Marcel and his team have pulled off some menus requiring a lot of finesse, but will they be able to handle a group of straight shooters with a no-fuss style? They're gonna find out because Dave Marino, President of the Los Angeles Fireman's Relief Association, is throwing a party to celebrate his retirement from that post and thank everyone he's worked with along the way. After Marcel and the boys sit down for a meal with the firefighters (and play some firefighter games), everyone heads back to the test kitchen to work on the menu. And the pressure is on, because if Marcel wants to avoid another plate disaster, he's going to have to impress his party planner, Sasha, at the tasting in order to get her OK on using his plates instead of hers.
The gang has a super hot menu – and not just "style" hot, but actual flames! A langoustine cocktail with four different textures of sauce (to be served flambé tableside), deconstructed chili (a meat croquette atop a base of beans and veggies) with a choose-your-own heat option of chili gels on the side, smoked baby back ribs (with the bones replaced with an apple infusion) and a nine-component carrot cake built to look like a campfire.
But the only thing that's ready when Sasha arrives is the cocktail! Fortunately, she loves it, and Marcel gets to order his plates. The cooks, who have called in pastry chef extraordinaire Sally Camacho to handle the cake, cram to get everything done for the party.
With Marcel's luck, it's no surprise that the plates he wanted did not arrive. He's furious, and Robyn isn't going to take the blame for the botched order: she gets on Sasha's case and demands that she fix the situation. Sasha pulls some strings and gets the plates there on time, narrowly avoiding another Marcel temper explosion.
The guests go crazy for the langoustine cocktail, but Marcel and Dave are both worried that the firefighters, a meat-and-potatoes crowd, won't appreciate the fancy interpretation of the chili. But one taste, and they're hooked! Next comes the ribs, which Marcel and his cohorts have plated with bell-shaped lids that, when removed, release a cloud of fragrant smoke. And to top it all off, the carrot cake campfire is beautiful and delicious. The guests drift home, satisfied and celebratory.
Marcel and his team are also satisfied – they've impressed what may have been their toughest crowd so far.
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