Sesame Street Saturdays: "Dinner: Impossible" Appearance Review

This past Wednesday, Sesame Street’s Cookie Monster, Elmo, and Maria appeared on a special Sesame themed episode of the Food Network show “Dinner: Impossible.” Our good friend Ed Castle comes to us with his review of the special!

Chef Irvine’s B Dinner

Ed Castle (The Count at Muppet Central Forum) – If you’ve been keeping up with recent Muppet developments, then you know that this year marks the 40th birthday of the happiest street in the world. Yes, this year Sesame Street turns 40! Well, the folks at Sesame have been throwing party after party leading up to the season premiere.  First, there was the annual Sesame Workshop gala dinner.  After that, we were treated to a special episode of Food Network’s popular Challenge series featuring four unique Sesame character inspired cakes.  And the latest one was a similar special episode of the channel’s Dinner: Impossible program.

In Dinner: Impossible, Chef Robert Irvine is given a culinary challenge, most often he has to prepare a certain minimum number of dishes in a certain time limit often styled into various themes.  This episode was no different as Robert and his team were whisked off to Sesame Place to prepare dinner for 250 of the park’s visiting guests, including children and their families.  María (Sonia Manzano), Cookie Monster—which Chef Robert kept calling “The” Cookie Monster—and Elmo, along with a Muppet letter B told him what this mission would be…  The tag-line was that this mission would be brought to us by the letter B.  Well, in true Sesame fashion, I’d add “and by the number 3.”

First of all, the mission was that Robert could only use primarily ingredients and dishes whose names started with the letter of the day, B.  After brainstorming an initial menu, the cooks grabbed María and went shopping.  It should be noted that the monsters are hysterical when given a chance to ad lib.
B: Be quick!
Elmo: Be careful!
Cookie: B-cause me hungry!

Secondly, Chef Robert discovered the next part of his challenge; having to cook all the dishes for his dinner in two kitchens: Sesame Place’s indoor kitchen area, complete with kitchen sink and alarming ovens; and an outside kitchen whose amenities were sorely lacking for Chef Robert’s taste.  Frankly, I kind of feel that Grover should’ve been part of this special.  After all, who else on Sesame Street has more experience being a waiter, going near and far from table to kitchen hollering for Charlie to fill his orders?

Third, about halfway through the hour-long program, Elmo and Cookie threw the cooking team a curveball. Since they love their shapes at Sesame Street, even their foods must conform to these guidelines; which is why they demanded Chef Robert make one of three dishes in the shape of a circle, a square, and a triangle.  This was probably to get revenge after both Elmo and Cookie had to leave the kitchen.
Cookie: Me banished from kitchen, what disgrace.

Chef Robert, in a fit of Kermit exasperation asked them why they were doing this.  The answer…
Cookie: Easy not good television.
Irvine then pointed a loaded cucumber at the duo before Cookie shielded Elmo.
Cookie: Me take bullet for you.
Yes, we must save the little red fur-ball from this mad British Chef!  In the end, Robert decided to make triangle burritos, square burgers, and round bagel pizzas.

As is often the case in this show, Robert went through his kitchen calls where he found out missteps after the shopping trip, such as leaving a bag of brown rice. He soon began barking at everyone when he finds out how much time he has left continually dwindling down—a problem all of us procrastinators share. He put his hosts to work by having María unwrap, skewer, and fry pieces of bologna. He grew more and more frantic every time he realized he hadn’t started a dish, such as the B-Bash Beverage. Though the banana and berry smoothie was a good idea, us Sesame fans would have suggested birdseed milkshakes instead.

In the end, Chef Robert and his hardworking staff got everything finished and plated on time. The guests all seemed pleased with the dishes they got to sample.  Elmo himself was surprisingly pleased after tasting the specially-made Brussels sprouts made with bacon and onions, as I equally suspect Cookie Monster was with the big butterscotch cookies. The monsters had one last surprise for Chef Robert, reminiscent of the pranks Oscar used to play on Skinny (María) herself.  Fans of Dinner: Impossible will consider a throwback to when he and guest chef, Guy Ferreri, made dinner for a summer camp in a previous episode.  This was a great show, demonstrating that even the gang at Sesame Street can host fun parties to celebrate what’s shaping up to be a landmark 40th anniversary.

Final menu:
Blueberry Bisque

Buffalo Mozzarella & Bell Pepper Salad

Hors D’œuvres:
Bruschetta (tomato basil, portabella mushrooms, calamatta olives)

Side Dishes:
Bacon Brussels Sprouts
Baked Beans

Bagel Pizzas (round)
Balsamic Bass
Barley Pilaf
Boneless Buffalo Wings
Bowtie Béchamel Bolognese
Bratwurst burgers (square burgers; circular buns)
Brie Blackened Chicken Breasts
Buckwheat Bologna
Burritos (triangle)
Butter-poach Brisket

B-Bash Beverage (banana berry smoothie)

Big Butterscotch cookies (round)
Birthday Cake with “Happy Birthday” written in chocolate
Bread Pudding Brûlee (square)
Butter Orange Sauce

Besides the Muppets already mentioned, split-second shots of the Sesame Place walk-around characters of The Count, Ernie, and Grover were shown taking part in the parade.

Special thanks to fellow MC member D.W. McKim for extra information about the episode.

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