'Rocco's Dinner Party' Recap: When in Doubt, Fry It

Terrance Brennan and Rocco DiSpiritoI love the last-minute challenges Rocco DiSpirito throws at the competing chefs in the final minutes before they're supposed to serve the guests on Rocco's Dinner Party. Just when they think they have their meal nailed and timed to the last second, he throws in some new challenge. Sometimes it feels kind of mean, but it's not all that different from what happens in real life when you're cooking for a group and the dog consumes your main course or you burn dessert and have to improvise.

Of course a famous chef usually doesn't show up in your kitchen with a bunch of fancy cheeses and ask you to figure out what to do with them like Terrance Brennan did tonight. One can hope though.

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The chefs selected their cheeses and set to work. When Corey, who "freakin' loves cheese" (was it me, or did he say "freakin'" about 1 million times?), mentioned he was going to fry his, Brennan almost took the cheese back, but it ended up blowing all the guests away during his country-themed dinner. The other chef competing -- Nicole -- served up mini grilled cheese sandwiches with a side of crimini soup, which was much less awe-inducing than the fried stuff. Chefs take note -- even fancy cheese tastes good fried.

The guests -- a particularly fun bunch that included Melissa Joan Hart and the hilarious Mo Rocca -- were treated to both a town and a country meal. Corey was country, while Nicole was tasked with the fancy town stuff.

Corey, the total overachiever, almost blew it because he tried to do too much -- even making homemade jam as a favor. I get it and have the same problem when I entertain, but as in most things, less is often more. He could have easily cut a few dishes and no one would have missed them. His mummy fried shrimp (shrimp wrapped in shoestring potatoes and deep-fried) was a huge hit, as was most of what he served. At one point Rocco said he kind of hated him for being so good -- a big compliment from Rocco.

Nicole, for all her bumbling and fire-starting ways, did better than I thought she would. Though her tuna tartare was blasted for being "so '80s" and a cliche, the sugar domes on her desserts impressed everyone. Best takeaway lesson from her meal -- ask how your guests like their meat cooked before serving them something that's bleeding.

In the end it was fry-happy Corey who won. He promised his tongue piercing enhances his ability to taste and season food, and clearly it didn't hurt it. Now where's my deep fryer ... I'm craving cheese.

Did you think Corey should have won tonight's episode of Rocco's Dinner Party?


Image via bravotv.com

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