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!
Back downstairs, the cheftestants get their hors d'oeuvres ready for service. Upstairs, mini-skirted and fat-lipped fashionistas sip white wine and mojitos. Esteban arrives with a lady he's clearly not sleeping with, and Brian starts their appetizer countdown. Finally, hors d'oeuvres are plated and some chick in sparkly black tells the camera, "We're off to sea! Woo-hoo!" as the unseen crew casts off. Yeah, "off to sea," my ass. You're going to tool around the quiet bay to make sure no one hurls on Esteban's Travolta lapels. You want "off to sea"? Go join Sig and his crew. That's "off to sea." I don't know why I'm so angry about that -- oh wait, maybe it's because I MISSED OUT ON MEETING SIG IN FRIDAY HARBOR THE PLACE MY FAMILY'S BEEN GOING SINCE 197-friggin'-8! I love Deadliest Catch like a Shakespearean sickness.
My good humor is somewhat restored when Brian calls attention to himself (intentionally this time) by yelling that all the hors d'oeuvres are ready for the guests' consumption and possible regurgitation. Listening to this, Esteban moués a glass of white wine. He doesn't look like an "Esteban," he looks like a "Merle." In retrospect, Brian tells us, "I had the 'bright' idea to announce to the entire boat that the hors d'oeuvres were available." Esteban pouts, "Let's go get some hors d'oeuvres," to his arm candy, who is more interested in getting another drink. Brian realizes that his announcement may have been a mistake because they got pummeled with people.
Sara tells Padma and Dana about her "beautiful savory tomato bread puddings" with basil cream and balsamic. "That is NICE," Padma mumbles over her mouthful to Dana. "Oh, good!" Dana exclaims. "That's MINE!" Sara squawks. Dana laughs as Esteban gives her the stink eye and wonders why she's getting all his camera love. Dana takes a bite. "It's so…savory and niiiice," Padma says. Yes, Padma, it's savory bread pudding. Can you say "savory"? I knew you could. More hors d'oeuvres are served, and Brian goes back to the galley saying they need more food. Esteban turns hunchily to Padma and creels, "Is there going to be more stuff?" I don't know why, but I had a sudden flash of Colin from The Secret Garden demanding that Mary Lennox entertain his not-really-invalided self. "I know," Padma says and then announces, "Esteban is asking if there's going to be more stuff -- " Sara, putting out another full plate of hors d'oeuvres, assures that more stuff is on its way. Meanwhile, Esteban has already turned his short attention span to Casey, who is trying to bivouac the crowd with her Damned Chinese Soupspoons of carpaccio. As Esteban peers hungrily over his shoulder, some random asks Casey if what she's carrying is her dish. Casey tells us that before you could even make your way through the crowd to the actual serving tables, people were landing on you and beaking up all your food, "It was really rough and I get really annoyed with chaos." Casey goes on, "I'm that person when somebody is just really not getting down to it, that I can't handle that sort of chaos and I'm going, 'SOMEbody make a decision.'" Why don't you make a decision, drama queen? Sara explains Brian's tomato-ginger-ahi-poke, which has ginger (duh), shallots, tuna (double duh), some tomatoes (major duh), and a little soy. Padma takes a mouthful and makes a face. Standing next to a barely listening statuesque blond with a gold Grecian band in her hair, Michael calls back to Sara, "Who made that, Chef?" Sara tells him it's Brian's. "Brian," Michael states and turns back to the blond, "Tastes like wakamai prepared seaweed." I'm thinking that's not so good, Al. Hung presents his and Dale's apple and chicken curried salad on crostini and his own smoked salmon mousse on cucumber with Meyer lemon and salmon caviar. Michael asks who made the hors d'oeuvres. Hung claims both, but when Michael says, "Oh, you did?" Hung amends his statement and says that he and Dale did the chicken salad together, but he did the salmon mousse.