Quickfire Challenge: They pair up (Susur and Rick, Jonathan and Marcus), and each has to cook a recipe from their partner's cookbook. Halfway through cooking, they are told to stop and create a soup that keeps the integrity of the original recipe. James Oseland chooses the winner: Marcus wins for cooking a chicken tortilla soup based on one of Jonathan's recipes.
Elimination Challenge: The chefs get the night out to go see the Groundlings improv show, and they are given phrases based on audience suggestions, and have to cook a dish for the Groundlings cast.
Rick's phrase is "red, anger, bacon," and he makes pork loin, poached oysters, bacon and spicy kimchi cream. Rick screws up with the sous vide and his pork is partially undercooked, and Jay feels that it was underseasoned.
Marcus's phrase is "salmon, pleasure, violet," which sounds like a porno. He makes confit of salmon with caviar, shrimp and sake. Gail thinks the salmon is perfect.
Jonathan's phrase is "burnt sienna, depression, avocado," and he makes mesquite grilled chicken breast, French fries, yams and avocado with grapefruit. Everyone agrees that it is good, but no one is blown away.
Susur's phrase is "peanut butter, chocolate, lust," and he makes chocolate mousse with coriander and caramel-peanut butter mousse, with a chocolate crumble. He plates it to look like a vagina, which turns some people off. And yet, the entire table falls silent while eating it because it's so good.
Marcus wins the overall prize, and he and Susur are the top two. Jonathan kind of gave up, and he also had shitty phrases, so guess what? He totally loses. I don't think he wanted to be there any more. I actually think that happened like two weeks ago. So the finale is Susur, Marcus and Rick. I'm rooting for Rick. When did that happen?
And then there were four. The four remaining chefs (Susur, Rick, Marcus, and Jonathan) file into the kitchen to find their own cookbooks displayed on a table. Of course, each of them has a cookbook out. Probably multiple cookbooks in some cases. Kelly reminds them that this is the last round before the finale, as one chef will go home this week and the other three will move on to the final round. Rick interviews that he's dying to make the finals, and I believe it. He is the most openly competitive of the chefs, I think.
Quickfire Challenge: Kelly tells them to pair up on their own. Susur seems a little worried about it, but Jonathan interviews that he loves pairing up because he likes collaboration. That says so much about those two chefs, right there. They end up just going with who is standing next to each other, so it's Jonathan and Marcus, and then Rick and Susur. Rick interviews that he looked at the cookbook display and noticed that everyone else had their face on the cover, but his cover has "a big old hunk of salmon." That is interesting, and I would love to know whose choice that was. Rick's or the publisher's?
Kelly explains that in this final Quickfire, each chef will be following a recipe from his partner's cookbook. Rick is a little worried about having to recreate Susur's food, because it's so complex. James Oseland will be judging the food. Kelly explains that they've chosen recipes and provided ingredients, and they have ninety minutes to cook. I understand logistically why they pre-chose recipes, but it would have been interesting to see what each chef would choose if given free rein.
Marcus interviews that he hasn't won any Quickfires, and he'd like to win at least one. Marcus discovers his recipe is Jonathan's crispy chicken and goat cheese burritos, and he vows to bring his own background into it. Kelly didn't say much about how much leeway they will be given, or how they will be judged. Like does it matter if they go completely off-book? Does the dish have to be basically the same as the recipes with some embellishments? I'm confused. I need more rules. I like rules. Jonathan interviews that he and Marcus are very different, stylistically, and he envies Marcus's ability to draw from so many different cultures. The recipe Jonathan was given is a chicken curry with vegetable fritters, but he wants to make it less spicy because that's more his style.
Rick flips to the recipe he has to prepare, which is seared scallop wrapped in pancetta with garlic mussels and Szechuan-style eggplant. Wow, that seems complicated. Rick interviews that as the king of ADD, he has trouble following a recipe, and while he's good at seafood, he's not even familiar with some of the ingredients on the list. I love that the editors cut to a bag of frozen something with Chinese characters on it, like, "See how crazy this food is? They don't even make it in English!" Susur is making roasted red mullet with Tunisian sauce, and he's worried that there aren't pictures. Because it's not an episode with Susur unless Susur's complaining about how something is unfair to him. Well, he might have a point here when he says that he doesn't read English well. Kelly also didn't discuss how much the chef/author can help the other chef. Couldn't Susur just ask Rick to talk him through it briefly? Then again, we don't know how they're being judged, so it may not matter. I kind of hate this challenge. I like the idea of it, but the actual challenge is bugging me.
When they are halfway through cooking, Kelly walks in and changes things up. They now have to create a soup from whatever recipe they were working on. I guess now it even makes more sense that the production chose the recipes because some recipes would not convert to soup very well, right? And at least now we know what they're being judged on -- how creatively and well they converted their original recipe to a soup.
They all take off running into the pantry to get their new ingredients. Marcus has decided, since he can't really do crispy chicken in a soup, to add crispy tortilla strips. Susur is making a fish soup, Tunisian style. He decides that the foundation of his dish is the sauce, so he's going to start there. He puts the sauce in a blender, smells it, and tells Rick that this is a good recipe. Rick, meanwhile, is converting his recipe to a cioppino or fisherman's stew. Susur says that it smells exactly right, and Rick is pleased that Susur gave him a compliment, since he's usually pretty stingy with those.
Jonathan is making a chicken curry thai basil soup, and he says that it's not fancy but it's something he would eat on a winter day. It does sound pretty delicious. Marcus tastes it and says that it's great. He doesn't mention that it's not spicy enough, even though Jonathan talked about taking some heat out.
Time is up, and Rick worries that he might not have put enough broth in there, but he ran out of time. Jonathan's chicken Thai curry soup with Thai basil is first. James notes that it's very thick and tastes good, but it's kind of mild for curry. Marcus served chicken soup with crispy tortilla chips and avocado goat cheese guacamole. He went nuts with the tortilla strips -- the strip to soup ratio is like 1:1. James calls it "a city of tortilla chips" and says that it's really good, and he loves the lime.
the next to go is Susur's Tunisian fish soup with olives, capers, white wine, cumin, and coriander seeds. That's kind of the whole recipe in the title, no? Like do you have to list every ingredient? For dinner last night, we had flank steak with a balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic, onion, and Worcesterhire sauce marinade. Can't I just call it marinated flank steak? Jeez, Susur. Rick realizes that he'll feel bad if Susur does his recipe and it tastes bad. James tastes it and says it's good, but it's not quite a soup. It does kind of look like a hunk of fish with some sauce around it more than a soup. Finally, Rick serves his scallop, mussel, and pancetta Asian-style cioppino. Again, with all of the ingredients in the title. James says it's beautiful, with a lot of ingredients, but he wishes for more broth. Rick is kicking himself because he wanted to put more broth in but ran out of time.
The chefs assemble in the kitchen to hear their scores. Jonathan got 3 stars, and his reaction (and his interview) shows that he thinks that sucks. Rick got 3.5 stars, but he knew he should have used more broth. Susur got 4 stars, so he's the current leader. Marcus is last. Did he beat Susur? He got 4.5 stars, so he wins. Everyone congratulates him, and he's happy, but he wants to continue winning money for his charity.