Bridgehampton chef and former Dan’s Taste of Two Forks host Alex Guarnaschelli and actor Jay Pharoah offered color commentary and insights during a special Thanksgiving throwdown on last Thursday’s episode of East Hampton grill master Bobby Flay‘s Food Network hit Beat Bobby Flay. The 12th episode of the show’s 22nd season, “Gobble Till You Wobble,” was all about getting creative with Turkey Day fare.
Before Flay challenged his opponent for the week, accomplished, non-celebrity chefs Jason Bissell and Tirzah Love faced off in a 20-minute secret-ingredient challenge featuring corn bread, which Flay called “one of my favorites,” especially for Thanksgiving. Love won the day with her fried Brussels sprouts with bacon and brown butter sage cornbread, which Guarnaschelli said “made the cornbread a better version of itself.”
The Round One winner then posted up against Flay for the main event—turkey meatloaf.
Commenting on the choice, Pharoah said, “Turkey meatloaf is a great anytime dish,” while Guarnaschelli said it should have a “double ice cream scoop” of “hot, buttery, salty” mashed potatoes. She noted that meatloaf is typically prepared using ground turkey held together by pieces of bread soaked in in a little bit of milk, with a few eggs, before being roasted or baked.
Guarnaschelli added of her friend, “Bobby is dangerous. He loves Thanksgiving.”
While making his meatloaf with a cranberry, jalapeno and balsamic glaze, and creme fraiche mashed potatoes, mushroom gravy and a crispy piece of deep-fried turkey as a garnish, Flay concurred with Guarnaschelli, explaining, “Thanksgiving is my favorite day of the year.” Later, he told Pharoah that guests at his Thanksgiving table can expect “a lot of turkey, a lot of mashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts, cornbread, stuffing—that’s it.”
Meanwhile, Love delivered her meatloaf mixed with heavy cream and cooked in individual muffin cups—with whipped sweet potatoes and green beans. Guarnaschelli said both of the chefs’ creations smelled “stupid good.”
A trio of outside chefs then arrived to judge. None of the judges seemed thrilled with Flay’s addition of the fried turkey. One of them said it was a bit dry, while another noted it was “a bit gratuitous.” They liked the main course though, even if the presentation could’ve been better.
Loves dish, according to the judges, didn’t look like a meatloaf—because she had to break it up due to cooking time issues—but it was delicious and vibrant with some “unexpected heat.”
Still, Flay prevailed. Guarnaschelli said Love’s biggest mistake was to “never give the man ground meat for anything!” That’s probably sage advice from a woman who knows cooking and, of course, knows Bobby Flay.
As Pharoah observed, “He made that meatloaf with angel tears.”
You can watch this episode again on Food Network this Thursday, November 21 at 10 p.m.
Check your local listings for more episodes of Beat Bobby Flay, including the upcoming Season 23 next month.