Quickfire Challenge: Create a dish using Maryland blue crabs. Andrea's crab salad is considered too weighty, Amanda's gelee is "out of balance" and Kevin's chowder doesn't have enough crab, so those are the bottom three. The top three are Ed, with a Thai-inspired dish, Kenny, who made a trio of crab-infused dishes, and Angelo's Asian-influenced broth. The winner is the one who best showed off the crab, and that's Ed. It's awesome, because Angelo feels threatened, since Ed beat him at his own Asian game.
Elimination Challenge: Work in one team to create a meal for a group of organic farmers using local ingredients. They have to produce six dishes, so it makes sense to split up into pairs, and they just go with the same teams as the last challenge (only after Angelo and Kenny fight about it for a while). Everyone is happy except for Ed and Tiffany, who wanted to ditch their partners and hook up (apparently in more ways than one). And yet somehow, even though they worked in pairs, each chef has an individual dish? I found this part very confusing; maybe when I rewatch, it will make more sense.
Amanda: Country vegetable minestrone with smoked tomato broth, which the judges find difficult because the vegetables aren't uniformly cooked, mostly because she cut them poorly.
Stephen: Farm salad of balsamic onion, egg and apple, with a cabernet vinaigrette and garlic dressing. Padma finds it wet and heavy, and Tom gets all worked up over the bruised lettuce. But seriously, you're making a salad, and you didn't have time to go through and pick out the best lettuce? What else did he do? Chop some apples and eggs? Is that really cooking?
Kenny: hot and sour curried eggplant with peppers and carrot tops served with Kevin's broccoli couscous with lemon zest. Kevin had originally made cauliflower couscous but Tamesha knocked it off the table so he had to regroup at the last minute. The judges like the pairing, though they disagree over the heat on the curry.
Tim: roasted turnips and asparagus with honey, which the judges find kind of blah. If you're going to make a dish that simple, it has to be perfect, or at least you have to add some interesting flavor combinations or SOMETHING. A sauce, an oil, one of the dreaded foams. Something.
Tiffany: collard greens with Swiss chard, turnip and chanterelles in duck broth. The judges think they are undercooked, especially given Tiffany's Southern background.
Andrea: garlic and five-spice rubbed grilled pork loin with shallot-apple balsamic jus. The judges love it, and also love Kelly's five-spice roasted apples and beets. They think the pork is cooked perfectly, which is good, because Andrea had to cut it in four pieces at the last minute to make sure it got cooked.
Angelo: ginger grilled duck breast with oregano honey, served with Tamesha's cherry compote, red wine balsamic vinaigrette, and grilled asparagus salad. The judges like the duck but think the asparagus was bland.
Alex: Provencal beef tenderloin with ratatouille, served with Ed's ratatouille with eggplant, summer squash, and tomato. It was kind of weirdly labeled, but I assume Ed made the ratatouille in Alec's dish. The judges think the beef was good, but didn't really understand the pairing.
Kelly: For extra credit, Kelly made a strawberry-rhubarb crisp with basil scented whipped cream. The judges were impressed.
The top four are Kevin, Kenny, Andrea, and Kelly, which is funny because they were the worst (that didn't go home) last week. Just goes to show that the challenge last week was poorly designed. It's one thing when ONE person goes from worst to first, but all four? The ultimate winner is Kenny for his sweet and sour curried eggplant.
The bottom three are Tim, Amanda and Stephen. Tim is, as always, surprised that they didn't like his dish. He just thinks he is awesome, and yet he has been in the bottom a lot. Anyway, the judges found his dish bland. They thought Stephen made a conceptual error in serving his salad in a bowl, and his dressing overwhelmed his salad. They thought Amanda's minestrone was amateurish, and she just comes off as dumber and dumber every week and really needs to learn to close her mouth once in a while. Not close it as in "stop talking" (although that wouldn't hurt), but she just stands there with her gaping maw and it makes her look really stupid. Ultimately, Tim is told to pack his knives and go, mostly because his dish was just boring and made no impression. Kind of like Tim, to be honest.
It's the time of the season where the cheftestants realize that this is a contest, and thus various people are going to leave. And they might have kind of liked those people! And now they're gone! Standard reality show fare. Next up, someone will point out that it's a double-edged sword because they're sad when people leave, but also happy because they're that much closer to the finals. Calling it.
Oh, this is gross. Angelo has become a role model to Tamesha. Hey, remember when I said Angelo was married? I notice he isn't wearing a ring. So either he's not married or he is but doesn't wear a ring or he's divorced or something. I don't know why I thought he was married. Because he has kids? Apparently, a part of me is from the 1950s, where only married people had kids. That's true, right? No kids were born out of wedlock back then? And if they were, they were either destined to become criminals or immediately sent to orphanages (and became criminals)? That's what television and movies have taught me. You know who was an orphan? Annie. What was the deal with her real parents? Was she born out of wedlock? I feel like there is the opportunity for a retelling of the Annie myth, but darker, kind of like Wicked and the Wizard of Oz. Wait, what show am I supposed to be watching? Oh yeah. So Angelo is Tamesha's life coach all of a sudden and he clearly wants to get into her pants and their relationship dynamic makes me very uncomfortable, mostly because Angelo makes me very uncomfortable. He claims that she has "an inner passion" that she holds in, and he would love to extract it. GROSS!!!!!! He might be a performance art piece, because no one can say these things with a straight face, right? Dear Angelo: You are balding in the back and no amount of product can disguise that. Deal with it. Kelly rockets to the top of my favorites list as she points out that Angelo is trying to be Tony Robbins, but it also might be strategy on his part.
And in other couple-y news, Ed is hitting on Tiffany. She doesn't seem all that into him, though, based on her body language and how awkward their conversations are. Tiffany interviews that she likes talking to Ed because he's silly. I think he's just her temporary fake boyfriend until one of them gets eliminated, but he seems pretty into her.
The cheftestants enter the kitchen to find multiple giant bins of blue crabs, still alive. Padma welcomes them and introduces Patrick O'Connell, a DC restaurateur who specializes in seafood, I guess? He looks weird. He looks like someone famous. It'll come to me. Anyway, their challenge involves crabs. Angelo interviews that he had crabs, so it brought back bad memories. See? Performance art. If he had just cracked a smile at the end of that statement, it would have almost won me over. But I think he was totally serious.
Quickfire Challenge: Create a dish using crabs. Tim, the native Marylander, thinks he has this in the bag. They have an hour to cook. Everyone starts grabbing crabs, but I don't know if you know this -- live crabs will pinch you. And it hurts. Tim, the Maryland crab expert, just laughs at everyone for using their hands, since he knows to use tongs. Maybe he could have mentioned that to people ahead of time? Or does he think it gives him a competitive advantage?