Next up: Tiffany. Tom says that her tomatoes were kind of mealy, and leaving the skins on the peppers was a mistake. Ripert suggests putting lemon juice in the sauce to make it brighter. Tiffany tells them about the mussel mistake. Bourdain wanted her to use a different fish, to match up with the excellent sauce. I would imagine she chose whitefish so it wouldn't compete with the mussels, and then without the mussels, everything was kind of bland.
Tom tells Kelly that her artichokes were cooked perfectly, and she admits that she learned the technique in Provence, which impressed Ripert.
They move on to Angelo, and Tom says that he found the crystallized ginger too sweet. And then Angelo just goes nutty. Or nuttier. He says that he "took a submissive role" when making the dish, and he "felt like [he] made love" to the short ribs. And then he giggles awkwardly. Bourdain tells him that he has no idea what Angelo is talking about, but his dish was good. Ripert liked it too.
Finally, Tom tells Kevin that his dish was good all around, and his only criticism is that the steak could have been cut thicker. Bourdain says that Kevin might have played it safe, but Kevin goes back to his theory that the astronauts would want something familiar.
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.