Although Lisa does get praise from Gail for her grilled shrimp (and Ted thinks she took it), Stephanie receives more effusive evaluations of her snapper. Colicchio didn't love the truffle oil, but his fish was cooked perfectly, while Ted compliments the cooking and the texture of the fish, "the elegance, the prettiness." For seconds, Lisa's easily wins for her delicious soup; while Colicchio enjoyed the richness of Richard's poultry ménage a trois, Ted found it "over-thought." No one mentions Stephanie's quail, even though it went over quite well during the meal -- oh, except for those leeks. Her lamb, however, kills in the red meat round. Original, surprising, and perfectly executed, she gets extra points for pulling off the counterintuitive combination of ingredients with aplomb, and for introducing the judges to braised pistachios. Ted finds the decision a bit difficult, because he really liked Richard's pork belly concept, although he botched the execution. Colicchio thinks this dish is what Richard's referring to when he says he choked, but that he had much better luck with the pig when it came to his dessert, which Colicchio pronounces "great." Ted wonders when mass-market ice cream purveyors are going to introduce bacon ice cream. Soon, promises Colicchio. The Ben & Jerry's version, of course, will come with a maple syrup swirl, crispy pork shaped like pigs, fudge chunks, and white chocolate covered almonds -- they look like eggs! For Gail, Lisa's "fun, interesting, thoughtful" rice pudding was the best. Padma agrees, adding that she thinks it was Lisa's best dish of the night. When it comes to Stephanie's pound cake, Gail puts it most succinctly: "Stephanie's dessert sucked."
However, she continues, there were many other high points that showcased Stephanie's strengths as a chef. Ted thinks deciding which dish they liked better is easy, but quantifying just how much better is difficult, while back in the Puerto Rican stew room, Lisa opines that Stephanie nailed courses one and three, while she nailed courses two and four, and Richard looks most unhappy. And then there are some random images of San Juan at night before the four judges confirm (and Ted mentions the now-chirping morning birds in an attempt to highlight the length of the deliberations) that they have each made their decision.
Despite her fairly impressive final performance, only three percent of texting watchers believe Lisa should win the title. Richard scores with thirty-five percent, while sixty-two percent agree with me that Stephanie should be the winner, although it's definitely a tough call. Colicchio praises them as "amazing competitors," and gives yet another capsule description of each of them. Richard: joy from cooking, whimsical, playful, sometimes outrageous food. Lisa: Asian flavors, big, bold, all about her. Stephanie: full of surprises. Tough choice, and in the end, "we based our decision on which meal we would like to go back and have again."