Hung awoke from a happy dream in which the fish and animals happily played together with sugar plum fairies. Missing Tre, who he regarded as his only true competition, he awaited the new challenge with supreme confidence, knowing no one could touch him.
In walked the Bride of Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and a chef dude named Michael Schwartz. The pair handed each cheftestant ten bucks and the number of the grocery aisle in which they were to shop for ingredients. Howie, the carnivorous bulldog, picked the canned fruit aisle and knew he was sunk. Hung took one look at the cereal aisle and went ballistically ecstatic.
Speeding around like a kid hyped up on sugar, Hung was inspired by the beautiful, tasteful packaging. "We can have fun with this," he thought.
For each box showed more class than the last.
As Hung formulated his Quickfire plan he knew he would have a sure winner. All he needed to do was stay true to his inner kindergartner. He recalled why he went to cooking school in the first place: "In order to survive, my family had to eat. We ate every day. We loved eating. We know eating. We own eating. In fact we have a proud tradition of eating three squares a day, including breakfast."
And so Hung plunged into his new task with the beatific expression of the true food devotee.
Creating his smurf land, he imagined how much his fellow cheftestants would admire his genius.
Not realizing they were turning blue in the face from laughing.
No cutesy detail was spared, from the vegetable breakfast soup to...
...the treat that would provide an all-day roller coaster sugar ride for the judges.
But once again Hung's genius was misunderstood.
"What the f*ck is that sh*t?" asked Michael Schwartz. "You expect me to taste that?"
"Very whimsical," said Padma.
"Like your vest," replied Hung.
Choking on some blue cereal, Michael said, "It's very different."
"So's your shirt," replied Hung, who was as proud of his sartorial taste as his cooking skills. "Try tucking in it."
They batted insults back and forth until Smurf Land was demolished (for the judges hadn't had breakfast yet). Watching them head for Howie, who was busy committing Hara-Kiri with his canned orange upside down treat, Hung faced the cameras squarely.
"I had a judge that was close minded. But that's my lot in life. I need someone who's worthy of judging my talents."
You'll have your wish next week, Hung, when Anthony Bourdain gets to judge again! Maybe his witticisms and observations will inject some life in this show. My guess is that it's probably too late. No matter how many excuses Ted, Rocco, and Tom make in their blogs for the limited, impoverished, cheap, chintzy budget that Bravo provided for the elimination challenge, NO ONE IN MY UNIVERSE stints 60 upscale guests with a $350 food budget. Not when you're expected to WOW them. Sorry, that dog won't hunt.