Marcel's Quantum KitchenEpisodes

Sink or Swim
Season 1 - Episode 104
Sink or Swim
Watch Full Episodes in Syfy Rewind

Surf legend Steve Walden is coming up on his 50th anniversary shaping surfboards, and his girlfriend, Brandy, wants to throw a party to celebrate. They decide that the way to go is to bring the luau to Steve's surf shop. Steve invites them surfing, and Robyn, who grew up in Hawaii, is a natural on the board. Marcel? …not so much, but he does find inspiration.

As they towel off and head out, Robyn carefully raises the subject of the tension in the kitchen at the last party. Marcel is shocked to learn that Jarrid and Devon might hold any ill will, but he calls a cooking family meeting and awkwardly apologizes. Jarrid and Devon accept, but warily.

At the kitchen, the team brainstorms a killer menu: inverted poi – i.e., taro chips with a spam dip; poke, or raw fish salad, where Marcel will freeze tuna and serve it shave ice-style; lomi lomi made with amadai (a fish that is delicious fried); short ribs cooked on hot beach rocks with pineapple sauce flowing from volcanoes (built by Jarrid); and "fauxconuts" – coconut espuma frozen in the shape of a coconut in a balloon – for dessert. Everyone works furiously to make successful dishes, but time is tight and they'll be making some of the courses for the first time on the night of the party. To add to this stress, Antoinette, the party planner, hates the volcanoes. Hates them, as in, thinks they look like "elephant dung." Not a good start to the evening.

The night gets worse when the guests don't realize that the spam "poi" is meant to be consumed, and worse still when the shave ice machine rattles like a cement grinder. But the guests are delighted with the poke and the opihi, a kind of shellfish, in an edible shell. And when the oil goes missing from the kitchen, the guests are none the wiser, distracted by the surprise arrival of Steve's daughter and her infant son, whom Steve has never met!

The oil is found, and the amadai is a hit. Next comes the short ribs, and everyone is nervous both because of the heat of the cooking rocks – 500 degrees – and because no one knows whether the pineapple sauce will flow from the volcanoes. The hot rocks land without injury, but the volcanoes do not deliver. Rather than being a theatrical phenomenon, they are simply weird lights on the tables. (The short ribs are still delicious.)

But the team isn't out of the weeds yet: Injecting the coconut espuma into a balloon to make the fauxconuts is not working, but Marcel keeps his cool and comes up with a Plan B: they'll inject the coconut espuma into ladles and dip them in liquid nitrogen. His cooking family give him props for teaching this skill without flipping out. The desserts are served, and Steve ends his evening with a heart full of love and a belly full of delicious, innovative food.


Tell us what you think about your favorite NBCU programs by becoming a TV panel member.