For cooking novice Tom (“I’m not a chef”) Speicher, “Italian Night” means a large pizza with half the cheese. Fortunately, Chef Paul Mach’s more sophisticated version of “Italian Night” is showcased: Risotto of Seafood Bucaniera and Bruschetta Roman Style With Sautéed Bitter Greens and Imported Italian Cheese. Even though his dream Italian entrée is not on the menu, Tom finds solace in the fact that the Bruschetta, with its bread and cheese, resembles a mini pizza.
Considering their favorite football teams sport a combined 0-8 Super Bowl record, Tom is stunned when Chef Paul names Super Bowl Variety Quiche as one of the day’s featured snacks. (While he’s experienced with Super Bowl defeats, it’s no surprise that Tom has never tasted quiche!) Fortunately, the duo improves its Super Bowl pedigree by pairing the winning quiche recipe with a championship-caliber Holiday Smoked Pork, Spinach & Cheese Strudel.
"Super Stuffed Tenderloin"
Chef Paul restrains from stuffing Tom when the latter opts out of the day’s headline treat, due to his allegiance to an adopted cow named Opie. Instead, Chef Paul stuffs his Roast Tenderloin of Beef Stuffed With Fired Peppers, Spinach & Goat Cheese, and serves it with Duchesse Potatoes. Chef Paul calls the tenderloin “wonderful.” Tom says the potatoes are “pretty good.”
Compliment or not, Chef Paul is honored when Tom labels him a great “harvester.” Inspired by his new moniker, Chef Paul creatively “Americanizes” the French classic Pork Normande into Autumn Pork Sauté with Apple & Butternut Squash "Haystack" & Dried Fruit Pilaf. The “harvester” also shows how to use butternut squash to craft a “haystack” for the dish. Tom (with his extensive culinary background) declares it to be “the best haystack harvestfest” he’s ever experienced.
"Catch of the Day"
Even though Tom casts a wary eye toward Chef Paul’s seafood menu of Smoked Salmon Radiatore and Farmer’s Market Ratatouille with Pasta and Sautéed Tilapia, the cooking neophyte does impress the experienced chef when he defines Ratatouille as a French stew. However, Chef Paul isn’t impressed when Tom admits that he only caught “a couple suckers” during his few personal fishing expeditions. Overcoming such a startling admission, Chef Paul manages to reel in a winner with his two tasty fish dishes.
Ever the courageous duo, Chef Paul and Tom go out on a limb and proclaim that their modern-day version cheesecakes will taste far better than history’s first – made in 776 B.C.! They make good on their “daring” pledge, whipping up a sumptuous Caramel Apple Cheesecake and a tasty Peanut Butter Cheesecake. While the decadent desserts may be sinful, Chef Paul assures that confession and penance will not be required.
The presence of leftovers and tomato soup raises fear that Tom has seized the kitchen for his idea of an appetizing show: Grilled Cheese and Canned Tomato Soup. Fortunately, those fears are quelled as Chef Paul continues to control the range and limits Tom’s involvement to stirring two mouthwatering creations: Oven Roasted Tomato Soup with Stilton Cream and Creamy Winter Squash & Leek Soup. At last report, Tom was still looking for saltines.
When asked to select a food item that originated outside the United States for the day’s menu, Tom suggests ice cream, which was first developed in China. To the delight of everyone’s palette, Chef Paul has more international flavor and highlights a taste of India with Chicken Vindaloo & Raita. Tom likes the dish; but when the spices hit and he starts to sweat, he wishes for that ice cream.
"Lots of Lamb"
Tom shudders when Chef Paul demonstrates how to incorporate forcemeat into a luscious recipe. Meat lovers rejoice (and Tom is forced to watch) as Chef Paul uses forcemeat in his Roasted Boneless Stuffed Leg of Lamb served with Wild Rice Pancakes. Chef Paul declares the lamb dish is “magnificent.” Tom can’t offer an opinion; he just eats the pancakes.
Not satisfied as only master of the kitchen, Chef Paul tries to master the art of matchmaking with relationship-igniting dishes. While Tom's idea of love food is a box of chocolates and some potato chips, Chef Paul has a grander plan with Oyster & Champagne Stew with Valentine White Truffle Toast and Sautéed Apples with Walnuts, Nutty Crêpes & Sheboust Cream. After tasting the dishes, Tom proclaims Chef Paul is good enough to be cast as the ship’s cook on "The Love Boat" if the TV classic is revived.
"Mushroom & Meat Combo"
With a well-earned reputation for ordering his meals by the number, Tom hands the ultimate compliment to Chef Paul when he labels the day’s combo meal “number one.” Chef Paul avoids blushing long enough to make Sautéed Veal with Mushroom Cream along with a Wild Mushroom Strudel. In the end, Tom is visibly disappointed when he realizes that no fries come with Chef Paul’s combo.
Tom impresses when he reveals that today’s Cajuns are descendants of the 1,600 French Acadians that the British forced out of Nova Scotia in 1785. As his reward, Chef Paul allows Tom to stir a few minutes longer than usual. Despite Tom’s “expanded” cooking role, the end result is unforgettable as Chef Paul produces Chicken, Sausage & Oyster Gumbo along with Pineapple Bread Pudding & Maple Sauce. The dishes are so good that Tom nibbles on them off-camera!
"Grub on the Grill"
While Tom feels lost around the grill without his usual veggie burgers and baked potatoes, Chef Paul is right at home with some of his favorite grilling grub: Grilled Swordfish, Char Grilled Thai Pork Loin and Mediterranean Bread Salad. Chef Paul insists that it was “just a coincidence” that smoke from the grill constantly blew into Tom’s face after Tom classified Chef Paul’s food choices as “grub.”
Grilling is common (80% of Americans do it at least once a year) but goat cheese is not, argues Tom. However, Chef Paul turns a deaf ear and grills the ingredient anyway. The result is a fabulous Tomato and Mesclun Salad with Dill French Dressing and Toasted Chevrai Cheese served with Grill Smoked Turkey Breast with Sun-Dried Tomato Olive Tapenade. Tom questions his luck when asked to taste the Chevrai cheese but, to this day, he remains thankful for that nearby Grilled Smoked Turkey Breast.