The hungry masses arrive. Ashley says (again) that this challenge is hard because she's gay. To her credit she decides to try and put that aside to be happy for the couple... who are about to get wasted on Top Chef's dime. Mattin says that the girls are very hot, but he's too busy to flirt. Bachelorette Karen toasts to herself. Padma and the judges walk in. She's wearing this awesome blue short-suit. Is that a thing? I'm so fashion hopeless. It's like a one piece short and tank-top... whatever, she looks amazing. Also judging are Gail, Tom and Todd. They descend on the girls' tables first.
Robin made a Duck Mole with cocoa nibs and apricot to pair with the Golden Delicous shot. Laurine made a Moroccan lamb chop with pomegranate pine nut relish to pair with the same shot. Over at the Tequila table, Eve made a shrimp and avocado ceviche with smokey tomato salsa and popcorn. Jennifer made octopus ceviche (which she annoyingly still continues to call cee-veech) with citrus vinaigrette.
The judges take their dishes and retreat to their cabana. Eve's ceviche is up first. Todd plainly says that it was "nasty." Tom complains that she didn't learn her lesson from last week on cooking shrimp. Jennifer's paired well with the drink, per Tom, and had a nice bit of acid according to Gail. Outside the drunken bachelors are loving the octopus. Gail says that Robin's mole was nice and Todd says it is hard to pair alcohol with food. Um, that's the whole point of this challenge, Todd. It's supposed to be hard! Laurine gets credit for nicely cooking her lamb chop from Tom, and Todd, who looks a little buzzed from all the shots already, says it pairs nicely with "this" (pointing to the shot in his hand).
Ashley also had the tequila shot. She made a watermelon carpaccio with ricotta salata and aged balsamic on it. Then her dessert, a bay leaf panna cotta with cranberry powder and honey, pairs with the Moscow mule. Preeti's prepared coriander and sesame crusted tuna with spicy eggplant and a wonton crisp, on her shiso leaf. Jesse did a Thai chicken lettuce cup with shiitake mushrooms, shiso and ginger beer. It matches the ginger in the shot, and she's excited because the men seem to be eating it up and coming back for seconds. Oh what do they know? They are all drunk at this point.
In the judging cabana, Todd says that Jesse's lettuce cup had way too much going on, and it doesn't make sense with the shot (despite her putting ginger beer in the shot). Tom says that Preeti's dish was pedestrian and not professionally done, and Gail points to her sad shiso leaves that have been wilted in the sun. Gail gushes about Ashley's watermelon dish, but says that her panna cotta isn't her set. Tom says it is unfortunate that she made two dishes because one of her dishes was good.,/P>
Time for the judges to taste the guys' food and the Golden Delicious table is up first. Michael V. says that he made the same drink, but with fresh products for his apple sorbet and goat cheese cookie. Kevin made a chilled almond soup with king crab, cucumber and white grape. He put in extra cucumber to pair with the apple in the shot.
Tom says that Kevin's is delicious but wishes it were colder. Gail calls it lovely. Michael's goat cheese cookie is excellent and gets high praise all around.
At the tequila station, Mike I. Created artic char with smokey caper sauce and cara cara orange. Bryan made a sweet and sour macaroon filled with guacamole, corn nuts and a corn purée. I've watched his sequences over and over and I blame my unsophisticated palate because I still don't understand how exactly this is made, but it looks pretty. Ron, who I almost forgot was on the show this week, made a lobster cocktail with habanero tomato sauce. Hector made a tofu ceviche with guajillo-achiote tortilla for all the vegetarians. Thoughtful.
Todd says that the tofu ceviche is an interesting idea, and it has nice flavors. Gail says Hector did a beautiful job. Gail says that Ron's lobster had no flavor. Todd agrees; when he hears habanero, he expects heat. Mike I.'s artic char is flabby. Tom says it is one of the few dishes that doesn't match at all with the tequila. Gail likes Bryan's play on chips and dips. Todd says that meringues are tough to make, and gives him high praise.
At the Moscow mule station, Eli introduces his dish as "tuna tartare with some Thai stuff." Way to sell your dish, Eli. Mattin made a bouillabaisse with aioli crouton and petite basque croquette. Ash made an Asian chicken wing with pickled pearl onions. We see the classy bachelorette yelling across the pool that the girls are going to out drink them. Nice. Real nice.
Todd says that Eli's tartare matches the ginger in the drink, and Gail says it was seasoned very well. Padma says that Mattin's croquette wasn't good and Gail complains that the bouillabaisse was off with the drink. Ash's chicken wing makes Todd happy, and says he could eat them and drink that shot all day. Presumably when he's not on a national TV show.
After the judging and food is gone, the guys take off their shoes and chef coats and jump in the pool. Laurine says she was shocked and that she thinks people would rather see girls in wet clothes than fat boys. Mattin looks like he works out though, as he rips off his shirt (but leaves his little neckerchief on). Ash refuses to jump in; he's too mature for that, so he just drinks beer along the side. It's pretty hot outside. I'd have been in the pool too.
In the most pointless interstitial of all time, Mike I. informs us how he makes up nicknames for people. Like calling Eli and Kevin "the pickle brothers"... because they like to eat pickles. So they are like two pickles in some brine. OK... moving on. Eve's the ninja because she walks into walls. Jesse is pancakes (for no explained reason) and he can't say Preeti's name, so he just calls her Purty. He says people will get tired of him quickly. Oh, I already have.
The cheftestants all sit around the Stew Room, and Ashley says she had a fun time. I'm glad; she seems to have gotten her political stance out and then made the best out of a sucky situation. Good for her. Mike I. asks if the girls are bringing home the gold and Jesse says "like Michael Phelps." Then Padma thankfully comes in, puts a stop to the incessant chatter, and asks for Bryan, Hector, Eli and Michael V.
Judges' Table. Padma informs them that the guys won and that they were the best of the best. They start with Eli. Gail says that she's eaten a million tuna tartares in her life and that his had great acid and lots of seasoning. Todd thought the ginger matched well with the ginger in the shot and he did a great job. Todd tells Michael that he knocked it out of the park. Tom tells him that from concept to execution, it was great. Todd tells Hector that his dish could change people's minds about tofu. Tom is proud that Hector had the huevos to make the dish. Gail says that Bryan's macaroon just melted in her mouth. Todd says it was a play on what they all know and it was whimsical and fun. Todd says they loved all the dishes and it was a tough choice, but the winner is Bryan. That's one win for each brother today. Bryan's happy that he won an elimination challenge, even though Michael did get the $15,000 chip. Tom reiterates that they were four truly special dishes and it is going to be a tough season.
Hector proudly tells the other chefs that Bryan is the winner, while Eli is stuck telling Eve, Jesse, Preeti and Ashley that they have to face the music. Laurine moronically asks if that means that the boys won. Hmm, given that this show follows the same format pretty much every week and Padma said that the winning team would have the winning chef and you just found out that Bryan won, yeah, I'd say they won. This is not hard or confusing at all.
Padma says that Jesse's dish was very watery, and Jesse says that she put in ginger beer. When Tom asks her if she included actual ginger, she shakes her head, but looks like she might cry as she says she didn't want it to be too gingery. Tom says th