Recipe to Riches Recap and Taste Test: episode 5, Mexi Mac ‘n’ Cheese Bites
Category: Savoury Snacks
Winning Dish: Cyra Belbin’s Mexi Mac ‘n’ Cheese Bites
Runner-Up Dishes: Roshini Mellaram’s smoked-meat samosas and Izumi Kyle’s cheesy shrimp spring rolls
Conceptually, this week’s “savoury snacks” and last week’s “appetizers” all seemed to belong under a single umbrella category: “deep-fried nuggets, best consumed while tipsy.” The batch-up challenge once again saw the contestants hovering nervously over vats of spitting oil and dealing with various mass-production snags, like accidental scaldings and difficult-to-pronounce herbs. (It’s cilantro. Cilantro.) All three contestants struggled to whip up 1000 portions, but it was Roshini who got chopped, likely because her smoked-meat samosas, while kind of cute, were not deep-fried balls of macaroni and cheese.
Both the remaining contestants made some unconventional choices in the product-launch department: Izumi arranged a literal gong show in hopes of pleasing her ball-buster mom, while Cyra forced her waiters to don flamboyantly coloured S&M masks. After some inconclusive survey results, Cyra’s mac ‘n’ cheese balls won, leaving viewers musing over the ages-old Riches question: wouldn’t this whole thing work better as a mail-in recipe contest?
This week’s tasting became a nugget-on-nugget showdown (the competing nugget being last week’s ham-stuffed cheese pop). That said, there was no clear-cut winner: with only a handful of dissenters, the panel agreed that both products were delicious. The Mac ‘n’ Cheese Bites were slightly less dense than last week’s Italian Lollipops, with a noticeably more processed, Cheez Whizzish filling—not that there’s anything wrong with that. In fact, some admired how this week’s nugget made no pretence of class or cultural authenticity. (“This is pretty much exactly what people eat in Mexico, I think,” was one sarcastic observation.) The elbow noodles enclosed within the nugget had a certain flabbiness to them, but most panelists didn’t mind, finding that the pasta added structural integrity to the snack—which, all agreed, would otherwise be indistinguishable from a deep-fried ball of Tostitos Nacho Cheese Dip.
If you’d like to try for yourself, Mexi Mac ‘n’ Cheese Bites will be selling for $6.99 at select Loblaws stores this weekend.