RECIPE TO RICHES Season 2, Episode 2
This episode’s opening minutes made us anxious. No, the show’s producers didn’t do anything crazy, like adding a fourth contestant or a third challenge—it was the same blue-menu blandness we know and love. Host Jesse Palmer, though, wracked our nerves a little. He dropped into his pre-“batch-up” spiel with his standard brand of reality show host gusto, but then, all of a sudden, he said “President’s Choice product” instead of “prestigious President’s Choice lineup.” We nearly spat out the apparently-no-longer-prestigious President’s Choice snack we were eating. Okay, that last bit didn’t really happen; but still, we were shocked. We watched the rest of the episode, the Savoury Snacks challenge, with justified trepidation, but thankfully, the well-worn formula delivered, and Palmer deviated no further from the standard script. Phew.
Stephen Childs, a civil engineer from Victoria, was the first to put his product in front of the judges. He offered a deep-fried polenta pocket stuffed with chili, which was inspired by his dislike of cleaning sticky chili remnants off the bottom of dishware (and, we assume, his profound love of the spicy bean-based medley). Childs, ever the engineer, methodically makes the chili, portions it into molds, freezes them, stuffs the puck into polenta and deep fries the whole package. The approach clearly paid off, as he, and his chili, moved on. Calgary’s Jennifer Innis, on the other hand, did not. Judge Dana McCauley called the whole wheat pastry in her Cornish Chicken Pasties “a triumph,” but that wasn’t enough to carry her product through to the next challenge. Instead, the competition came down to Childs and Ladysmith, B.C.’s Lyndsay Wells, who presented scallion pancake-wrapped Asian Snack Wraps. Both received new names—Chipotle Chili Slams and Wrap Attack—before a teenage boys hockey team entered as the episode’s focus group. Naturally, the cheerleaders smartly recruited to market Childs’ chili snack hit them square in the hormones. The whole team walked past Wells and went straight to the Slams. Wells eventually lured them back with a marketing bit that featured a rapper rapping about her wrap (get it?) and a graffiti artist. But it didn’t matter. The numbers favoured Childs, and so too did the judges. The Chipotle Chili Slams, the most aggressively named Recipe to Riches product since last year’s Chicken Grenades, received the final nod.
Best product that the judges passed on: Woohoo! (We’re not sure what it was—but we love the name. Woohoo!)
Best line: Childs, describing the immersion blender: “Kill switches, safety switches, you just sort of like, NYAAAGGHHH! It was a lot of fun.”
The More You Know: Cornish pasty is a protected term. Who knew?
President’s Choice once again meddled with the winning product, albeit this time with a lighter touch. The Slams are now substantially larger, less a bite-sized party snack and more in the Hot Pockets class. While the box assures it’s “the perfect” snack to “eat in a hurry,” baking it takes over 20 minutes–which stretches our notion of quick and convenient. Our in-office tasters agreed that the crust is decent, eliciting approval for its crunchy texture, although one dissenting voice described it as “cake covered in corn meal.” The Slams also drew comparisons with leftover lentil soup (note: there are no lentils) and McDonald’s apple pies (note: there’s no apple pie filling). In terms of spice, the chili actually had a decent kick, and one reviewer suggested the box be labelled “medium” instead of “mild,” but the promised chipotle smokiness was lacking. Overall, a solid ”meh.”
Suggested Pairing: Sour cream