Padma sends Tre and Hung to bring back Clay, Dale, Howie, and Brian. I feel so bad for Howie because I think he's a really good chef who just didn't manage his time properly. The four losers stand in front of the judges to take the heat. Starting with Brian, Padma asks him if he knows why he's there. Brian admits that he made his dishes too complicated for the time allowed and got carried away with his "dueling snakes." Okay, so now the Medusa and the eyes and the venom are having duels? Sure, why not? Colicchio wonders why he fried them. "They're FRIED, because I knew they had the elasticity to handle the fry, although the snake got a little tough on me," Brian says, practically shouting at times. Here's where Padma gets her inner Bourdain on, "You say they held up well against the frying, I actually think ANYTHING holds up well against frying." Padma starts to wiggle her head back and forth, giving attitude for some reason, "You could fry my TOE and batter it well and it would taste good." Colicchio chuckles, briefly closing his eyes. I think he's sort of embarrassed that Padma is talking about battering something after the fry, which would just be weird and gloppy and wrong. I wonder how many hits it would take for Padma to want to eat her own fried toe. Colicchio thinks Brian should have kept his stuff on the bone. Brian's response? "I SCORED them very NICEly and WHAT I WAS TRYING TO GET (his voice is actually echoing around the room) was I was trying to expose the ribs on them and I spent a little too long on that. And it came out nice, but the problem is the ribs didn't come exposed like I wanted them too because I was going to have the dueling ribs up here…" Okay, are they dueling ribs or dueling snakes? I cannot follow his train of thought. His eyes are all crazy and his voice is so very loud and I'm just sort of scared now. Bourdain dings him for dithering over his decisions.
Moving on to Dale, I have to turn the TV volume back up to normal. Dale knows he's there because he didn't know much about the products he had. His strategy was to taste and test-cook the proteins. He discovered he didn't like the texture that resulted from searing and cooking the alligator all the way through. Colicchio steps in to say that the medium rareness of the alligator was a big problem for the judges, and they all found it to be too chewy. Bourdain says Dale tried to play it safe to keep from ending up as the worst. Dale opens his mouth but just nods. Poor Howie is next. He knows why he's there. "What HAPPENED?" Padma demands. Okay, she's also having volume problems. Colicchio doesn't understand why Howie didn't have enough time to plate the frog legs. Howie admits he was trying to recrisp the frog legs because he was trying to get everything absolutely perfect. Bourdain has a question: "What is your major malfunction?" Howie stands there and repeats the question. Bourdain points out that Howie already knows that the first rule of restaurant business is to show up on time and the second rule is to have your stuff in the window on time, at the same time as everyone else. "I want my food now, I want it hot, and I want when I want it," Bourdain adds. Howie agrees, "That's fair enough. In your book, though --" Oh, this is going to be AWESOME! "...there's a little part that says about Ecuadorian line cooks, I believe?" Howie goes on. "Oh, that's unfair, man!" Bourdain laughs, banging the table, totally cornered. "It says, you can yell at this person, at this person, and they'll give it to you when it's wrong. But these particular people, they give it to you when it's right." "You son of a bitch!" Bourdain responds, in total respect. "Oh, you're in trouble!" Gail says, trying to get in on it. "You want it fast and you want it right," Colicchio sums up. Isn't that, like, Burger King's slogan or something? Howie agrees that, of course he wants it fast and right, and it kills him that a matter of seconds is what's between him moving on or going home tonight.