Rachael Ray and Guy Fieri have finished the first season of the Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-off. As the two-hour finale began, four celebrities remained: team Rachael's Taylor Dane and Lou Diamond Phillips and team Guy's Coolio and Joey Fatone.
For the semi-final challenge, team members cooked against one another, preparing a family style meal for their mentor's friends and family. The meal consisted of an entrée, a starch and a vegetable.
Guy's team went first. Joey Fatone chose to prepare chicken, linguine and clams and a cauliflower mash topped with vegetables. Coolio settled on salad with an apple, steak and cheesy bread.
The guests loved both meals, finding Joey's linguine and clams perfectly cooked and his cauliflower mash smooth and creamy. The only complaint was that some of the chicken pieces came out slightly dry.
Coolio's salad proved refreshing and the steak was tender, with layers of flavor. However, it was his cheesy bread that sold the meal.
Rachael's team went next. Lou Diamond settled on lamb lasagna and a chicken dish. His vegetable consisted of roasted kale.
Taylor made veal Marsala, polenta with sausage and broccoli. However, the broccoli didn't come out as planned, so she prepared a tomato salad instead.
Again, the judges loved both dishes. Taylor's polenta was a huge hit. However, her veal was too salty for some. The simple tomato salad proved a refreshing break between two hearty dishes.
Lou's chicken was perfectly cooked. His lasagna was so good, one guest proclaimed he'd eat it out of trough. The kale, however, did not stand out.
In the end, Coolio and Lou passed on to the finals while Joey and Taylor battled it out in blind taste test to win $5,000 for charity. Joey made a textured fried rice while Taylor went for matzoh ball soup. The winning dish was Joey's.
For their last Rachael vs. Guy challenge, Coolio and Lou set up their own restaurants, complete with decor, cooks and wait staff and menus consisting of two choices for each of three courses. To help them, teammates Joey and Taylor returned to handle the front of the house.
The winner would be decided by the famous rating team from Zagats. Based on comment cards from restaurant guests they'd assign a rating between 1 and 30, with the highest rating winning the competition.
Lou settled on the restaurant name of Blessings and chose soothing colors of blue and brown for the decor. Coolio went with the name Chez Cooly's and chose orange decor.
Coolio went first, serving oyster bruschetta and avocado tempura for appetizers. The judges raved about the latter dish.
For main dishes, he made his famous fall off the bone ribs and chicken. Both dishes went over well, but the judges particularly loved the spiciness of the chicken.
For dessert, Coolio made his famous lemon cake and cheesecake. The former was well received but the latter was not.
Unfortunately, the judges were not impressed with the decor. They didn't like the orange colors.
Lou Diamond went last, beginning with an off white salad containing poached pears and a crab Bloody Mary. Both dishes proved successful.
Next, came Asian inspired steak and prosciutto wrapped cod. Everyone loved both main dishes.
Last were desserts of lemon curd puffs and black forest wedding cake. They proved the perfect meal ending.
After tabulating comments, the Zagat team awarded Coolio's Chez Cooly's a 23 rating out of a possible 30. Lou Diamond's Blessings received a 28, making him the winner.
Coolio collected $10,000 for his charity. Lou Diamond Phillips collected $50,000 for Share Our Strength and the first win for Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-off.