While the final dish, according to Stephanie, may not be traditional, she and Lisa hope "to show Daniel that we know how to balance a dish, season it properly, and cook it properly, and hopefully he'll enjoy it." Lisa explains the Top Secret! cow connection, eliciting peals of laughter from Roeper, as Stephanie describes the dish -- which looks pretty amazing to me. They've added a reduction of the braising liquid (along with a bit of fresh apple juice) to the plate, and are saucing with a Vietnamese caramel, combining savory and sweet. My mouth is watering. As for first thoughts, Daniel comments that it is "very Asian, very well seasoned, I like the spiciness of it," and Colicchio agrees. Aisha Tyler, who's reputedly a pretty smart cookie, opines that "it feels original, it feels like it goes above and beyond just an iteration of a classic thing." Score! And with that, the party's over. Padma woodenly thanks Roeper and sends the guests on their way so the four judges can get down to judging.
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.