Quickfire Challenge: Tim Love is the guest judge and the cheftestants have to choose from many tequilas and make a dish to be paired with it. Tim Love calls Heather's dish similar to something you'd find in a chain restaurant. Ouch. Ty-Lor wins with a spicy oyster dish. He doesn't get immunity, but he does get $5,000.
Elimination Challenge: The cheftestants are paired up randomly based on where they are standing. Each pair will be cooking a game meat for a famous game-meat cooking chef. The twist is that the cheftestants will decide amongst themselves who will be the bottom three, and then the judges will make the final decision, and both members of the team will be eliminated.
As you might expect, Beverly and Heather are butting heads. Well, Beverly is trying to cook and Heather is bullying her, mostly about how she doesn't want their dish to be too Asian. Chris Moto has this big plan to make some sort of lattice work out of saltwater soaked sweet potatoes, and Grayson trusts him, and it doesn't work. Anyway, here are the dishes:
Nyesha and Dakota: roasted rack of venison with kabocha squash and beet gratin. The venison is undercooked and it's Dakota's fault. The judges like the rest of the plate, though.
Sarah and Paul: squab breast and sausage with pickled nectarines. The judges like the flavors together, but think the presentation was a little sloppy. Sarah starts crying when she's done because the sausage didn't come out as she had hoped.
Grayson and Chris: juniper-roasted elk with sweet potato and bouquet of citrus greens. Chris tells the judges that his technique didn't work out and Grayson jumps over him and says it's what they wanted. The judges think the meat tastes good, but the presentation sucks. Grayson tells Chris not to say anything about his screwup to the other cheftestants.
Chris and Lindsay: Roasted wild boar with kohlrabi slaw and farro fried rice. The judges don't love the marinade, but think the slaw is good. Back in the kitchen, Paul thinks the slaw is a little watery.
Heather and Beverly: Five-spice duck breast with creamy polenta and pickled cherries. You know, Heather picks on Beverly for always doing Asian, but Heather pickles EVERYTHING. The judges don't think the duck breast is cooked perfectly, and that the dish is boring. The cheftestants are missing the crispy skin on the duck breast.
Ed and Ty-Lor: sorghum quail with pickled cherries and eggplant. The judges like that the quail was allowed to shine.
The winners are Ed and Ty-Lor. Along with their fellow chefs, they have to send out three teams for consideration for elimination. After an emotional and difficult conversation, they agree to send in Grayson and Chris Moto, Nyesha and Dakota, and Beverly and Heather.
Dakota takes almost all of the blame for her team, since she undercooked the meat, but the judges thought Nyesha should have checked up on Dakota's work. Chris Moto's weird technique failed. Heather attacks Beverly's work ethic in front of the judges and poor Beverly is dumbfounded to the point that Dakota has to stand up for her. The judges could tell their team wasn't working, because the dish seemed like a collection of ingredients more than a meal. The judges agree that the cheftestants sent in the correct three teams, and ultimately send Dakota and Nyesha home because I guess there's no excuse for not properly cooking the meat when that was the point of the challenge.
After Whitney's elimination, the cheftestants return to their apartment and start drinking booze. Nyesha interviews that she was shocked at how harsh Heather was to Beverly, and she thinks it says a lot about Heather's lack of integrity. Ty knows that he has come close to being eliminated a few times, and his goal going forward is to showcase the kind of chef that he is and show the judges that he deserves to be there. I get what he's saying but isn't that always his goal? Or is his goal to make some nonsense and hope the judges let him skate by?
The next morning, the cheftestants report to the kitchen at Le Cordon Bleu. They find Padma there with Tim Love, one of my favorites from Top Chef: Masters, and behind them on a table, tons of different kinds of tequila. Padma explains the Quickfire Challenge. They have to choose a tequila and make a dish that pairs with it. Ty is psyched because he's a tequila fanatic, and has even been to the place in Mexico where the tequila is made. I'm envisioning Snoopy's cousin Needles and a cactus and then a giant fountain that spews tequila. That's how it works, right? Tim Love explains that tequila is made to be sipped like wine, and they will need strong flavors in their food to match it. The cheftestants get to taste the tequila in order to choose one, and the winner doesn't get immunity, but does win $5,000.
The cheftestants run to taste tequila and see what's available in the walk-in. Sarah explains that she and her boss, Tony Mantuano, always do a shot of tequila in the airport when they fly, and it's always blanco. So she's pairing that, which has a green, fresh flavor, with a fennel risotto. Chris Moto talks about how he loves working with tequila, but it's really high in alcohol, so presumably when you apply heat, it would all burn off. Of course, they didn't specify that you had to put the tequila IN the dish, just WITH the dish. Ty explains to someone who probably doesn't care that he is doing a variant on a dish he came up with "while on the beach in Thailand" and hopes to "pick up on the caramelly, woodsy flavors." I want to like Ty, and then he goes and says pretentious things like that.
Chris Hollywood interviews that tequila reminds him of vacations and the beach, so he's making a raw oyster and hopes it will be simple and fresh. Beverly is also making oysters, but she's going to smoke hers. Dakota is making a lamb chop, which seems heavier than what everyone else is doing. Lindsay hopes to use her "lived in Mexico for three years" experience, although that didn't serve her very well in the last Mexican food challenge. Chris Moto goes to pan sear his chicken breast and he must have poured an entire bottle of tequila in because there's a huge fireball over his pan. Ty interviews kind of bitchily that Chris seems to be overcooking his chicken breast. Really? You think that giant fireball might not make for a juicy and delicious piece of chicken? Paul is jealous that he didn't think of making clams like Ty did, so that bodes well for Ty, since Paul has been really good at judging what dish to make lately. Chris Hollywood thinks he finally made a dish that reflects him as a chef, so he's satisfied.