Cheftestants preparing food in their apartment's kitchen, as per usual in the episode opening. Stefan muses in an interview that Jeff was eliminated, and Stefan learned that he never wants to be in the bottom three again, and he feels lucky that he got to stay. Humble Stefan! Whoda thunk it?
Uh oh. Fabio is calling home to talk to his wife. This is a bad omen for his future on the show. He talks to his wife about how his restaurant is doing, and teases her over whether or not she's being honest. He wonders if perhaps the restaurant is "burned down to ground and [she's] opened up a hamburger shack in West Hollywood."He interviews that he needs to win this competition for his wife. I thought he needed to win for his ailing mother? Who's next? His great-uncle? His second cousin twice removed?
How are the other cheftestants doing? Hosea promises that, as the last American male chef in the competition, he'll take the Euros down. Carla finally got her first win, and she thinks she's being underestimated. I'd agree with that - I certainly haven't seen her name on anyone's list of probable winners or even finalists. But that could be because she's screwed up a lot (although not as badly as the others who were eliminated) and is mostly known for making an awesome pastry crust. There's no word from Leah or Jamie, so interpret that as you will.
Quickfire Challenge. Eric Ripert of Le Bernardin is the guest judge this week. The cheftestants are visibly awed and nervous to cook for him, especially since he's known for his French technique and his ability to cook fish. He's also kind of cute, and not in an untouchable master chef way. He seems approachable. I think it's because he's very smiley. Padma announces that the challenge will test their precision and technique; they'll be competing in a three-round fish flleting tournament. I would fail. I have tried to clean a fish exactly once, and not only was I grossed out, but it was a disaster. My brother-in-law, on the other hand, can clean a fish in like two seconds, but I would cast doubts on his precision.
First round. The cheftestants are given two whole sardines, plus a third one that Ripert has already fileted as a guide. Yes, sardines. Like those tiny little fish that come in a can, though these are probably fresh. Hosea interviews that the hardest thing about working with such a small fish is that the bones are tiny, and if your knife slips even a little, you've cut through the meat and ruined the whole fish. And did I mention that they only have five minutes? Yeah. Now this is a challenge. I hope no one cuts their finger off, like that poor dude in the first episode. Anyway, Hosea says that his hands are shaking, and then interviews that he's the seafood guy so people are expecting him to do really well in this challenge. Stefan thinks this is a tough one as well, and Leah knows that she's screwed up with fish before, so she's trying to redeem herself. HIGH STAKES! Hey, they have to do something to ratchet up the tension because watching people cut a tiny fish open is not all that exciting. Carla's hand is shaking as well and, on her second fish, Leah just starts swearing and says that she should go home right now. I agree! Let's do it! I would like to port my proposed Survivor rule to this show, which is that if you say that you want to quit, you are immediately removed from the show. Because it's annoying. Leah practically tosses her last fish onto the plate as Padma calls time.