CJ's opinion about Howie's mushroom tartlets is that they came out more like a mousse than a finely diced duxelle, and the result was all beige and grey and not good at all. Oh, man. I sort of have this feeling that Howie looked as his duxelle and reasoned, "Well, the flavors are all there, but it would actually be more, like, urbane to puree them all smooth, yuh know?" And all the puree did was muddy the colors and the thin shards of parm he's using as a garnish is muddying them even more. Hung observes, "Howie's mushroom duxelle looks like dog diarrhea." Oh, Howie, it does look like that picture in Once Upon a Potty -- that weird coil of poo that sort of looks like brown whipped cream and something that came out of no human bottom unless their toilet is a Sit 'n' Spin. In the galley, Howie tells Brian to taste his mushroom tartlets, so he can be sure that the team leader is happy with it. Brian tastes and mumbles through a full and hot mouth, "Thahs rul goo, Howah." CJ thinks Brian's not being firm enough with telling the other cheftestants that their dishes aren't good. Brian tells us that he "personally" knows that some of the dishes aren't as eye-appealing as he would have expected, but, he adds, "I'm the group leader here, what I'm really actually doing here is I'm facilitating -- I'm making sure everyone has the opportunity to succeed…or fail here." CJ says that when you're in Brian's position, you should be watching every single move anyone makes. Cut to Brian standing in the well of the galley steps and pointing at the various cheftestants and checking in with all their dishes.
The guests and judges arrive with no sign of Gail or Ted Allen. Instead, we have Food & Wine's editor-in-chief, Dana Cowin, and Padma in a powder blue top that looks like it went through a shredder because it contained OPSEC and NTK information about her divorce. Padma pulls the cheftestants upstairs and away from their cooking to make with the intros. Howie is the last to leave the galley, and I think he looks particularly peeved. I'm thinking that Howie basically gave up this episode. With the abdication of the Quickfire and the not looking Colicchio in the eye and what goes down and Judges' Table, I'm thinking he had enough of this competition. I don't blame him, I'm just noting it. Ew, why does Colicchio do a weird and smiley lip-lick and bouncy thing when Padma introduces him? Stop it, Colicchio!