Some of the dishes' creators will be at the table for the challenge, and the original will also be prepared for a side-by-side comparison. Janine says she just about crapped her pants.
The next night, the chefs hit the Commander's Palace kitchen and the stress level is stupid high. I get stressed out using the microwave, so this situation would probably end me. Thank god I am not a James Beard Award Nominee, I say to myself daily.
Louis does not seem confident, and he is in charge of making sure the spices are on point for his trout team. Stephanie is also nervous, working on the biscuits for the strawberry trio. The only person who seems confident is Shirley, who is preparing the veal chops. But Patty is also on the veal chop team, so it probably won't go well? Also, they've got that overconfident Bret guy, who has elected to take the chops directly from the grill onto the plate. We are told this is a risky move.
The New Orleans high-end diners greet each other loudly and sit down to share stories of Commander's Palace history. The judges smile politely.
For the first course, Nina accidentally plated on Michael's plates and Michael is a dick to her about it. But, to be fair, Michael is a dick to everyone. He throws Nina's okra on the table because he's looking out for #1. What a turd.
The shrimp and tasso henican is up first. It seems like Bene hit the mark and Michael's is presented well. Travis's shrimp is not coated well and the tasso isn't integrated, whatever that could mean. Nina's shrimp works well but she didn't quite get it on the other ingredients.
The speckled trout is up next and Bret was in the way during plating. Tom says everything is under-seasoned, but they seem to agree that Janine's is the best of the four. They all look wrong and Nicholas's is just crazy, Louis's is overcooked and dry, Carlos is lacking seasoning. Meanwhile, in the kitchen, the chefs high five each other on a job well, done.
There's big trouble in veal chop land. The dishes come out and Brian's is the closest but his brussel sprouts are raw. Patty nailed the presentation at the very least. Shirley's veal chop is a bit over-done and while Bret got the sauce right, his plate is a big dumb mess. Judge Hugh Acheson says that, to be fair, the chefs don't have a lot of time. It almost seems like he and Tom will go back into the kitchen and test themselves with this challenge, but Tom would rather just sit and eat and pretend to laugh at all these weird New Orleans jokes.