Spike's pulled together a Carpaccio of cucumber, tagliatello of asparagus, cucumber cup, and tournee of mushroom. It looks like the scallion curls perch atop some thinly sliced purple cabbage, but I can't tell -- most of the dishes appear to have several ingredients more than the ones mentioned in the official descriptions. "You definitely show the different skill of cutting and all that," says Daniel, but adds nothing about how the food tastes. Manuel plated blanched asparagus, brunois of yellow pepper, supremes of lemon, and endive with fennel fronds, as well as dots of bright pink beet vinaigrette. Daniel doesn't agree that the endive with fennel represents a technique -- it's really just a composition.
Next comes Nikki, with a blanched green bean and asparagus quenelle in an endive leaf, shaved fennel and radish salad, and a brick of grilled zucchini (which she apparently didn't think to season). "You will never, ever grill something without seasoning," pronounces Daniel, to which Nikki can only reply, "Thank you."
And that's we get to see before the winners and losers are announced. Generally speaking, Daniel wishes he had seen a bit more time given upfront to identifying a plan prior to execution. Nikki, not surprisingly, gets called out as the first of the worst. In addition to the sin of seasonless grilling, Daniel thought that "to just take a plain piece of endive and just use it as a boat, it's cute, but not well thought out. Are you listening, Manuel? But Lisa's the next choice -- Daniel felt her mishmash of vegetables did not represent a "train of thought on the combination of all these techniques together." Man, that girl is a pro at looking sour. Now it's Manuel's turn -- according to Daniel, his plate was "level one technique," and it takes more than that to succeed in this competition.
In the good news department, Daniel liked Zoi's poached egg, "composed into a dish you could serve." Dale impressed him because "you made a plan, your knife skills are amazing, you really pushed it to what a chef should do." Finally, Richard gets a nod for "an amazing presentation," with Daniel mentioning specifically that "the mushrooms were very interestingly prepared." In the end, Daniel picks Dale as the winner -- with immunity -- for showing "something amazing," which feels especially good for Dale since he's been on the chopping block twice in a row.