As they move on to Dave, he confesses his distress to us that he had a sloppy plate of nachos. He tells the judges that he got "overzealous" in trying to make everything from scratch, "but the flavors are going to be there." He always has a story or an excuse, doesn't he? Dave presents his Seafood Nachos with Fire-Roasted Tomato and Papaya Salsa along with an Avocado Crema. He also made refried black beans and took scallops and quickly cooked them and put them on the chips. Okay. So, I'm not a top chef, but fire-roasting tomatoes and papaya doesn't take all that long. Next, you whiz them in the Cuisinart and season into a salsa. Avocado Crema? Isn't that just raw avocado and buttermilk or sour cream or something that you didn't actually milk the animal for and drain yourself? Scallops quickly sliced and cooked? Five minutes. The only thing I wonder about is if he actually took dried beans and soaked them before cooking them and then refrying them himself. But hey, Rosarita's refried black beans in a can? Damn delicious. Also? Easy. Maybe he was actually dumb enough to make the chips himself? Who knows. They thank him.
In the end, everyone but Dave seems to have impressed the judges. The winner is Harold. Bot mechanically congratulates Harold and tells him he has a good shot at going to Vegas as long as he doesn't fuck it up and serve them Hungry Man dinners or something. Dave has some "ground to make up" if he doesn't want to be sent home. Oh my god, the Bot still manages to crank on! She's saying that they started at the bottom of the food chain, but they are now going straight to the top. Colicchio and Gail leave and come back in with a box of "oh my god." And we go to gasping to commercials.
After commercial break, we learn that the secret ingredient is... BLACK TRUFFLES FROM PERIGORD! And I learn that my secret reaction is... BORED FROM SAN FRANCISCO! Seriously, they couldn't come up with blowfish liver ("If you kill the guests, you might be sent home."), real and raw Brie, or absinthe? I guess they might get into some sort of lawish trouble with those ingredients. But still, black truffles are so over. In fact, they were over when people started adding them to burgers, pot pies, and pasta WHEN YOU COULDN'T EVEN SEE OR TASTE THEM! But maybe I'm just bitter. I mean, I do think truffles are amazing and tasty and can transform a dish, but I don't know, I was just underwhelmed by their choice. Also, Gail presents a bottle of "2001 Shafer Hillside Select. It is very rare and very expensive." It's also a Cab Sauvignon from the Stag's Leap District, for those of you keeping track at home. I wonder if it's more expensive and rare than the S.L.V. Cab I tried at a private function at Stag's Leap itself. You know, the stuff that embarrassed the hell out of the French in 1976. For the record, the 2001 Shafer Hillside Select has a suggested retail of one hundred seventy-five dollars. Now, I'm not one who orders wine of that caliber in restaurants, but I'm just not that impressed. Their page doesn't even have a Wine Spectator ranking, but I note that they do have a Food and Wine ranking. Give me a Cain Five or a Chappellet and we might get somewhere interesting. Then again, I actually really love my thirteen ninety-nine Montepulciano d'Abruzzo for every day sippage, so why listen to me? Oh, poor Stephen -- he must've been in agony when this episode aired! Can you imagine what he would have been like on this task?