The home cooks on Wall of Chefs go through the ringer to earn that $10,000 grand prize. Not only do they need to prove that they can cook, but they need to bring creativity and flair to their plates in order to impress an entire wall of chefs who do this for a living. Sometimes, that means taking a risk or two. Just ask these competitors from the inaugural season. They used some pretty controversial techniques during their time on the show, but (surprisingly!) it worked out for them more often than not.
There wasn’t a chef on the wall who wasn’t puzzled when Chris put popcorn into the blender to make his own special batch of polenta on the series premiere. But, not only did it wind up being delicious, the chefs agreed it was some of the best polenta they’d ever had.
Corn flakes + lobster
How do you elevate a lobster dish to the next level? If you’re Wall of Chefs contestant Chris you make your own tempura batter and add in a beloved breakfast cereal. The lesson? Don’t knock it before you try it. The corn flakes added that extra creative crunch that catapulted the home chef to a $10,000 win.
45-minute pizza crust
Making dough can be a great way to destress and unwind (check out these comforting baking projects if you need ideas) when you’re not under a time crunch, that is. When Joe attempted to make his own pizza crust in the final challenge, it fell apart at the last minute. The home cook was then forced to ditch the dough and go with a backup plan instead, which may have ultimately cost him the $10,000 prize.
Homemade gnocchi in 30
Proper gnocchi takes time. After all, in order to achieve those pillow-like parcels of pasta goodness, they need to be properly rolled and cut to size. So when Joseph decided to whip up some fresh gnocchi for his crowd-pleaser, The Wall was worried. Luckily they really didn’t need be concerned though because not only did he pull it off, the dish was also a clear winner.
Mary didn’t intend to undercook her shrimp during her episode, but when the clock ran out she stacked them on top of her hot broth instead and hoped they’d just sort themselves out. Turns out they did. While the crustacean were still slightly undercooked, the chefs didn’t deem them a fail.
Everyone knows that biscuits are always best fresh out of the oven, which is probably why Chris decided to whip up his own to serve with his bison burgers. Unfortunately the final product was a bit clunky due to the biscuits’ mismatched sizes, but he still got a big old “A” for effort.
Rack of lamb in 30 minutes
Hands up if you’ve ever roasted an entire rack of lamb. Now keep those hands up if you’ve ever done it in under 30 minutes. What, no one? Jason put his fellow competitors to shame when he pulled out a perfectly cooked lamb for his crowd-pleaser dish, easily winning over the entire wall of judges with that impressive feat (or is that feast?).
No problemo poblanos
How did Jason elevate his mac and cheese to the next level? By stuffing it into poblano peppers and pushing the clock to the max by roasting them, of course. The peppers weren’t as prettily presented as they might have been, but any chefs on that wall who were concerned about the veggies not being cooked all the way through were definitely worried about nothing.
Doubling down on lamb
When the home cooks were asked to present a protein two ways, Cindy tripped herself up by grilling both of her lamb portions instead of changing up the cooking method. It was a gamble to be sure — the chefs certainly commented on it — but in the end, her taste won everyone over and she still walked about with that $10,000.
The best part about ramen is the broth — that deep, umami flavour that takes time to make. So to whip one up in 30 minutes? That’s a tall order. Yet Crystal was up to the task in her delicious crowd pleaser dish; to say that it impressed The Wall would be an understatement.
Desserts are rarely something contestants like to see on cooking shows, but Bee was all-in when she attempted to make a custard in her final round. Still, although she’s made the sweet treat many times before at home, the custard broke and she wound up serving the chefs sweet scrambled eggs. They appreciated the effort though, and applauded the fact that she tried.
How the sausage is made
If you’re going to present a sausage dish as your best dish, you want to make sure the sausage in question is good quality. That was Jeff’s thinking when he ground out his own sausage for his crowd-pleaser, impressing the entire wall.
Double fried… tenderloin?
Pork tenderloin is a juicy cut of meat when treated properly. The trick to achieving that perfect cook? Letting the meat rest. Narida forgot that rule when she cut right into her tenderloin in the final round, and then backed herself into a corner when she threw the rounds into the deep fryer to finish them off. Needless to say they were way overcooked.
Dijon mango sauce
Brook proved she had an excellent grasp of flavours, but she may have lost her head a little during the second round. Her lettuce wraps were perfect for the merguez sausage she was supposed to incorporate, but adding mangos to the salad before whipping up a Dijon dressing almost cost her the competition. Almost. In the end, she managed to come back in the final round for a win.
A man with a million ideas
Adam came out to play with his international menu, and The Wall seemed excited when he announced he was making a saucy carbonara in the final round. But then the home cook diverted from his plan and switched to a weird rosé sauce before scraping that and deep-frying some cheese instead. He was trying to impress but it became clear this home cook was too tied up in his head, and it wound up costing him $10,000.