Colicchio praises the first dish as "whimsical, fun," while Daniel likes the "thought process of combining many surprising flavors" and feels that it was "the most professionally-executed dish." Ted is even more impressed that they could accomplish all of that with "the subtlety and refinement of a first course." For Colicchio, the summer roll suffered from "the fishiness of the fish" (time to slap your employees into line, Spike), and the fact that "the garnish on the side just had no connection to the dish at all." The pasta gets a middling review from Colicchio, who enjoyed Mark and Ryan's evocation of A Christmas Story. Wresting control of the discussion cum monologue from Colicchio, Padma asks for feedback on the lamb, but Colicchio won't let go, panning the lack of "vibrant colors." Daniel manages to add that it wasn't very "fiery," and the comatose aspects on the movie suddenly seem appropriate. He also weighs in on the final dish, saying that Lisa and Stephanie "did a very good job of punching all these combinations of flavors," while Colicchio pronounces it "flawless."
Manuel's worries that their dish was "too simple," while Zoi feels confident in her effort, which everyone tasted and said was delicious. Uh, pasta salad, anyone? See y'all at the judges' table!
Padma summons Richard, Dale, Andrew, Lisa and Stephanie, and doesn't hesitate to offer her congratulations since there's no doubt that these are the winning teams. Hugs abound as Colicchio praises them not just for their dishes, but also for the connections they made to their chosen films. Nice to that the judges actually care about the "concept" of the challenge this time.
Daniel is curious who "decided to take the risk of putting chocolate in the first course," and Richard pipes up that it was his idea. It was such a big risk, confesses Richard, that he was worried his team would be on the losing end, which is such bullshit -- Richard clearly has the chops, intellectually and technically, to compete extremely well, but his self-congratulatory attitude masquerading as modesty is terribly annoying. He knows how good he is -- he doesn't have to be a dick about it, but show some confidence and lose the false humility. Daniel and Colicchio eat it up, though, with Colicchio loving "such a strange combination you just kind of look for ways not to like it," and Daniel adds that "the wasabi was the element to lift the dish" -- another Richard touch. Ted liked the faux caviar, so Andrew gets his share of the credit. "The right balance done with such precision," sums up Tom, and the judges move on to the Top Secret! team without a shred of interest in Dale's contribution.