It has been more frequent to have mediocre Keyakitte Kakenai episode, where the girls just stand here answering Tsuchida and Sawabe questions. So it is natural to celebrate more “dynamic” episode like this one, the cooking battle. Actually, this episode taste even better when we grasp the details.
First, the dishes. I was pleasantly surprised at all the participants technique. When it comes to food, there’s the taste but also how you show it. It’s even more true with japanese, who are very strict when it comes to packaging (do you remember the grapes in a box with 3 layer of plastic?). Ishimori nijika show great skills in aesthetic, typical of japanese style with many small plates to eat.
Soup, rice, vegetables, and one plate of meat. Sawabe says “balance is good” referring at how healthy everything looks. Your usual homecooking would put salt directly to the chicken, but here Nijiki simply put the salt on the side, and hope for small tomatoes to give flavour to the chicken. Vegetables are steamed, and seasoning is also on the side. In the restaurant they often put lot of sauce in veggies so it’s easier to eat. I want to praise Nijika for being “health-aware”. Also, she had fun being teamed up with Fuyuka.
I would have put more points for the originality (she cooked a red bean paste, which is sweet). However, it was a failure. it has been argued that sweetness doesn’t come well with vegetables. Legit question, but having sawabe and Neru making hengao (weird face) seal nijika fate. By the way, Neru is also a great cook. She could have participated, but i’m glad management tried otherwise giving highlight to members like nijika and nanako. We don’t see them in charge that often, so let’s grab this opportunity.
Suzumoto cooking skills were known since Keyakitte kakenai early days when they had to prepare something to sawabe and tsuchida as introduction (Shida manaka made pudding, Yurina beef with green pepper), but this time she was directly in challenge with other member, and her “hate to lose” character showed up as well as her majime character. It’s nice to see her cook with confidence, even being snarky with sawabe when he was questioning if her tandoori chicken was overcooked. There’s no place for amateurism here. For once, Oda was also very focus, making with suzumon a great pair (i was worried she would pull the same scene as their hangout)
I personally think her serving is slightly subpar to Nijika, but she blowed the competition with the taste. During the introduction i thought “the cheese is not cooked” but actually, it was, inside the bread. Using whole tomato slice, fresh lettuce and melted cheese, it’s always a killer. Bread dripping with sauce making the chicken juicy, hosts were in awe. Suzumoto also cared about balance making starter, main dish and dessert. Props to fresh yoghurt : easy to make, visually appealing, and healthy.
I think Suzumoto earned extra points explaining a “concept”. Here she explained what inspired her, what was the direction of her dish. It sounds obvious, but it gives food for thoughts to those who see eating as an experience. You enjoy much more your food when you picture yourself eating with your girlfriend, in a picnic. Bingo!
I’m 100% sure it was producing team that wanted berika to appear in the cooking contest. Ponkotsu as she is, maybe they were expecting her to burn even pasta in boiling water. But actually, she was tasked simple things by Naako and managed to really be of a help, like baking crouton bread and slicing vegetables. Where she shined, was when she expressed her dorkiness honesty to taste good looking food, making her embarassed face toward naako a funny moment. Despite being 21, Berika still act like a kid and we love it.
I was amazed how well Naako put a fight with Suzumoto regarding cooking. Her dishes visual felt like real restaurant, she really follow the italian theme, showing the melted cheese was mouth watering, and the strawberry syrup shaped like hearts was a genius idea.
On top of that, she offers a true dining experience, scratching parmesan in front of client and mixing the salad. It’s really effective. To be honest i feel that this current episode didn’t gave her enough credits for this. She was a fair match for Suzumoto. Sawabe face after the dessert says it all. A minor default, was probably to not have better explained her dish as well as Suzumoto.
This episode was great because it showed side of the members we didn’t know much, and how they think. It showed that the girls put a lot of heart in what they do, they do like to be praised when doing a good work, and that you don’t need high cost production to make enjoyable episode. Also it follows japanese culture, as they are famous for their cooking show. Maybe you have notice, but Nijika was wearing a traditionnal outfit of female japanese cook (what mothers wear when they cook), Naako was wearing a red scard like italian chef does, and suzumoto was dressed like a real french chef, with her toque. Those little details give heart to the episode. Congratulation Suzumoto for winning the challenge, fair and square.
As a bonus, here’s the trailer of the japanese TV show that inspired many others in the world, and of course this episode (Sawabe observing chef cooking idea was from this show 🙂