Gourmet Survivor 2004: The Final Challenge Fulfilled WITH A TWIST

Prepare to be surprised followers of Gourmet Survivor 2004. I know I was!

Let’s start at the beginning. A week and a half ago I assigned Michelle, Andrea and Nick their final challenge: prepare some kind of baked good (or anything that won’t spoil) and ship it to me. I will eat it and judge it. This will be your final challenge.

Time crept by. The due date was today, October 20th. And when I went to get my mail today there was only one package. ONE PACKAGE. So I said to myself, “Uh oh—two of our contestants have failed miserably. Who are they? What’s happened?”

And then I went upstairs and opened the package. I was greeted with this note (which I will transcribe below the picture so don’t hurt your eyes):

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Dear Amateur Gourmet,

All three of us, the remaining Gourmet Survivor competitors, felt we should do something special to commemorate our achievement. In order to celebrate and honor our success, we gathered together in your traditional ancestral home: Oceanside, NY.

There we creamed, beat and baked our way through one long, delicious Sunday afternoon. The results are what you hold in your hands now.

Thank you for making this possible, Amateur Gourmet. We look forward to the exciting finale.

Yours,

Andrea, Michelle & Nick

I flipped the note over and there’s a picture of all three competitors together in my hometown, Oceanside, NY:

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How did this happen! Who arranged this? Michelle lives in Seattle! Nick lives in Philadelphia! Andrea lives in…New York! Were plane tickets purchased to bake pastries? Were these people faking their whereabouts all along? Am I on Candid Camera?

While these questions have yet to be answered, I turn to the pastry. Presented in three lovely packages were an assortment of treats that I greeted hungrily. Clockwise from the top there’s: Michelle’s homemade cinnamon rolls; Nick’s “Cafeteria” brownies; and Andrea’s Cranberry-Orange Drop Cookies.

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Each package contained a note and pictures of the cooking process (which didn’t come out when I tried to photograph the photograph. Maybe Nick, Michelle and Andrea can link to their photos in the comments section?).

Michelle’s note read:

“Hi Adam–

Enclosed are two hopefully yummy homemade cinnamon rolls. For best eating results, microwave rolls for 10-15 sec and drizzle with icing (enclosed separately). The icing was shipped frozen and is cream-cheese based. It should still be cold enough to safely eat. Use your own judgment. Enjoy! Michelle.”

Here’s the cream cheese frosting which tasted fine:

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Nick’s note read:

“TAG,

Ya had to be there to understand how much I realize these are “cafeteria brownies.” They taste like them, look like them, and for all intents and purposes ARE cafeteria brownies. My shame cannot be expressed in words. Sincerely, NSA (nick)”

And then Andrea’s note:

“Cranpberry-Orange Drop Cookies (1 dozen)

The bread end is for freshness purposes only, please do not eat it. Enjoy it! Sincerely, Andrea.”

(She had placed a piece of bread in the box to keep the cookies fresh apparently).

So after recovering from the shock of this strange turn of events, and arranging the food on the plate…

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I sat down and began to eat judiciously. Meaning, I took bites of each item until I lost interest. I figured this final photograph of the plate post-eating would serve as an appropriate judgment on the quality of the food baked, packaged and shipped. It is no reflection on the gratitude I have for all three contestants for the huge effort they put into this. It simply reflects what I thought tasted good:

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With that done, now, it’s time for you–the Amateur Gourmet reading audience–to vote off either Nick, Andrea or Michelle. Once that’s done, the two remainders will write a mission statement of why they want to be Gourmet Survivor 2004 and then those who’ve been voted off in the last nine rounds will vote on the winner.

Sound good?

So ready set vote, America. And thanks, once again, to Nick, Michelle and Andrea—you’re all survivors in my heart.

33 comments

  1. In the spirit of fairness, I’d just like to point out that you, the commentors, are voting for who LEAVES in this round, and not for who stays.

  2. I’m just not a fan of cream cheese stuff on cinnamon rolls…so I’m going to say Michelle needs to go.

  3. Alas Nick, I can’t consider anything that comes out of a cafeteria (or at least none of the ones I have been to) as gourmet food…. I vote for Nick.

  4. sory AG but this round sure has turned out pretty lame.

    nick has to go. i agree with previous post: how is cafeteria-style anything ever suitable for any self-respecting gourmand?

    shouldda been out a long time ago: nick

  5. This is SO COOL! I can’t believe they traveled and did this together. Just shows the spirit of TAG is infecting all of us. Next we’ll all be taking TAG-led tours to visit all ther other contestants, a large motorcoach showing up at Harry’s place in Israel.

    I have to wonder if Nick is sacrificing himself here (guilt?), but I have to vote for him to go. It’s getting tougher because all of them are just great and show wonderful creativity and I will forever remember Nick’s Taco Lou’s entry. This has been so much fun to follow.

  6. How neat that they all met up and did their baking! I’d love to hear more about that – I’m sure it would be an entertaining post for whichever one wants to tackle it, hint, hint.

    Since the brownie appears to have only one bite taken out I’ll vote for Nick to go this time.

  7. Nick, you have won our hearts with your entries, but cafeteria brownies lurk in all our childhood memories as quite possibly the worst dessert in elementary school, especially when they were served up with those greasy gross grilled cheese-whiz sandwiches.

    Congrats on a game well played and well staged, Nick.

  8. My vote goes to Michelle – her rolls look so yummy, I just had to hit the candy corn to get a sugar rush to go with the picture!

  9. Karen, if you LIKED Michelle’s thingies the best, why did you vote her off?

    I don’t like cranberry orange stuff. So my vote goes for Andrea.

  10. nick, you can save yourself by admitting that the recipe was from the alice b. toklas cookbook. confess!

  11. I’m not voting (because I haven’t been following this, so I don’t think it would be fair – I’m an AG reader, but I missed the boat on the Survivor game).

    BUT, I just wanted to say that I think it is freaking awesome that three blog readers in a cooking/shenanigans contest who live in three different cities got together in person for a day of cooking. I’m stunned. I feel warm and fuzzy all over and am now assured that there is hope for humanity.

    Oh, and I’ve GOT to hear the full story on how that came to be.

  12. It’s particularly upsetting that Nick, who doublecrossed fan favorite Harry in the last challenge, didn’t even submit a real entry this time around. What a jerk. Take a hike, Nick.

  13. Let’s go ahead and clear the air about something.

    One: As regards Harry, that’s how the game is played. You don’t kiss

    ass to the fans, you play the game. If you’ve watched the show, you

    know the game, you know what to expect, move on. Thanks for playing,

    oh wait, you didn’t.

    Two: I didn’t submit a “real” entry? How in the hell does that make

    any sense? How is my entry less real than the others? Clarify,

    please.

    Three: I didn’t *INTEND* to make cafeteria brownies. Here’s what

    happened. I made brownies per a recipe I’ve had moderate success

    with. Cocoa, flour, eggs, butter, sugar, salt, all in there. I

    didn’t mix the flour in well enough and they tasted floury. For the

    sake of not having them stick together, I wrapped them individually.

    I tasted the last one to see if they were worth submitting, and they

    tasted like the ones I had in middle school. That they were wrapped

    in plastic wrap individually added to that, and that’s all there is to

    it. For those of you who weren’t there (I believe that’s all minus 2

    individuals), THAT’s the situation.

    You people have managed to completely suck the fun out of this entire venture.

    PS – this isn’t about losing – I never expected to win. This is about snarkiness and the Peanut Gallery.

    Thanks,

    NSA

  14. Aww, Nick, don’t let them get to you. I still enjoyed your contributions and your humor. That’s the internet for you. I guess AG readers are harder to please than the more compassionate voters at hotornot.com. I do think people are being a little crueler than necessary though. Take heart, however—you made it to the Final Three and they’re just jealous. Now will somebody tell me how it is that you guys all got together? Please, someone. I’m desperate to know. Thank you.

  15. This whole thing is actually an amazing series of freak coincidences.

    The truth is, Michelle and I have been practically non-genetic sisters for over a decade. Before the game started, we also sort of knew Nick, and naturally struck up an alliance when we were all accepted from the scavenger hunt.

    A couple of weeks ago, Michelle and I were talking about what we could do for her birthday. “Hey, come visit me!” I said, in jest.

    “Actually,” she said, “MAYBE I WILL.”

    She happened to have some time off around her birthday, and so… she did. It just so happened that this was the same week that we were down to the Final Three. And it just so happens that I live in Oceanside, New York, where the Amateur Gourmet spent his early childhood. We fretted about how to conceal our shady goings-on from the masses. Especially when Michelle would be cooking in my kitchen.

    Finally, “Screw it!” we said. “Let’s just have on massive coming-out and throw it in everyone’s face!”

    But how to do it? The ideas flew like pigeons. Or something. The only thing for it was to have Nick drive up from Philadelphia to join us. This did take significant cajoling, because Nick was justifiably a little wigged about meeting us Creepy Internet People. We did not cook and eat him, however, despite his fears to the contrary. He would have been to large to mail to the AG and spoiled in transit. Michelle did get to punch him, though.

    We thought about inviting the Amateur Gourmet to preside, but didn’t want to negatively impact his grades. We thought about all stopping by to drop off our goods in person, but a subtle query revealed he would not be home.

    We even thought about all making a single recipe, and sending the Amateur Gourmet three packages from the same exact batch. Ultimately, we settled on the One Package.

    I’m sorry it’s not as exciting as it might have seemed. But MAN, as Internet practical jokes go, this was a doozy. ;)

  16. It’s a GAME. So nice that people realize that. Unfortunately, I guess that every group has a couple of bad apples. It’s hard to understand why people are obvoiusly getting more upset about Harry’s ouster than HARRY HIMSELF. Harry understood it was a game, knew he was the fan favorite, and got voted out. Although it looks like Nick will be voted out here, his game play was actually brilliant. Did he betray alliances? Yes. That’s what happens on Survivor; why should something based on the show be any different?

    Then again, I may just be feeding the trolls here. Ah, well.

  17. That alliances burn people isn’t new. Villians betray pseudo-alliances all the time. It is indeed a game. But on the television show Surivor, the contestants don’t know each other and weren’t friends for ten years before the competition. Alliances aren’t born even before the game starts. Something smells.

  18. So basically the game was rigged from the beginning, no matter how good the entries from the other contestants. They didn’t stand a chance against an alliance of three people who were friends from before. Naturally AG could not have prevented this and there are no rules against it, this revelation from Andrea, Nick and Michelle leaves a sour taste.

  19. Well, it couldn’t have been rigged from the *very* beginning. AG picked the contestants himself, he had free choice. It just so happened that he picked two friends. I’m not seeing the problem, here.

  20. I’m not seeing a problem either. Unless someone paid AG $1000. Hmmm….

    But seriously, each contestant submited an entry for each round. There were a couple of clues pointing to an alliance between Michelle and Andrea in later rounds if people were paying attention. (Nick seemed like a wildcard hence why I’m guessing Harry struck up an alliance with him and if only to save his own butt). There were also plenty of missed opportunities to vote Nick, Michelle and Andrea off.

    Let’s recap…

    Scavenger Hunt: Both Michelle, Andrea and Nick make the cut. Because everyone is in different locations, it’s not like they got together to gather scavenger hunt items. AG picks them to play.

    Round 1 (History): Dallas gets immunity. Nick’s entry was LATE. Nick and Amanda receiving 0 immunity votes has to post their cast-off vote publically. Amanda is voted off the kitchen island.

    Round 2 (Biology): Judge Jermey presiding; Fae gets immunity. Nick submits his entry to Jermey instead of to AG. He survives and Catherine is voted off.

    Round 3 (Where the Streets Have No Names): Harry gets immunity; public voting for contestants begins. Fae is voted off. *sniffle* From the voting, one might think that Harry and Fae have an alliance going.

    Round 4 (Fruit or Vegetable): Judge Clotilde presiding; DOUBLE Immunity protects Harry and Dallas. Both submitted yam entries yet Nick and Michelle manage to survive. Wendy is voted off the island.

    Round 5 (Convince People You Love to Eat Food They Hate): Harry gets immunity. It looks like everyone has an alliance but the only one I can confirm is Michelle and Andrea. They begin posting their entries from the same domain. (Clue phone is ringing!) Another twist of voting which results in Dallas getting voted off.

    Round 6 (Food Critic): Nick wins immunity. Many folks from the peanut gallery (myself included) voted for him. In public voting, Harry reveals an alliance between himself and Nick. Bye bye Harry.

    Round 7 (Food Goes Postal): Remaning three contestants come together on afternoon in Oceanside, NY to bake. From the looks of it, Nick is going to get booted for his brownies.

    And that brings us to the present time.. Perhaps this is just previews of “AG Survivor Exposed.”

    Regardless of the revelation of this latest twist, I’ve enjoyed reading this blog. So much so, that I would wait up on Tuesday and Wednesday nights for AG’s posts. It’s really sort of sad to see the snarky comments made by folks in the later rounds. It looks like Harry might be the most popular among fans but Nick looks like the winner among the AG:S contestants. (I’m waiting for his TELL ALL book). As for Andrea and Michelle, both are tough contestants for lasting as long as they did, alliance or not.