Quickfire Challenge: Work in teams to make 100 dishes in an hour, highlighting consistency and precision. Blais and Mike team up for pork Bolognese with fresh macaroni and pecarino cheese. Padma and guest judge Lorena Garcia think the consistency is good, with the portions similar. Tiffany and Antonia make beef tenderloin salad with cilantro, mint basil and chimichurri sauce. Padma thinks they did a great job with consistency as well, and Lorena is impressed, since their dish had four components, which makes precision difficult. Lorena liked the flavors and spices in the men's dish, and points out that while the women did a cold dish, which might be easier, it had more components, which makes it more difficult in the end. She based her decision on flavor and precision, and the winner is… Antonia and Tiffany! The boys are really sour that they got beat by stinky girls, and I love it.
Elimination Challenge: Create a lunch to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the Nassau Yacht Club, and the meal has to incorporate conch. The challenge takes place on a "deserted" island. The cheftestants arrive to find crates filled with every ingredient they need except for conch. They have to snorkel out and gather their own conchs. Blais's swimming is especially comical. Then they have to cook over a wood or charcoal fire, since they have no electricity. Here's what they made:
Blais makes sweet potato linguini with conch and spiny lobster. Some of the lobster is undercooked. The judges are also fooled by his sweet potato linguini, and some think it's actually pasta.
Antonia makes red snapper with conch tartare and lobster nage. It has a lot of flavor and the diners love it. Colicchio points out that you can barely taste the conch and the fish is unevenly cooked.
Tiffany makes conch and coconut chowder with sweet potatoes and conch ceviche. The judges aren't sure if the chowder is supposed to be cold or not, but it is cold (and it was supposed to be hot). They like the flavors, though some find it too sweet, and Colicchio thinks the flavors are undeveloped.
Mike makes banana leaf-wrapped grouper, braised pineapple and conch vinaigrette. The diners and judges thought the fish was well-cooked but some think the other elements overwhelmed the fish.
And the winner is…Mike! This is freaking me out. What if he wins? I hate him. And the person going home is… Tiffany. Whew. Now this is a final. We have our frontrunner (Blais), our sentimental favorite (Antonia) and our villain (Mike). We'll see how it shakes out.
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After Carla's elimination, the remaining four are sad for a little bit, since Carla was kind of the mom of the group. We are all sad, I think. Tiffany, especially, is sad since she and Carla were so close. Antonia tells the others that the bottom three cheftestants were told that they need to step it up, because none of their dishes were that great. Antonia interviews that she couldn't get back into it after the fire in the kitchen, and she's starting to feel like she did at the end of her season, like she never really got into a groove. Mike is about the only person who's feeling good right now -- he won the Quickfire and the Elimination, so he feels like he's "back on track." Was he ever on the track to start out with? I feel like he's on track for the first time and that is disturbing me. What if Mike wins? What if he is the Ultimate All Star? I don't know if I can live in a world where that is true.
The next morning, Blais wakes up Mike, who was having a sleep-in. That bed looks really comfy. I can't blame him. Anyway, they all leave the suite, wondering what the day will bring. Blais mutters that it will probably be cooking with not enough time and not enough equipment. Mike adds that there will be a twist in the middle of nowhere. Well, they've clearly watched this show before.
They walk into the kitchen at the Atlantis, where they find Padma and guest judge Lorena Garcia, who is there to promote her NBC cooking reality show that will probably be canceled by the time this is posted, so why bother helping to promote it? Padma introduces the Quickfire Challenge, which is about consistency and precision. They have to work in pairs, and they immediately split into same sex pairs. Mike interviews that he knows Antonia is his cousin (sigh) but she's also the Black Hammer. He has a point. Each team has to create one hundred dishes in an hour. The judges will randomly taste a few plates for testing purposes.
Antonia claims that she would have picked Tiffany even if Mike hadn't grabbed Blais first. Uh huh. Sure you would have. Although I don't know if Antonia and Blais would be a good pair, either from a culinary standpoint, or a personality standpoint. And we all know how much Mike likes to ride coattails. We get an unfortunate shot of Antonia's underwear when she bends over to examine some ingredients. Oh, editors. You couldn't have skipped that one? Mike claims that he and Blais are the favorites, and everyone knows it. Well, Blais is the favorite, and Mike is his partner. So...there you have it.