Quickfire Challenge: In the Bahamas, the cheftestants must cook head-to-head against the chef that won their season, and the winner gets $10,000. Colicchio chose the main ingredient for each group. So we have Tiffany vs. Kevin from Season 7, and Tiffany wins. From Season 5, it's Carla versus Hosea, and Hosea wins because Carla's rice is undercooked. From Season 4, it's Stephanie versus both Blais and Antonia. Stephanie beats Antonia, and Blais beats Stephanie. Both Stephanie and Antonia's food sucked, so Blais wins handily. For Season 6, it's Mike Isabella versus Michael Voltaggio, and somehow Mike Isabella wins. I think it was because Mike Volt's hair was HORRIBLE and it sapped his culinary skills.
Elimination Challenge: Cook a dish for Bahamian royalty. Except after their two hours of prep, the cheftestants find out that they're cooking for the King of Junkanoo, not the King of the Bahamas or whatever they were expecting. It's like if you thought you were cooking for Queen Elizabeth but it turned out you were cooking for Aretha Franklin, Queen of Soul. But then there's a fire in the kitchen when the food is almost done, and the chemical fire extinguisher goes off, and all the food is contaminated. So the cheftestants have to start from scratch, and re-prep their food, and cook, all in that same night. Here is what was served:
Carla: fried pork medallion with sweet potato puree, apple sauce and apple chip. People like it, but Gail's pork is pretty much raw.
Antonia: crispy shrimp and grits with cilantro and pickled vegetables. The judges think the shrimp is overdone, and they don't like the vegetables.
Mike: sous vide chicken, mushrooms, yams, lobster sauce and lobster hash. The judges like the sauce and some of the meat, but other bits of meat are too dry.
Blais: roasted lamb loin and malted braised leg with pickled turnip and mustard. The judges think it has a lot of flavor, but it's also delicate and clever.
Tiffany: roasted spice pork tenderloin, dirty rice, curried slaw and tomato jam. The judges think the meat is tender and spicy, but it's a little simple and nothing special.
The winner is Mike Isabella. WTF? Did he take lessons during the time off? How did he win one challenge and beat Michael Voltaggio in another? Anyway, it's one of the three women going home, and the unlucky lady is Carla, but she knew it. I mean, her pork was raw. That's tough to overcome.
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It's time for the finals, when everyone will have new haircuts and it will be in a new location! First up is Antonia, who doesn't have a new haircut, but at least she finally got a new shirt and isn't wearing that purple off-the-shoulder number she's been wearing all season. Now she has a black one. It's the same shirt, but it's black. Antonia and I subscribe to the same shopping theory, which is that if you find a shirt you like, just buy it in every color. Anyway, Antonia arrives in the Bahamas and interviews that she doesn't even care about winning the money - she just wants the title. But I bet she'll take the money too. Blais is there too; his hair is a little flatter than usual. He remembers that his first final also took place in the Caribbean, but he choked. He hopes to avoid choking this time. A noble goal, to be sure.
Heeeey! It's Carla! She remembers that Blais's baby is coming soon, because a few months have passed since the last episode and his wife is set to pop at any time. He tells the ladies that they've chosen the name Embry Lotus Blais, which is not my cup of tea, but it's not my baby, so who cares? Blais hopes he doesn't lose and ALSO miss the birth of his child. Carla also comments on Blais's playoff beard, which is more like playoff stubble at this point. He is one of those dudes who just shouldn't try to grow a beard. It sticks straight out from his face and you can see each individual hair. Carla jokes that it's too bad he's going to go home with that terrible beard. Carla interviews that she needs to do her own food, because that's what has helped her win challenges this season, and when she didn't do it, she lost in her first season. So that should work out well for her, I'm sure.
Mike Isabella shows up and Antonia jokes that her cousin is there. Are we still doing that? Aren't we done with the cousin thing? Mike has lost some weight and gotten a better haircut since the last episode. He's still gross though, more because of his personality than his looks. He interviews that he did some training since we last saw him, and worked at various restaurants in DC. I feel like that shouldn't be allowed. Like you have to use the skills that brought you to the finals in the actual finals. Or he could work on things at home but not have other people teach him. I don't know why there's any difference there, but I feel like there is. Maybe it's the perception that Mike has rode the coattails of others his entire time on the show, both seasons.