「夜明け前の卵たち」 (Yoake Mae no Tamago-tachi)
“The Eggs Before Dawn”
Eggs again? Not that I mind (because I personally love eggs) but it’s ironic that Souma would be forced to use egg as the main ingredient again. Not to mention that Erina is literally everywhere this episode and even cooking beside him on the morning of. There’s no doubt in my mind that Souma would blow this challenge away; he’s creative and most of all, resourceful of what he has around him. Maybe I haven’t been to enough “fine-dining” hotels for brunch and breakfast, but I normally find that their eggs are just scrambled… or even worse, made out of powder (ever been on a cruise?). I often see omelet stations as well, but clearly no one is doing custom orders for this task. The first samples that Souma made looked delicious, but to elevate scrambled eggs can be a tough task. His vision of doing a soufflé omelet looked amazing and definitely much more unique than something like a frittata on a salad (sorry Takumi). That’s why it shocks me to see that he’s doing literally nothing at the end while Erina is done serving her 200 guests. How can that be?! What’s going on inside his head? Maybe he hit a roadblock – like how writers hit writers block – and suddenly he can’t find the inspiration to go on. I doubt it’s because Erina intimidates him; after all, Souma has so much self-confidence that it’s blinding. It’s probably some internal struggle that he’s having with his dish…
Souma’s poor performance was probably the cliffhanger and pivotal point in the episode, but a lot of other stuff happened too. Every other episode seems to introduce someone new for Souma to beat and challenge… and this week was actually Erina’s cousin – Nakiri Alice (Akasaki Chinatsu). This isn’t explicitly stated in the anime yet but I figured that people would’ve guessed by her surname and appearance by now. She does look intimidating (I think it’s the red eyes!) but not anymore than Kurokiba Ryou (Okamoto Nobuhiko) whose only job is to stand beside her and look tough? He’s probably less scary than he looks but still a worthy competitor when it comes to being a top student (then again, everyone is). I’ll admit that Alice’s egg dish doesn’t look the most appetizing, but who knows what happens next episode when we see crowds swarming her station. Maybe she has a lot of charm or personality to allure people to her? Or perhaps she steals someone else’s idea? No clue – but I’m not a particularly big fan of her right now. All she seems to do is walk around and talk smack.
Everyone else is doing fairly well at this challenge though. Megumi seems to have found her voice and is relying less on Souma by creating something more home-y and rustic. I love oden and her use of quail eggs rather than chicken eggs is ingenious! Takumi made a frittata… which I find less creative just because I make frittata as a way to “use up all the leftovers in my fridge”. I find it to be a cop out solution. Eggs benedict is another mainstream and typical breakfast item to me. Perhaps it’s because I live in America, but eggs benedict is such a common brunch/breakfast item here that I can’t imagine how it can be any better. It is what it is; even if you put salmon roe in it. Honestly, I can sit here and criticize the dishes that these students put out, but I would personally not do any better. When I think eggs, I think of baking – I can make soufflés for sure, or pate a choux or some sort of egg custard for dessert but that’s where my brain stops. I should give more credit to the mangaka, Tsukuda Yuuto (or Morisaki Yuki who provides the recipes to Yuuto) for even thinking outside the boundaries of typical cooking. Especially when you’re featuring dishes that aren’t just Japanese inspired, but French, Western and European. It amazes me that even though I love eating and I eat a lot of varieties of food, there’s still so much I have yet to see or try. Shokugeki no Souma is definitely an eye-opener.
P.S. I loved seeing the shots of Satoshi and Fumio randomly enjoying their alone time together. It’s like they’re saying ”Don’t forget about us!”