of energy and a lot of motivation and confidence to move onto the next challenge, and I'm ready to cook.
Alejandra: Congratulations on making it this far.
[All cheering] The remaining 5 of you are one step closer to being named the winner of "The Great American Recipe."
As always, we are joined by our wonderful and talented judges, Graham Elliot, Tiffany Derry, and Leah Cohen.
I'm gonna do Graham's... Last week you introduced us to the treasured recipes that you always serve at your family's most memorable celebrations.
This week we're gonna mix it up a little bit.
This is fun.
It's a good surprise.
You're probably wondering why I'm holding this recipe box.
Well, inside are one of each of your most treasured recipes.
For this first round, you will have 60 minutes to prepare a dish using one of these recipes.
But there's a catch.
You can't cook your own recipe.
[Laughs] That's right, we're doing a recipe swap.
Oh, my god.
Graham: This is gonna push you, so make sure you get inspired by the recipe, you stay true to that, but also stay true to yourselves and really express your culinary voice with this challenge.
We've randomly selected the order you're gonna choose your recipe.
First up is Dan.
Dan, voice-over: I'm definitely concerned because the first thing that actually pops into my head is Foo, because I am not well versed, or versed at all, in any sort of Asian cooking.
This could be bad.
OK, Dan, tell us what recipe you got.
Silvia's sweet and savory turkey empanadas.
Alejandra: Ooh, fun.
♪ OK, Foo, what did you get?
Nikki's Tuscan chicken and cauliflower.
Dan's cacio e pepe.
Robin's maple pumpkin bread.
Robin: Oh, my god.
[Laughter] I don't bake, I do not like pumpkin.
This is gonna be tough for me.
Foo's pan-seared white fish.
[Laughter] For this round, your recipes will be judged on taste, presentation, and how well you execute the recipe.
Graham: All right, cooks, no time to waste, your 60 minutes starts now.
♪ 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12.
♪ I have Foo's recipe for these gorgeous, large red snappers.
Foo's dish is called Foo's Pan-Seared White Fish.
Robin, voice-over: I've never made a recipe like this before.
There's red snapper, there's white fish, canned tomato sauce, fish sauce.
There are capers in the recipe, and I'm not as familiar with capers.
I'm just gonna go fly by the seat of my pants on this.
I don't know how to do Asian food.
What were you gonna cook the fish on, the griddle or a frying pan?
A very hot non-stick frying pan.
Robin, voice-over: In a brief glance at all the ingredients in here, my mind shifts into Mediterranean cooking.
I always put lime on all my seafood, so let's put some lime on here, let's put some salt, pepper on here.
In life I've learned to be good a pivoting, so I'm just gonna rely on my instincts, and I'm gonna use his ingredients, but in my way.
I'm feeling a little nervous about this.
As a general rule, I'm not a recipe swapper, but I hope the judges appreciate my version of his dish.
How's it going?
It's OK, but promise you won't hate me if it doesn't taste like yours.
This is wild.
Robin, voice-over: I need to get started on the sauce.
I open up a can of tomato sauce, I put it in the food processor, I start pouring a little fish sauce in there, garlic goes in there.
Chili peppers were in his recipe.
I'd better just throw those right there in the sauce.
OK. All right.
She's a little frazzled.
It's out of her comfort zone.
Robin doesn't cook with Asian ingredients.
Not as much as me.
May I taste it, the sauce?
Robin: Yes, yes.
Foo, voice-over: My recipe is a recipe that is very important to me.
It's a recipe that my mother makes.
It's passed down from her.
A little bit more fish sauce.
OK. More fish sauce, yeah.
I have-- Great, I've never had fish sauce in my life, so OK. Foo: Robin's an amazing cook.
She's a surgeon in the kitchen, so I think that she will be able to identify what I'm trying to do with the dish, if not enhance it and make it better.
Robin: This is a first for me.
I'm not sure I'll do it justice, but I'll do the best I can.
This is definitely not a normal 60-minute challenge, but that's how some of the best recipes are made.
Today I'm making Nikki's recipe, which is Tuscan chicken with roasted cauliflower.
Whew, that's hot.
I'm feeling really good that I pulled Nikki's recipe because I love Italian food, and I feel like I have a good grasp on Italian flavors.
I hope I do your recipe justice, young lady.
Foo, you are gonna do amazing.
Nikki, voice-over: I learned this recipe, actually, when I was in Italy.
It's a family favorite.
It's actually really easy to make fast.
He's an amazing cook, so I know he's got this.
♪ I am a control freak when it comes to following a recipe, and I'm ready to rock that Tuscan chicken.
I don't want to let her down.
One and a half cups, oh, gosh.
Nikki, voice-over: I have Robin's recipe.
It's maple pumpkin bread.
I can't even remember the last time I baked.
I've done, like, some loafs, but I've never done, like, a bread, so we just hope for the best.
Robin, voice-over: Maple pumpkin bread for me is a fast, easy bread that you can make a lot of, and it's relatively healthy 'cause it has pumpkin in it.
Back when my kids were in school, I loved giving other moms this recipe as a gift to start out the new year.
Nikki: Robin's really thorough, so I'm hoping it will be easy-peasy, right?
The good thing is in this round, I can ask Robin all the questions, so I'm definitely gonna be doing that because baking is a science, it's accurate, it's precise.
That's not a definition of me or my personality.
How do you melt butter?
Can I do it in the microwave?
Cut your butter up separate, throw it in the baking pan, put it in the oven.
Robin, voice-over: Nikki seems to be a little nervous approaching this recipe that she apparently really doesn't want to do, she doesn't want to bake.
But she seems to have it under control.
She's got it, she's good.
♪ Butter melted, butter melt, melt, melt ♪ I'm working on the pumpkin batter.
Robin: How are you doing, Nikki?
Um, I'm doing something.
Nikki, voice-over: I'm making a mess.
I just don't know if the flavor is on point.
I'm coming over with a taste.
No, I'll come.
I've just got something over there doing whatever.
The pumpkin tastes good, the spices taste good.
You need to hurry up and get that in the oven.
OK. OK, dust these out just a little bit more.
You don't need all of that in there, otherwise it'll burn.
Robin is amazing, of course.
It's actually pretty good.
Nikki, voice-over: The last thing I ever put in a loaf pan was a meatloaf, so I hope we get them right.
[Laughs] ♪ You know what?
When it comes to Latin food, I'm more versed in eating it than cooking it.
Dan, voice-over: I gotta make Silvia's recipe, which is an empanada.
I've made something like an empanada before, but definitely not dough from scratch.
Oh, good, I was hoping that wasn't working.
'Cause I have a lot of time to spare.
There's a lot of steps to the recipe, and I'm gonna have to read every single thing and understand what I'm doing.
Might be too much water, bro, a little too much water.
The empanada dough is very similar to a pie dough.
I know what a pie dough is and what it should look like.
I make a lot of apple pies during apple pie season, but this is way more involved.
Oh, it's too hard.
No, no, you're good, don't worry about it.
It's all part of it.
Dan, he's an amazing cook.
So, how you feeling, Dan?
Like, maybe 10 minutes after we do the temperature a little bit to 375.
OK, thank you.
But my concern for him is the timing.
My recipe is not that complicated, it just needs some technique, and I know that he can manage that.
I love empanadas, just not mine.
Everybody loves this dish in my family.
It's something very traditional to take on a picnic or festival.
How's it going, Dan?
[Laughs] Robin, voice-over: I am grateful to have picked Foo's recipe.
I think that it will be easier for me to cook than Silvia's.
It's not that I'm miserable or mad, I'm just deep in thought.
The recipe that Silvia got, which is mine, is the recipe I give to people because it's such an easy recipe.
There's only 5 ingredients.
Now, Silvia's recipe, on the other hand, has every ingredient and kitchen tool imaginable involved in it, but that's OK. We're gonna give it everything we've got.
We're not quitting.
So, today is a completely different experience.
I'm doing Dan's cacio e pepe recipe.
So, I'm a little bit concerned because I don't know what cacio e pepe is, and for the first time, I'm not making Mexican food.
The first thing that I need to do is to cut and cook the guanciale, and that's an ingredient that I am not familiar with.
You know, I thought it might be pasta or might be some meat.
Cacio e pepe, it's so easy to do.
It's only like 5 ingredients, chicken and cheese pasta, and you season it with a little salt and pepper.
This recipe seems simple, so I'm going to add something of my own, but I don't know if I'm gonna go for something spicy or something in color.
I guess that's what it is.
[Sizzling] So, I'm reading the recipe and...
I need to season my chicken with salt and pepper.
Well, how much?
I love pepper.
I was looking for this.
But this is a lot of pepper, and I am concerned that it will be too peppery.
OK, two minutes.
All right, you amazing cooks, you have 30 minutes left.
Tiffany: Hey, Silvia.
What you making?
I'm making Dan's cacio e pepe.
Yes, cacio e pepe.
Yep, there you go.
It is a beloved dish by almost all chefs.
OK. Oh, my.
And it is simple... OK, yes.
Yeah, it's my first time, so I'm just having fun.
OK, I have one tip for you.
Make sure you use your pasta water.
You know, that has a lot of starch.
Use, like, it for the juice?
For the sauce?
Has a lot of starch in there, and that'll help bring your sauce together when you're doing it.
Thank you for your tips.
Graham: All right.
♪ Hi, Dan.
Oh, chefs, I'm so happy ya came.
How are you feeling?
I'm making Silvia's empanadas.
So, Silvia has my cacio e pepe recipe and I have her empanada recipe.
As far as ease of preparation, I think she got the better end of this deal.
Are you gonna add your own twist to this recipe in any way?
To tell you the truth, I'm not gonna mess with it because she's pretty much won every challenge and I haven't won any.
So who--so who am I to change her recipe?
I'm going with the success.
Well, Dan, you come on top quite a bit, so don't sell yourself short.
Yeah, thank you.
I've been making empanadas for a while, and it's one of those things where less is more, like ravioli.
Oh, OK. You don't want to overstuff.
Think of them as ravioli.
Now you're speaking my language.
I got you, Dan.
We've got faith in you.
Can't wait to try them.
All right, thank you.
♪ That smells good.
Foo, voice-over: I have the chicken seasoned and seared.
It's cooked perfectly.
But I'm trying to make Nikki's recipe my own, so I add red shallots to the base of the sauce.
I love cooking with red shallots.
To me, it's a little bit more defined onion taste, a little bit sweeter.
I'm also taking garlic and sautéing spinach with it, because who doesn't like garlic and spinach sautéed?
I think it'll balance well with that creamy sauce.
I enjoy this, I like this challenge very much.
The next thing I need to do is to prepare the sun-dried tomato.
I've never worked with them before, and I know the judges want uniform, so I want to make sure they're nice and pretty.
Turned up the heat to try to bring out some umami flavor from them.
The cauliflower's starting to get that char that I want in the oven, and I'm feeling good.
And I notice time was on my side, and I could ease the gas pedal a little bit and just focus on execution.
All right, so these home cooks continue to impress us.
What are you looking for at this point?
Graham: With this round, it's interesting because they are having to recreate someone else's recipe, so I want to see if they really jump off and do something unique, or if they just play it safe.
Leah: I love it.
It's a great challenge for them.
They're out of their comfort zone.
They're doing recipes that they haven't practiced and perfected.
And we're gonna get to see who can shine.
Foo: Great job, Robin.
Oh, I don't know.
We'll get there.
I'm not sure how familiar Foo is with some Italian flavors, but he gave Robin the white fish with the tomato sauce, so there was some diversity he was gonna do with his dishes today.
Foo is surprising, you guys.
He's like really coming into his own, he's shining.
Tiffany: And he's adjusting.
And I think that's where you get the growth, right?
Graham: So with the pan-seared white fish and the cacio e pepe, they both seem very simple, but that means that we expect it to be perfect.
Leah: It's all about technique with those two recipes.
It has to be cooked perfectly.
Graham: I think it's so fun that when we first started this whole journey, Nikki did, like, the most basic steak and potato ever.
So, I made a flank steak with the chimichurri sauce and roasted Parmesan potatoes.
And now she's out her comfort zone.
Leah: I completely agree with you.
Nikki: Perfect, look at that.
Nikki, voice-over: For the next step of the recipe, I'm gonna make a chocolate glaze and these maple candies, but I wanted to spruce it up, and so, if I am gonna eat a bread, I love it with a good whipped cream.
I'm gonna put a little bit of the maple syrup in the whipped cream, get that flavor through it, and this is my twist on how to make this pumpkin maple loaf.
So I've got batter in my hair.
It just means I'm getting into it, loving it, feeling the feel.
I'm in a great mood.
I have no choice.
You all have 5 minutes.
5 minutes left.
♪ Silvia, voice-over: I'm fine with time.
The recipe is very well explained.
Dan did a great job actually telling times, like, 5 minutes before the pasta's done, just do this.
I was thinking, "I got this," 'cause I know the dish is coming well.
And I decide to add my little sprinkle of green.
I start chopping the parsley, and I should know better how to put my fingers when I'm chopping.
And I chop my finger.
And I said, "Uh-oh, my dish."
The time is just counting down.
Everyone, you have one minute left.
Alejandra: All right, let's go, cooks.
You've got this.
Dan: I made what I refer to now as empa-nope-ers, 'cause, nope, they are not empanadas.
Dan, voice-over: It definitely looks more like a ravioli, but I'm confident that the flavors are there.
♪ Alejandra: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.
Hands up, everyone.
Tiffany: Good job, guys.
Great job, everyone.
I went Mediterranean on the fish.
I love it.
I love it.
You made it your own.
Robin, voice-over: I have my dishes the way I want them.
I feel good about the dish.
I feel it looks pretty.
I know it tastes good.
♪ Hi, Robin.
Whose dish did you make for us today?
I have Foo's recipe, and it is a pan-seared white fish over a tomato sauce with capers.
Leah: It's really nice, it's really pretty, looks light and delicious.
Robin, the fish itself is light and flaky and moist, so that flavor with the fish and the tomato and the pine nuts and capers and.
This is a fantastic dish that Foo has created, but you really put your spin on it.
You made it your own while still staying true to what the recipe actually was.
Nikki: I made Robin's maple pumpkin bread with whipped cream.
♪ Nikki, I was really worried with everything going on, but this is delicious.
It's so moist and the maple comes through, and that's my all-time favorite ingredient in the world.
The whipped cream doesn't add a whole lot.
OK. Visually, the cake on its own is so perfect that I don't think it needs anything.
That's all Robin.
Nikki, I think that the teachers at your son's school are gonna ask you to make this bread and bring it to them because it is so good.
I love that you put your spin on it, and you executed a fantastic recipe extremely well.
I might eat the rest of this.
[Laughter] Hi, Foo.
Today I made Nikki's Tuscan chicken and roasted cauliflower.
♪ I know you didn't create this dish, but you recreated it very well.
Thank you, Chef.
From the sauce to the spinach together, it's perfectly seasoned.
Also, the saltiness and the acidity from the sun-dried tomatoes.
I think that you're really progressing, like, with your seasoning each and every week and each and every round, so just keep it up.
OK. Tiffany: I agree.
When it comes down to execution, did you cook the chicken well?
Yes, you did.
It is pan seared, it's still juicy in the center.
The cauliflower, maybe adding a little more olive oil so that when it roasted, it could caramelize a little bit better.
Thank you, chefs.
Alejandra: Thank you.
Alejandra: Hello, Silvia.
Whose dish did you cook today?
So, it's Dan's cacio e pepe.
And you had a little accident.
Yes, I sliced my finger, but it's all good.
And you feel OK now?
I'm OK right now.
Silvia, have you tried cacio e pepe before?
Have you ever eaten it?
It should really have a strong cheese flavor and a strong black pepper flavor, and that's just not something that we're getting right here.
It tastes delicious, it just doesn't really remind me of cacio e pepe.
Yes, I think I was trying to balance the flavors instead to allow the pepper to be like a-- Tiffany: Prominent.
More, like, prominent, yes.
So, next time you just adjust a little bit, but the chicken is properly cooked, it's seasoned and it's delicious, but then you have that pasta, which is also to the tooth, al dente.
So, you did a really good job with the recipe and creating, sort of, the technical things that you're looking for.
You just didn't know, you know, what it was.
Silvia: I know, yes.
Alejandra: Thank you so much, Silvia.
Tiffany: Hello, Dan.
All right, well, going from Italy to Mexico, tell us what you made.
Dan: OK, so these are Silvia's turkey empanadas, which did turn into a ravioli.
Have you had empanadas before?
I've had empanadas before.
I'm a big fan of Mexican food.
But you haven't made them before?
No, I have not even attempted to make them.
There's so many new techniques today.
Yeah, yeah, exactly.
The empanada, you know, the ravioli as you call it, has a little bit of the egg wash on it so you get that color.
You just want to make sure that you do an even distribution so it really gets that golden brown.
Graham: It's a good Dan-panada.
The filling especially is really flavorful.
It's got a good heat.
But the dough, there's just a little too much of it.
It takes away from that flavor of the filling.
I love the flavor, I just wish there was more of it.
OK, thank you.
[Laughter] ♪ Alejandra: We threw you a curve ball today, but you definitely proved why you're the remaining 5 cooks in this competition.
OK, judges, who made your favorite dishes this round?
♪ Robin, your spin on Foo's pan-seared white fish with tomato sauce and capers was a delicious bowl, and you really put your own spin on it and made it seem like it was a dish you would make every day.
Robin, voice-over: My spin paid off.
It feels good to hear a comment from the judges that you know you've tackled everything that you could possibly do to put it on the plate, and they recognize that.
I feel good about what I've produced, and I was true to myself.
Graham: Our other favorite dish belongs to Nikki.
You created Robin's maple pumpkin bread, and from one baking hater to another, you did good.
Yes, you give me hope, so way to go.
I never thought I would get a top dish for baking anything, and so I feel pretty vindicated.
I just needed that win.
Excellent job, Nikki and Robin.
Nikki: Thank you.
We can't wait to enjoy your recipes in the next round.
♪ In the last round, you showed us your versatility by preparing a recipe created by one of your fellow cooks.
This round we want to see the melting pot of flavors and cuisines from your individual food story.
Leah: From where you were born to who you married, where you grew up to where you live now, many of us have more than one cultural influence that goes into creating our cuisine.
Tiffany: For your second dish, we want to see you bring together a fusion of bold, delicious flavors, pairing a blend of different cuisines.
You will have 90 minutes to show us your personal food story in a single dish.
Your dishes will be judged on taste, presentation, execution, and how well it showcases the theme.
Alejandra: At the end of this round, we are sadly going to have to send someone home.
So, be sure your flavors are on point in this melting pot dish.
Are you ready, cooks?
Good, because your time starts now.
♪ Dan: That first round kind of shook me a little bit, so I'm trying to compose myself now, 'cause that little challenge definitely caught me off guard, that's for sure.
I don't disagree with anything that the judges said.
You know, the empanada thing, I botched a few, so I'm absolutely, you know, concerned at this point.
So, I'm gonna make a cheeseburger with an Italian twist on it today.
Dan, voice-over: It's a Italiano burger.
My thought behind this dish to encompass all of America into one dish as well as sticking with my Italian roots.
It's a fusion of different cultures because nothing more American than a good old-fashioned cheeseburger.
That encompasses everybody in this country, 'cause first and foremost we're Americans, and I put my Italian twist on it.
First thing we're making, Italian ketchup with some tomatoes, garlic, a few Calabrian chilies, and I'm gonna do some crispy prosciutto di parma as well.
Dan, voice-over: This burger right here, I'm gonna mix together some ground tri-tip, some ground short rib, and some ground chuck.
To give it a little bit of spice, I'm gonna throw some Calabrian chilies that I'm gonna grind up, gonna season that up, make patties.
If you salt it too early, it can kind of break down the meat and make it mushy, so I'm like, I'll usually just salt it right before I'm ready to put it in the frying pan.
Ooh, Dan, I see some beautiful tomatoes over there.
What are you making?
Burger with an Italian twist.
How about yourself?
Of course you are.
How about yourself?
Oh, I just got on the plane and went to Brazil, and I'm gonna bring a little of it back here on the plate.
If I don't make it back in time for dinner, it's 'cause I'm having too much fun.
I'm going to be making moqueca with pao de queijo.
Moqueca is a Brazilian seafood chowder, and pao de queijo is Brazilian cheese bread.
I did live in Brazil for 3 years, and the seafood dishes there were just something very different than what I was used to coming from Chesapeake Bay where we eat all kinds of fish, shellfish, and regular types of seafood.
And I think that this would be a great way to showcase a fusion dish to share with the judges.
In the moqueca, I'm going to be putting some scallops, a cod fish, and some shrimp.
Robin, voice-over: After I went off to Brazil, I started incorporating the flavors in my style of cooking.
Moqueca has palm oil, or dende oil, and chili peppers and coconut milk, but use the types of seafood I would use cooking out of the Chesapeake Bay.
Just be chopping these, and I will marinate them for a little bit in lime and some herbs, salt.
And these shrimp, give them a quick sear and save those to put in last.
They have too pretty a flavor to just kind of get lost.
Robin, voice-over: I came in with the intention to just do what I know how to do and hope that I can do it within the time frame.
Overall, I feel very pleased with where I am at this point in the competition.
I feel proud to put this before the judges.
♪ Alejandra: So you know, this round is not just about a fusion recipe, but it's about how they add their technique and their personal style to it.
What are you guys looking to see from them this round?
Graham: I think it's really cool that Nikki was able to do something that she was so uncomfortable with with the baking and, like, rocked it out, so I'm expecting good stuff from her.
Yeah, that was good.
It was really good.
Alejandra: It was very good.
Nikki: All right, time for me to get this show on the road.
So, I'm feeling pretty good going into round two.
I feel like, OK, I can do this.
I am making shrimp curry, and this is my love of Pacific Northwest.
Fresh fish, fresh vegetables from our garden meets my travels and love of the world with curry.
I'm infusing all my favorite curries, European curry, Indian curry, and like a Caribbean curry.
And so, kind of just taking the best of those notes and combining them.
I'm using turmeric, ginger, garlic, coriander, cumin, with a little bit of cilantro as well.
Nikki, voice-over: Growing up my mom made this horrific shrimp curry.
We even laugh about it, but we ate it, we loved it.
And then, what was so exciting is that I would travel the world, taking all the experiences that I have gained through all different types of cultures and all different types of spices.
Travel for me is love, and then being able to share it in this dish, that really does excite me.
Silvia: How you doing, Nikki?
Tiffany: 45 minutes left.
[Cooks cheering] ♪ Wow.
Nikki, voice-over: I taste it, then I'm like, something is off.
I may have put in two teaspoons of ground ginger instead of one.
The spices that are in the curry, it's off.
[Sighs] Hi, guys.
Alejandra: What are you working on?
So, I'm making a shrimp curry, but I'm doing Indian meets Caribbean curry.
But I taste the ground ginger, and I don't know how to offset that.
Alejandra: I'm gonna go in for a little.
Tell me what I need.
Tiffany: A little bit of coconut milk will help you get there.
Looks like you were using more of the coconut fat up top, but, you know, adding in a little bit of that and then balance the rest out.
OK. And then, of course, remember to add some acid at the end.
So, right now, all of the spices taste a little raw, so it needs to cook off a little bit.
Nikki, voice-over: I'm listening to the judges to really hone in on these flavors.
And then, I add more coconut milk to try to kind of mute that flavor, and I turn up the heat for those flavors to kind of die off a little bit, and hopefully that would do enough.
♪ Foo: Smells good.
Sure smells good.
Going into round two, I feel good.
I had positive reviews about Nikki's Tuscan chicken and roasted cauliflower recipe that I made.
So, I am excited for the judges to taste this next dish.
I'm making Chinese Southwestern ribs with Mexican elote.
We're doing a fusion of char siu Chinese barbecue sauce, as well as some traditional American barbecue sauce.
Foo, voice-over: This dish represents where I came from and where I'm at now.
I was raised in the Midwest, where I was introduced to Chinese barbecue.
Now I live in Southern California, where I was introduced to elote.
I was introduced to those char siu flavors in a traditional Vietnamese banh mi.
The pork in there is roasted with char siu.
Char siu is a Chinese barbecue flavoring to roast the pork.
It has a beautiful red color to it.
There's Chinese 5 spice in it, and it's got that cinnamon, turmeric note to it.
It's just beautiful.
I love it.
Cooking barbecue, it takes a long time, so I'm gonna have to put them in a pressure cooker.
I'm worried that the ribs are gonna be too tough, so I add a little bit of acid, a little bit of vinegar, some orange juice to get that tenderness going.
I am praying that these ribs finish on time.
♪ In the meantime, I grab my corn so that I can start on my elote.
I wanted it spicy.
I'm combining the mayo with sriracha, honey, and Tabasco sauce, salt and pepper.
I want to make it my own by giving it that sriracha, Asian kick.
♪ It's spicy.
Is it good?
A touch of lemon.
OK. Mucho gracias.
I need to be very careful with my cut this time.
I want to make sure that they're all the same size.
Silvia, voice-over: For this round, I need to combine at least two cuisines or two influences.
I call this dish Silvia's Californian salmon salad.
It's something that I created with my flavors from Mexico, but also all the produce in California, their love for salads.
So, my salad has lettuce, celery, apples, gorgonzola cheese, peppers, tomatoes, quinoa, cranberries, and then smoked almonds.
These tomatoes are so pretty.
It's a lot of ingredients, but it's the perfect combination from my culture in Mexico and California.
I think the judges will like the freshness and the flavor.
Tell me what you're making.
So this is a very special dish, because if you live in Mexico and you ask for a salad, it's sad.
[Laughter] Then I arrived to California.
California, fresh, colorful-- Yeah, you're spoiled out there.
I'm very spoiled.
So, I'm making this salad which is a mix between my Mexican flavor, like the cilantro, the chilies, but I'm also adding salmon.
I never had salmon in my life until I moved to the United States.
Never in Mexico.
Do you like it?
I love it.
And it's one of the first things that actually my husband served me when I visit his family, and I fall in love with that fish.
And also, I added a little bit of quinoa.
It sounds like a melting bowl.
It is a melting pot.
Like it's gonna have everything in it.
Is the quinoa tossed in the salad?
I'm excited to try this.
Thank you so much, Silvia.
Thank you so much for stopping by.
I'll see you later.
Alejandra: 30 minutes, cooks.
♪ Alejandra: Hi, Dan.
Hey, how you doing, judges?
Leah: What are you making for us?
A burger, 'cause there's nothing anymore patriotic, and we're all Americans, so it incorporates everybody, and I'm putting my little Italian spin on it.
And what goes into your Italiano burger?
Dan: Short rib, tri-tip, and chuck.
I made a little Calabrian chili butter that I added into that.
I'm gonna melt some mozzarella cheese on it.
I'm gonna slice this a little bit thinner.
I put it on pretty thick, though.
I love that you're searing your burgers in a cast iron pan.
I think that's really great.
I actually prefer my burgers cooked that way because you get a really nice crust and sear, and then you can also regulate the internal temperature a little bit mostly.
Alejandra: Exactly, yeah.
Very smart to do it that way, Dan.
And hopefully we do a little bit better than our empanada.
[Laughs] Well, you're back in your wheelhouse.
Yeah, a little bit.
I can see this is the comfortable, confident Dan I know.
Oh, I was on the ropes.
I was ducking and covering early.
You can tell, it's like a totally different Dan.
Nikki, voice-over: My husband and two boys, they're just my biggest supporters.
And I want to do my family proud and also show my kids that their mom's pretty cool.
[Laughs] So I'm adding a little bit more coconut.
I tasted a little bit too much ground ginger.
And then at the end, I'll add quite a bit of citrus also.
Nikki, voice-over: I'm feeling a little nervous, I'm not gonna lie.
I love me some fresh ginger too, but I went with the ground.
The competition is definitely getting stiff at this point, and it's coming down to execution.
I need to make sure that everything I give them tastes amazing in order to keep me from going home.
Oh, that has heat.
No, they'll love it.
Do you have water for my mouth?
Go big or go home.
Go big or go home.
Graham: OK, everybody, 15 minutes remaining.
Alejandra: All right, cooks, let's make it happen.
How are you?
Welcome to Brazil.
What are you making for us?
I am making moqueca, which is a Brazilian fish chowder, and I'm making pao de queijo, Brazilian cheese bread.
Pao means bread... of cheese, bread of cheese, pao de queijo.
So you have to make bread basically...
at every round.
But this one is gluten-free because it's made with tapioca, and tapioca's made with yuca, and yuca is the staple of Brazil.
I lived there for 3 years.
And I just spent about two years along the coastlines, spent time in Pernambuco, where they catch all the shrimp and they've got all the best seafood, and I went crazy learning how to make a lot of different dishes with some of the many influences of Brazilian cooking.
And moqueca is a fusion of African and European flavors.
I learned to samba.
We did a lot of fun things on the beach.
Are you gonna show us your dance moves if we're lucky?
[Laughter] Tiffany: See, you wouldn't be Miss Robin without adding in a little bit of flavor.
We can't wait to try it.
You gotta have some bread to dip in that.
Oh, we gonna have a few.
Thank you, Robin.
Thank you so much.
I'm feeling good about the way the flavors taste.
The shrimp has come out.
They popped open beautifully.
And I'm gonna sit these on top of the chowder.
My only concern about having this dish ready was if the pao de queijo would cook fast enough for me to be able to serve it.
What's up, Foo?
Can you tell what you're making today?
Today, I'm making a Chinese and Southwestern barbecue spare rib.
Yes, speaking my language.
You know I love a rib.
Yeah, you and me both.
And then, for the side we're doing Mexican elote.
When it comes to your ribs, are you doing it all in the oven?
So right now it's living in a pressure cooker.
I marinated in a char siu Chinese rub, and then we're gonna toss it in this here, this homemade barbecue sauce.
Well, oh, yes.
Graham: I'm just like, where's the spoon at?
♪ Tiffany: I think you need a touch more vinegar.
OK. You've got a good sweetness, a little bit of spice, and that's really what you're trying to get, you know, that trifecta effect on the rib.
Love what you're doing.
Too high of a heat, you're gonna burn it 'cause there's so much sugar in it, so just be careful or baste it a little.
Thank you, A lot of babysitting.
Thank you, chefs.
♪ Foo, voice-over: I check the ribs, and thankfully they were perfect.
We just gotta get it to taste as well as it looks.
In order to simulate that grilled taste, that beautiful barbecue flavor, I need to turn the oven up as high as it can possibly go.
I close the oven and I pray.
Alejandra: 5 minutes, cooks.
Nikki: Look how pretty these little shrimps are.
♪ Alejandra: Judges, what are you guys looking for here?
Robin and Nikki are both doing a style of curry, right?
So, Nikki is taking the route of Caribbean with Indian flavors, and then moqueca is a stew, but you definitely-- you have coconut milk, you have spices, you have all of that flavor.
They're both using similar ingredients, but two very distinct flavors.
Leah: What I love about Robin is that Robin lived in Brazil for 3 years.
Who would've ever known that?
She's got a little bit of flare.
And each round she seems a little bit more confident, and I'm so excited to see, you know, her dish.
Alejandra: I'm excited to try Dan's Italian ketchup, which he's making from scratch, and it's got Calabrian chilies in it.
He's using crispy prosciutto instead of bacon.
Just like a lot of great flavors.
It looks really nice.
Looks like Dan knows what he's doing over there.
Alejandra: I can't believe these are home cooks.
These recipes have been incredible.
Tiffany: Yeah, I agree.
All right, one minute left, guys.
60 seconds left.
♪ Dan: Stop by casa di Ronaldi, we'll take care of ya.
Tiffany: You got this.
Graham: Let's go, guys.
Alejandra: 3, 2, 1.
Hands up, everybody.
Leah: Great job.
That was rough.
Nikki, voice-over: There's only 5 of us left, and everyone has been elevating their game.
Am I worried?
A little bit.
I'm nervous about the flavor of the curry.
♪ Alejandra: Cooks, it smells incredible in here.
This week we asked you to get out of your comfort zone and show us a range of flavors and techniques.
For this round, we wanted you to prepare a fusion dish that brought together culinary influences from your personal background.
Your dishes will be judged on taste, execution, presentation, and how well your recipe showcases the theme.
Foo, come and join us.
♪ Foo: The fusion dish I made for you today is a Chinese char siu Southwest barbecue rib and a Mexican elote.
I lived a little bit in Chicago in the Chinatown area, where I learned about the char siu flavors, and now I reside in Los Angeles, California, and that's where I discovered this Mexican elote dish.
Tiffany: This may not be down in the country woods of Texas kind of rib, but this is a good rib.
I don't know where you're picking up your rib-making skills, but it's mighty delicious.
They are tender, they are still juicy, every note here is bold, and it's just flowing together.
Yeah, I mean, this is lovely.
That elote, it's nice and sweet, and then that spice on the actual rib.
It's a really, really balanced plate.
Really good job.
Thank you, chefs.
Robin, come and join us.
Robin: I made for you a bowl of moqueca, which is a Brazilian seafood chowder, and pao de queijo, which is the Brazilian cheese bread.
After raising 4 children, the oldest one ended up in Brazil to do some studying.
I moved to Brazil for 3 years.
This dish has Brazilian influence from the coastline and the seafood.
And coming from Annapolis, Maryland, where I grew up on seafood, it was exciting to my son and I to both learn various different ways to mix seafoods.
Graham: This dish is banging.
This is really, really good.
And this dish perfectly sums up the theme of today's challenge.
The fact that you're able to mix all the seafood that comes from Maryland, and then the influence from Brazil, I think it's great.
Thank you so much.
I think it's really lovely how there is a lot of seafood in this bowl, and yet it's not overpoweringly fishy.
It's really nice and mild.
I love the little kick of heat that there is in there.
It's very unassuming, and it kind of just creeps up on you in a very nice, gentle way, just like the seafood does.
♪ Dan: What I made for you today is a Italiano burger.
There's nothing more American than a burger, and I put a little Italian twist on it.
Leah: The crispy prosciutto is a really nice touch.
I really love that.
It adds some great texture.
And I like how you had a nice sear on your burger.
But for me, the importance is the cook on the burger, and my burger's overcooked.
I like mine in between a medium-rare to a medium.
Mine's a little bit more on medium-well side.
Is that Calabrian chili ketchup?
It is, chef, yes.
Is that what you made?
It's got a great flavor.
I would say that the patty itself could use a little more seasoning, but that's just it, a little more seasoning on the burger, and maybe a little mayo or something to make it a little richer.
Alejandra: Thanks so much, Dan.
Thank you, chefs.
Nikki: So, today I made for you guys a shrimp curry.
What's influenced my life is my love of travel, and every country I've ever gone to, I always try their curry.
And my mom introduced me to curry growing up, and so it's one of those dishes that I've loved to make.
The shrimp, cooked really nice, add a good sweetness.
The only thing is that the curry itself, there's so many different spices going on, and you really have to cook those out for a while.
Leah: For me, the issue that I have is with the curry itself.
It's very important to toast your spices and to kind of balance it out, and then when you're making the curry, toast it again in the oil.
And that is a way to really make sure that you mellow out the flavors of the spices, they blend together nicely, and so nothing is overpowering.
I toasted them all together, so that's a great tip to do them individually.
Thank you so much, Nikki.
Thank you, guys.
♪ Alejandra: Silvia.
Silvia: So, I made a Californian salad with salmon.
I'm mixing some of my Mexican flavors with my Californian flavors.
When I came to California, then I realized that I could put nuts in my salads, I could put cheese in my salads.
And then I just start adding different ingredients that I wasn't as familiar with to my own cooking.
The salmon, it's nice and moist.
I love that you have the different textures, the apple especially, and those nuts.
It was really smart to have those added because the salmon naturally is so fatty and rich, to help cut through it.
I like the flavor of the salad, but there's a lot of vegetables, there's a lot of fruit.
And if you like it that way and that's what you were going for, cool, but it is just a little-- a little too much.
Alejandra: Thank you, Silvia.
Silvia, voice-over: After the judges' feedback, I'm concerned, and I might be going home.
♪ Tiffany: Your dishes today took us on a culinary journey, and it was fantastic and flavorful and full of brightness and love for food.
Judges, which recipe stood out for you?
♪ Foo, your char siu ribs with the creamy elote was delicious.
Really good job.
Foo: Thank you.
Foo, voice-over: I'm confident that this dish represented the challenge very well.
I'm raised in the Midwest, I lived in Chicago, I'm now in Southern California.
It was a melting pot dish, so I feel good.
Tiffany: Another one of our favorites... ♪ Robin, your moqueca was beautiful.
It had so much depth and flavor.
Robin: Thank you.
Robin, voice-over: I've adopted many different cultures in the food that I cook, and I wanted to showcase that here.
And I'm elated that they are pleased with some of the dishes that I'm presenting to them.
I don't know how much longer I'll be here, but I'm feeling good about where I am now.
These dishes were world-class, but we all agreed the most successful dish was... Foo.
[Applause] You really took all the advice that we gave you about bringing the flavors and how to, you know, kind of tweak here and there, and you applied it to this dish, and, you know, this round you really showed everyone what you're made of.
Foo, voice-over: I am blown away.
Because of the judges, I learned to bring on those bold flavors.
Congratulations, Foo, Fantastic work.
Thank you very much.
Unfortunately, there were a couple recipes that were not as successful.
♪ Nikki... and Dan... you had the judges' least successful dishes.
Leah: Nikki, the range of cuisines that you have cooked for us so far have been probably the most diverse.
But unfortunately, the spices had that raw flavor, and it really needed to be cooked out more to balance itself out, and it was just a little too sharp.
Nikki, voice-over: I'm not shocked that I'm in the bottom, but I'm competitive, I'm a game player, and I hope to get another chance.
Dan, your flavors are delicious, but unfortunately, the burger was overcooked.
Dan, voice-over: You know, I'm not happy with the burger.
So, I'm thinking, this is pretty much it, I'm about to go home now.
Alejandra: Nikki or Dan, one of you will be leaving us.
The judges have made their decision.
And sadly... Nikki, you'll be heading back to your home kitchen tonight.
Tiffany: Nikki, this was an incredibly hard decision for us.
We absolutely loved your Italian recipes that you've shared with us.
We love the stories of food, family, traveling.
All of those things are special, and that's what makes you unique, and we just wish you the best of luck with everything.
We know that everything you touch will be great.
I'm so grateful for this amazing opportunity to meet these amazing cooks.
They've touched my life, my soul, my heart, and I'll take you and them with me the rest of my life, so thank you.
Such a blessing.
Nikki, voice-over: I'm gonna be so sad, but this experience was life-changing, exhilarating.
[Laughter] I think the person who's gonna be most proud of me is my husband and my boys.
I didn't win, but I feel like I accomplished a lot.
♪ Dan, voice-over: I'm sad for Nikki, but what's in front of me is way more important than what's behind me.
So I'm like, OK, well, let's keep going here and focus on whatever's next.
This week was all about mixing it up and showing us your range.
The remaining 4 of you represent the best of American home cooking.
We will see you back here soon for your next "Great American Recipe."
♪ Alejandra: Next time on "The Great American Recipe"...
This week we're celebrating the people who shaped you into the cooks you are today.
Robin: Over the years, I have watched this family make this dish.
It's different every time.
Graham: I absolutely love this dish.
I think it's one of the tastiest ones that you have prepared us.
Silvia: It's so good.
I took this challenge to heart.
It's for my mom.
Oh, baby, here we go.
We all agreed the most successful dish was... ♪