“International Bake Off Season 1 on Netflix, Episode 6”

Episode 6: Soufflé Away! Delicacy and care are required in this ultimate test of skill!

Elon White stands beneath two enormous stuffed Grizzly Bears, Stuffed Wolves nipping the flanks of one and Saber-Tooth Tigers on the heels of the other. Behind Jeff Londing, now recovered from his scare at the hospital, and official spokeswoman for the VoBH (Vampires of Beverly Hills) Raleigh Simone, stands a stuffed Megatherium; the Giant Land Sloth.

The contestants stand behind their cooking station, the taxidermy corpses of five Quetzalcoatlus circling above them.

A large projector beams a hologram of a Soufflé into the middle of the room as Elon expounds upon the origins of the French food, its flaky crust and ability to hold different flavors both savory and sweet, and its brief stint in the field of medicine.

The timer begins and the camera pulls in close on Jenalee Wolland, who explains that she began her career as a soufflé baker in Liverpool. She flies through the steps with the ease and practice of a master, laughing as she tells her favorite story of the old drunk who thought her soufflés were what Americans called pretzels.

Sam Brown, momentarily confused, scraps the Pretzel he is making and consults an old, leather bound cookbook on how to make a soufflé. A Ghost reads over his shoulder, pointing out the footnotes She left in the margins to Sam. “No ghosts!” calls Elon from the other side of the room, and the ghost is escorted into the audience and given a glass of New York State Fingerlakes Riesling, talk of flavors of slate and stone fruit filling an audience made up of ghostly animals and real residents of Miami. Sam Brown looks like a Megatherium next to Jenalee who moves slightly slower than the speed of sound but fairly close, making one dozen soufflés before Sam even puts his in the oven.

Luke Bretzagalatzin mixes chia seeds into almond milk to make a chia pudding he plans on topping his soufflé with. As he bakes his soufflé he begins to suffer a nervous breakdown. The looming figures of the Quetzalcoatlus remind him too much of the monsters that haunted his childhood, flying figures of the dark that came for his family, taking their lives through their veins and leaving decaying husks behind. Luka begins to imagine his soufflé is his brother’s head, pouring the chia pudding on top to help heal his wounds. He places two coins where he imagines his brother’s eyes might be; payment for the soufflé to cross safely into death.

Adonis Letapolis hums as he makes his dough, an ancient, wavering melody that consumes the space around him and makes it glow with slight, soft, gold bands of light. He does this to calm his soufflé, bringing the chances of its trip into the oven a more even and easy affair.

Richard Rand fails his first attempt at dough and must resort to a magic spell he had tattooed on his arm years ago. It is his secret weapon as a baker; a spell that bends time and heat to the user’s needs, perfectly minute in its power and especially suited to baking. The green-black ink on his arm glows a silver-blue as he recants the spell, drawing magic from deep within him. Time warps around him in a haze and Rand moves like a dream; anyone who looks in his direction is wrapped in the spectacle, a feeling of exhaustion and nausea pushing them away, a self defense the magic discharges to keep the user safe.

As Richard Rand’s spell bends time, it warps the world around it, sending the stuffed beasts of antiquary into the past where they are no longer dead. They come alive with fearsome roars and howls, chasing each other around the room. They bump into one of the Samurai Statues and it almost crashes to the ground before the Megatherium locks it into a bear hug. The Megatherium begins to imagine the Samurai is its brother’s body; felled by hunters for its meat, the head ripped off and consumed first. It pours chia pudding on the statue to help heal its wounds.

Elon signals time up and the beasts take their seats next to the judges. Sam Brown’s soufflé is deemed passable, while Jenalee receives high marks for her amassed army of flaky goodness. Adonis Letapolis’ soufflé survives its delicate trip to oven and comes out better than Sam’s. Luka Bretzagaltin’s chia pudding was a divine stroke of genius; the Saber-Tooth Tigers are particularly enamored. The Quetzalcoatlus eye Luka suspiciously but enjoy nonetheless.

Richard Rand’s soufflé is the most perfect of all, but the magic spell he performed, obvious to all thanks to the now living creatures eating soufflé, renders him disqualified. “Unfair, mate.” He tells the camera as he walks slowly out the door, the camera focusing on his now empty station. Only four remain.

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