Wait, they didn't say anything at all about how the food could be freeze-dried? Or whether or not they followed the rules given by NASA? See, here's the thing. They need to either follow their own rules, or just don't bother with the weird tie-ins. If they want to have a challenge about cooking a good dish, just do that. But if they're going to pretend it's all about which dish would be best in zero gravity, then maybe that should factor into the judging, based on the criteria we were given. So the loser should be someone who used large pieces of ingredients, or a lot of sugar, or served bland food. Right?
In the Stew Room, the cheftestants discuss how close this challenge was and how any of them could go home. Back the judges: Tom has nothing bad to say about Ed's dish, but Ripert brings up his complaint about how busy the plate was. Bourdain defends Ed by saying that he cooked his heart out. They move on to talk about Kelly, who had Ripert's favorite dish. Could it be because she used French techniques? Tom and Bourdain point out that her dish wasn't all that original, and Ripert has to concede the point.
Then they talk about Angelo's food. Padma loved it, and so did Tom, except for the candied ginger. Bourdain also loved it, and Ripert thought it was original and unexpected. Tom thinks that Kevin paid attention to what the astronauts asked for, which is a big part of the challenge. They don't talk about his onion rings, which couldn't possibly be freeze-dried. Bourdain points out that it's Top Chef, and he made sirloin, which I guess is too pedestrian for him. I don't know. If it tastes good, do it. And I do agree with Kevin's point about the astronauts being homesick. If I was stuck in space for months at a time, I would kill a steak or two.
Finally, they talk about Tiffany's food. Bourdain was a big fan of her fish sauce and her curry. Ripert was disappointed that she cooked the pea shoots in the sauce, which made them lose their flavor. And Colicchio can't stop talking about how she didn't skin the peppers. I didn't even know you COULD skin peppers, but I have zero culinary training, unless you count what my mom taught me. And I've read some books here and there. And I cook dinner a lot for my family. Anyway, Colicchio concludes by saying that all five dishes were very good. Seriously, where was this food all season? Suddenly, everyone is awesome. Should be a good finale, regardless of who makes it.