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Three chefs are taken out of the comforts of their kitchens and forced to work under extreme pressure to win $10,000.

Recaps by Chico Alexander, GSNN

Host Marsh Mokhtari
Creator Craig Plestis
EP Craig Plestis
Tim Puntillo
Packager Smart Dog Media & Mannahatta Productions for Food Network
Origins Various locations in SoCal
Web foodnetwork.com/
Airs 10p ET Thurs, Food

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Mexican Showdown
July 28

Another three chefs will be thrown out of the kitchen and into the fire for a shot at $10,000.

Today's venture into the extreme takes us across the border into Mexico, where we meet these three...

Gina Keatley
New York City
head chef/founder, Nourishing, NYC
Jason "J" Harley
Brooklyn, NY
executive chef/owner, Pici Enoteca
private chef, Southern Passion

EXPRESS CHALLENGE: 25-Minute Insect & Scorpion Breakfast

Create a mouthwatering appetizer using some very lively ingredients. These ingredients may seem strange, but they are delicacies in Mexico... crickets, mealworms, and scorpions. Use each one in your dish. The winner will pick up a useful advantage in the next round. You will have access to a locally-sourced pantry.

Amadeus is making a sofrito, going to make his bugs as crunchy as possible. Gina is making an insect taco trio. J is making an insect ragout.

Today's judge for this challenge... food critic & author of "Eat My Globe" Simon Majumdar ("The Next Iron Chef").

- AMADEUS: "Huevos Nana" - Scrambled Egg with Sofrito
- GINA: Mexican Madness Taco - Sauteed Insect Taco
- J: Insect Ragout with Pineapple Tomato Salsa

WINNER.... J! His advantage... in a moment.

EXTREME CHALLENGE: Mexican Fiesta Meal

Run to the edge of town where you will find a pantry of traditional ingredients including three types of meats - chicken, ground beef, and pork belly. Get your ingredients and utensils back to town using donkeys located 50 yards apart.

Because J won the Express Challenge, he gets to take the closest donkey as well as give an opponent the furthest one. He gives the furthest donkey to Gina.

Gina's donkey turns out to be the least temperamental. She ends up with the beef. J gets the pork belly, leaving Amadeus with the chicken.... which he forgot to grab on his first trip.

Gina is the first one back to the tables, beginning on a cowboy beef chili, using that plancha grill to her advantage. J is going for a crispy pork belly with tamarind sauce.

Joining Simon on the sidelines... cookbook author and Food Network star Marcela Valladolid ("Mexican Made Easy").

Meanwhile, Amadeus is still trying to work his donkey. He ends up with chicken with a negro frijoles sauce.

Everyone's working smoothly... can't have that now, can we?

X-FACTOR #1: Create a dessert inspired by the churro. Your ingredients will be inside random piņatas on the edge of town.

It's a Mexican birthday party as we look for sugar, flour, and cinnamon. J is the first one back, going to make a cinnamon spice cookie using oil and agave. Amadeus is going to make a fried elephant ear. Gina returns to start working on an Italian-inspired cheesy churro, served with caramelized plum.

Next ... un otro equis!

X-FACTOR #2: Create another dish using a Mexican staple, the tortilla, making them by hand. The masa and the tortilla press are in the hacienda.

J... is screwing up so many tortillas that he's running out of dough. The other two have no problems with their tortillas. Gina wants to use the tortilla cold, using it as "rice" in an avocado sushi. Amadeus is making a citrus-roasted chicken taco. J is making a pork taco with salsa.

The chefs are starting to plate up, and some of them haven't even started to plate their desserts.

Ten second.... five... four.... three... two... one... TIME!

- GINA: Tortilla Avocado Sushi, Cowboy Chili with Chorizo, Cheesy Churro.
- J: Pork Taco with Tomato & Corn Salsa, Crispy Pork Belly with Orange Tamarind Glaze, Cinnamon Cookie with Strawberry Papaya Salsa
- AMADEUS: Citrus-Roasted Chicken Thigh Taco, Hibiscus-Marinated Chicken with Black Bean Sauce, Cinnamon Pancake with Peach & Kiwi Salsa.

Okay, first of all, you never serve a tortilla cold. EVER. J is definitely staying, having done restaurant quality food in a rustic setting. The presentation of Amadeus' chicken was horrible, but the flavors were there.

ELIMINATED... GINA. The "avocado sushi" was hands down the worst dish of the day.


This will be the biggest dish you'll ever make... and also the smallest. One spoonful... $10,000. The four ingredients - skirt steak, chayote squash, dulce de leche, and pepitas - are in the store with your pot... hidden... alongside a limited pantry. You must use all four.

You are 20 minutes from $10,000.... GO!

Amadeus starts on a crusted steak with chayote salsa, while J is doing... more or less the same thing... with a pepita salad.

And for the first time ever, the Showdown Round will have...

X-FACTOR #3: Did someone say mariachi?

Each chef will have a festive band... annoying them.

Amadeus has smeared his steak in the dulce... Why? And he's also using whole grain mustard. Again... Why?

- J: Chili-Spice Crusted Steak with Chayote Salsa
- AMADEUS: Grilled Steak with Dulce de Leche Crust

J's dish could've used a little more heat. Amadeus' meat is perfectly cooked, and the use of mustard made the difference. J's dressing was consistent, but he was heavy handed with some ingredients.

And the winner of $10,000... and the title of Extreme Chef today... AMADEUS! It takes a second to sink in, but once it does, he has no problem shouting it to the rafters.

Next time, another three chefs and another three rounds... and maybe someone will lose a donkey.

To see extras from this episode, visit the show page at foodnetwork.com/extremechef.