* The quickfire itself was a great idea – finding out what can the chefs do with a limited set of ingredients, especially ones where they need to bring flavor or overcome a bad texture, is the perfect construct for a fast challenge. But making them struggle to open cans? What’s the point of that? Just give them can openers so they can spend more time cooking and less fighting to get to the ingredients.
* It does make me wonder whether the chefs would be allowed to carry emergency kits on them of, say, essential seasonings or even packets of things like soy sauce. Would using those be considered cheating on a quickfire?
* As always, take my comments in the appropriate context, since I never tasted any of this food. That aside, Lindsay’s dish looked awful – was the taste gap between hers and Edward’s (which the judges also liked, and which looked like real food) that big to overcome his enormous advantage in presentation? Not to mention the idea that using Vienna sausages successfully was some sort of inherent advantage for Lindsay – she couldn’t be penalized for it, but I can’t see giving her bonus points for it. Edward took subpar ingredients and made something almost upscale. How does that not win?
* Chris J. running for the cornfield should be played every week for sheer comedy value. It would have been funnier if the producers had hidden, say, a cooler full of sushi-grade tuna in there.
* Nouveau riche gets a bad name in the elimination challenge, especially with the wife of the first couple, who hates all food that tastes like anything. I’ll give her a pass on the cilantro, but bell peppers? Or food that might give people bad breath – so no onions or garlic? Some smart-ass chef should have just made her a plate of boiled chicken. If I had that kind of money, I’m not sure I’d be in a rush to show it off on TV anyway, but these people made it worse by showing the self-awareness of a sea cucumber. When you’re rich, people want to hate you. Don’t encourage this.
* And by the way, I might be out on a limb here, but do you think Gummi Bear Husband’s wife might have married him for his money?
* Excellent point by Edward that pleasing the specific couple at whose house they were cooking was by no means sufficient – the chefs needed to please all of the guests, and as it turned out, really only needed to please the judges.
* Speaking of which, Tom’s laugh and facial expression after an inane comment by one of the bottle-blonde wives might have been the funniest moment I’ve ever seen on the show. He could have said, “Wow, what a dim bulb that one is” and it wouldn’t have been as derisive. All the money in the world can’t buy you taste, I suppose.
* To the woman who thought Edward’s dish was “jiggly looking” … maybe because it’s set with gelatin, sweetheart.
* There were no entrees among the winners group – two appetizers, two desserts. Paul’s fried/roasted Brussels sprouts with grilled prosciutto (and, I believe, sliced peaches) isn’t up on the site (yet?), but did sound excellent, if a bit safe – cabbages and cured pork products are a pretty natural and obvious pairing. Dakota’s banana bread pudding with peanut butter cups sounds and looks amazing, and I really thought she’d win for succeeding where so many chefs fail – on dessert. I’m concerned that Sarah is going to get Fabio’d – if she can’t answer a challenge with something from her Italian repertoire, she’s hosed.
* Elimination: I think Chris C. may have had the worst plate – he certainly seemed to be on the bottom of Tom’s list – but I’m really uncomfortable when a chef on this show is sent home because s/he failed at a dessert that s/he was forced to make (as opposed to a chef choosing to do dessert). Chris J. got killed for making a “cigar” with “ash” … I thought it looked cool, but was surprised he used collard greens (which are tough and fibrous and require long, slow cooking) instead of seaweed on the outside. The judges talked so much about Ty-Lor’s messy plate that I wasn’t clear on whether the food itself tasted good – although having the judges question your knife skills augurs poorly for your future on the show. Chuy overcooked salmon, then tried to justify it; overcooked meat generally gets you sent home on this show, and overcooked fish is even worse than overcooked meat. Plus salmon and goat cheese doesn’t sound like an appealing combination to me – although I admit that I never pair fish and cheese at home anyway. I thought he was one of the half-dozen most talented chefs on the show, but that’s a pretty big mistake to make.
* LCK: I was torn here, since it seems like both guys are talented and I would have liked to have seen both stick around on the main show. Chuy referred to Tom as “the Puff Daddy of steak.” I don’t think that’s the compliment he intended for it to be.
* Final three: Paul seems to me like the runaway leader right now. Despite his appearance in the bottom four, I still think Chris C. is a contender – he’s got a different vision than most of the other chefs and, other than dessert (which he said up front was a huge weakness for him), he executes a lot in a short period of time. Edward would be the third choice if he doesn’t go all Chris Snelling and end up in traction. Am I wrong to think Dakota is too fragile to win this thing? The judges pretty consistently like her food, and the improvisation with the milkshake cup was huge, but I feel like she’d burst into tears if she stepped on an ant. I think she and Nyesha are in the next group.