Recipe to Riches reviewed: Episode 6, Kulfi Karma
Six episodes deep, it seems like the producers have finally started to give host Jesse Palmer a little more rope. This week, the Bachelor star and ex–football star finally got to show a little heart after the first elimination, exclaiming, “That was a little bit intense, wasn’t it?” before noting, philosophically, “And then there were only two.” The criticism that keeps coming back about this show, in our comments and elsewhere, is that every episode is the same as the last. Perhaps this was an attempt to mix things up a bit. Still, the comments might have applied a little better to last week’s tear-stained episode than to this week’s frozen treats challenge, which was mercifully more even-keeled. After the jump, our regular recap and tasting panel.
This week’s winner was the genteel Rosy Soobrattee, hailing from the fastest-growing region in Greater Golden Horseshoe, Milton. Her frozen treat? A pistachio-topped cardamom and rosewater kulfi made from a recipe handed down by her grandfather, who owned a sweet shop in India. (Kulfi is much like ice cream, but denser from not having been whipped up, and usually creamier. We’ve been dreaming of a high-quality grocery store version for years.) The first contestant to go was Burnaby’s Mark Tagulao, who made an ice cream cake with green tea, Earl Grey and vanilla-cardamom layers that he called Teapolitan (get it?). Although product development judge Dana McCauley liked the fact that “people will still think of it being holistically healthy” because of the word “tea,” marketer Tony Chapman was unimpressed with the presentation, dismissing Tagulao with, “You served it up like a lump of clay.” During the marketing challenge, Soobrattee had to face down Audrey Tannant of Vancouver, who brought a s’mores-based ice cream called Ice Queens Hattrick, which she reimagined during the program as an ice cream sandwich called Hat Trick Frozen S’mores. In the end, the confusing sports-related name did her in, with judge Laura Calder complaining, “I don’t get s’mores and hockey, and I feel left out!” Soobrattee’s dessert, for its part, was re-christened Kulfi Karma, because, as she explained, “Karma, effectively, means something good” (which is not exactly how we remember things from World Religions class). Our favourite moment came when Chapman, ever the conservative defender of the mass market, worried about how such an unfamiliar dessert might play in the suburbs. Soobrattee replied: “I live in the suburbs. It’s not gonna be an issue.” Zing!
The reaction from our tasting panel was split down the middle—some found the rosewater imparted an unpleasant, soapy flavour (“Tastes like curdled Pledge!”), while others loved the strong cardamom flavour and the rich, condensed-milk base. Admittedly, the texture was much more ice cream than kulfi (one first-time kulfi eater said, “It tastes like spicy vanilla”), and it was pretty sweet. Some people would have preferred the flavours to be a little less restrained (“It’s not indulgent like ice cream should be”), although most agreed that they would be happy to serve the stuff at a dinner party (while perhaps omitting the fact that it was store-bought). The strongest recommendation probably came from a sometime vegan who happened to be walking by. She asked for a taste, and then she asked for more. See the Karma Kulfi in our pint-container-to-bowl gallery »
Next week is the entrée challenge, the final regular-season battle, with North Vancouver’s Robert Luft, Burnaby’s Eva Fong and Montreal’s Scott Usheroff. After that, from December 7 to 9, viewers will be able to place their votes on the Recipe to Riches website to crown a winner of the $250,000 grand prize.
(Images: Soobrattee and homemade Kulfi, Food Network Canada; tasting photos, Andrew D’Cruz)