Quickfire Challenge: Create a dish highlighting real ginger, and they only have fifteen minutes. Wolfgang Puck is the judge, and his least favorites are Sheldon's pedestrian stir-fry, and Josh's underwhelming dessert. His favorites are Brooke's caramel ginger squid, Stefan's tuna tartare, and Lizzie's watermelon ginger soup with fresh mint. Lizzie is thrilled to be in the top three after nearly leaving last week, but ultimately the winner is Brooke.
Elimination Challenge: This is the first part of Restaurant Wars. They have to create a dish that would represent their restaurant's concept for presentation at a Seattle festival. The two winners get to build their restaurants as executive chefs in part two. Here are the dishes:
Josh: His concept is a neighborhood bistro and his dish is seared eye of rib eye with cauliflower puree and mushroom red wine sauce. The judges like both the look and the taste, but think the steak is underseasoned. Tom calls it "comfortable and earthy."
Lizzie: Her concept is Northern Italian farmhouse kitchen, and her dish is mustard green canederli with fonduta and crispy speck. Are those all real words or did she make some up? Tom thinks it tastes good but it's a little heavy, and Gail compares the sauce to American cheese.
Sheldon: His concept is modern Filipino and his dish is sour tamarind soup with pork belly, shrimp, and snapper. The judges like the flavors as well as the presentation. Padma calls it authentic and elegant.
Stefan: His concept is German Thai and his dish is Thai lobster bisque with shrimp dumplings, potatoes, and radishes, and then a Bavarian cream mango lollipop. Gail likes the flavors but it needs herbs. Tom likes the concept but doesn't think the dish shows it off, and various people think the lollipop doesn't match with the soup.
Micah: His concept is raw food and his dish is salmon, snapper, himachi squid, scallop and mackerel with raw vegetables. The judges think it looks like a mess and Gail thinks there's not enough dressing. One judge points out that you can have raw fish when you have sushi, so what's the point?
Kristen: Her concept is classic French with a spin, and her dish is onsen egg with camembert mustard sauce and buttered radishes. The judges like the radishes and think the egg is cooked perfectly.
Brooke: Her concept is modern Jewish food and her dish is matzo ball soup with duck confit and toasted black rye bread. Her suggested restaurant name is Unkosher and one of the dishes she threw out to Tom was ham on challah. I don't know if she's Jewish or not, but I feel like that's a bit offensive? Gail likes the soup but not the matzo ball and everyone likes the bread. Tom thinks she should have used the rye bread for the matzo ball.
Josie: Her concept is Miami (I guess?) and her dish is pureco asado, black bean chorizo croquette, pickles and mojo sauce. As with the berry challenge, Josie struggles to get her food cooked and out to the diners. The judges think the pork is dry and flavorless, and that's a big problem.
The top three are Josh, Kristen, and Sheldon, and they announce that the two winners are Kristen and Sheldon, so we will be seeing their concepts fleshed out next week.
Sheldon and Kristen have to choose their teams without knowing who's going home. Kristen chooses Brooke, Lizzie, and Josie. Sheldon chooses Josh, Stefan, and Micah. They realize they chose women versus men.
The bottom three are Micah, Josie, and Lizzie. They felt Micah's dish was just a mess of stuff, and he should have carved to order. Lizzie's dish was too heavy and gummy. Josie's dish consisted of dry pork and a soggy bean cake. Ultimately, Micah is sent home because the judges didn't like his concept or the execution.
The morning after John's elimination, Josh mentions that he's pretty happy that John's gone. Stefan sits out on the balcony smoking and jokes that his morning friend is gone. I get the vibe that it was tough to live with John in the loft. If this were the type of competition where people didn't have to live together, maybe everyone would have tolerated John more. Or not. He was a huge blowhard and dipshit. As they all stand around, Josie yells, "Asians represent!" and laughs her stoner laugh as she points at herself, Sheldon, Micah and Kristen. Everyone just rolls their eyes. I wonder if the cheftestants could choose, would they have eliminated John or Josie? Who's more annoying?
The cheftestants arrive for the Quickfire Challenge and find Wolfgang Puck standing there with Padma. Brooke reveals that for her seventeenth birthday, she ate at Puck's Spago. Food nerd alert! Padma explains the challenge: use ginger to make something. Anything. It's a sponsored challenge, which explains the lameness. Oh, and they also only have fifteen minutes.
Time starts and everyone scrambles. Kristen has a really interesting technique: she puts ginger and other ingredients in a pressurized canister (like what's used to make whipped cream?) and the pressure infuses the ginger into the other ingredients. Sheldon is basically making a stir-fry, which seems a little lame. I mean, that's what I would make, although I'm sure Sheldon's is better, but it doesn't seem very refined. Things get frantic with one minute left but everyone manages to get a dish on the plate.
Wolfgang and Padma head to Josh first. He made white chocolate and ginger soup with fresh peaches and tarragon. Josie made seared scallop with ginger-honey yogurt and miso-ginger sauce. Again, I'm sure it tastes good but that's pretty basic and obvious. Wolfgang says that the scallop is nicely cooked. Brooke made ginger-caramel squid with fresh lime and chili powder. See, now that's unique. We haven't seen a ton of squid on this show where it seems like every other dish is a scallop. Lizzie made a watermelon-ginger soup with fresh mint. It looks like gazpacho. Micah made a ginger shrimp salad with radish, plum, ponzu vinaigrette and fried crispy ginger. Padma likes the addition of plum.
Moving on to Kristen, she made a shaved fennel-ginger salad with brie and tomatoes. She explains her technique with the pressurized canister and Wolfgang is impressed. Sheldon made wok fried ginger skirt steak with ginger and oranges. It's basically a dish from P.F. Chang's. Stefan made ahi tuna with lemongrass and ginger vinaigrette. Stefan speaks German to Wolfgang to suck up a little bit.