So now Eugene has to defend his dish and his skills. He says that he's super creative and always thinks outside the box. Colicchio says, "Daikon with tomato and basil? Does that make sense together?" Eugene says he's had it before and liked it, but he took a chance. Colicchio doesn't think it was taking a chance if he had it before and liked it. That's kind of nit-picky. Novelli says that the fish was overcooked. Toby Young didn't think Eugene was overreaching; instead the flavors were mild and it lacked punch. Padma asks if anyone has anything to add. Eugene says he knows now what the judges are looking for, and he'll stop being so creative. I don't think he understands what creative means. The judges are looking for good food, flavor, and technique, and they don't care if you use wacky ingredients or not, as long as your food tastes good. Eugene just comes off as so condescending. Melissa thinks she has a lot more to offer and asks for that chance. Carla points out that if you took the scallops off her dish, it would be perfect. The cheftestants leave the room.
Padma points out that they need to decide which of the three will stay. Toby wants to give Eugene a second chance, since he takes chances. Colicchio gets weirdly spiritual when he says that he didn't like how disrespectful Eugene was to his fish, and that the fish gave up his life for naught. I understand the impression, but we haven't really seen that from Colicchio before. He also thinks that Melissa's fish tacos were boring, and maybe that's who she is as a chef. Toby Young thinks Carla admitted to a lack of confidence, and she won't ever get confident and make good cooking decisions.
The three cheftestants are called back into the room. Colicchio says it was a very straightforward challenge, in which they were asked to cook anything and wow the judges. He tells Eugene that he's creative but lacks skill. Melissa lacks creativity. Carla ruined what could have been a great dish. Padma tells Melissa and Eugene to pack their knives and go, so Carla gets to stick around. Eugene interviews that he took a lot of risks and learned a lot. Melissa interviews that she's upset that she didn't use her imagination, and that the impression people will take away is that she's noncreative. I'm glad Crazy Carla is still around, and while I wasn't happy with Toby Young at first, he did better at Judges' Table when he calmed down a little bit. Should be interesting.
Kim plots world domination, one domain at a time, at her blog Fresh Hell. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.