Quickfire Challenge: The cheftestant are split randomly into teams of four for the mise en place race, and then they must cook a dish with those ingredients in 15 minutes, judged by David Chang of Momofuku. The twist is that the first team to finish the race starts the timer, and the remaining teams' clock starts then also, so they don't have 15 full minutes.
Fabio, Angela, Tiffany and Mike: Their team finishes first and makes lamb with garlic, tandoori-spiced yogurt, slivers of artichoke and dill salad. This lands them in the bottom two due to the imbalanced seasonings.
Stephen, Tre, Blais and Spike: Their team finishes second and makes crispy lamb chop with artichoke three ways. They are in the top two because their dish had bold flavors, and they win it, earning $5,000 each, but no immunity.
Antonia, Jamie, Casey, and Dale L.: Their team finishes third and makes lamb Carpaccio with capers, garlic, Reggiano and salad with artichoke. This lands them in the bottom two due to some overpowering flavors.
Dale T., Carla, Tiffani, and Marcel: Their team finishes last and makes lamb Carpaccio, artichoke chips, artichoke salad and garlic oil. They are in the top two because their dish is "deceivingly complex."
Elimination Challenge: Each group dines at one of New York's elite restaurants, and then has to individually create a dish that would fit on that restaurant's menu. They'll compete against the others in their group, and two cheftestants will go home. So here are the teams, by restaurant, and what each cheftestant made:
Marea, which is modern Italian, owned by Michael White:
Tre: grilled swordfish, braised artichoke, mushroom panna cotta, basil oil. The judges give him high marks for his presentation, and the flavors, too.
Spike: seared branzino with caponata and spicy prosciutto vinaigrette. The judges like the fish, but not so much the rest.
Blais: crudo of Spanish mackerel, braised veal shank, fennel mostarda. The judges love the flavors.
Stephen: Coho salmon, black Mission figs, broccoli rapini, fennel pollen. The judges think the pollen might be a little too much.
Ma Peche, which is French-Asian, owned by David Chang:
Fabio: roasted lamb, hoisin plum BBQ sauce, corn tomato salad and lemongrass chevre ricotta. The judges find it too heavy, and think Fabio got lost.
Tiffany: crudo of summer flounder with pickled radish and peach puree. The judges thinks it's unoriginal.
Mike: warm Sockeye salmon, eggplant, marinated tomatoes and pickled peach. The judges like the flavors and simplicity.
Angelo: turmeric marinated fish, dill, cilantro, salmon roe, chorizo and white chocolate. The judges think it's creative, flavorful, and innovative.
Townhouse, which is modern American and owned by David Brown.
Dale L: roasted veal loin with peanuts, popcorn, French toast, corn and thyme caramel. The judges like the creativity, but the dish is too sweet.
Antonia: pea puree, carrot puree, seared scallop and pickled carrot. The judges think it's too salty, but it fits the menu and has good flavors.
Casey: coconut halibut "scallop" (not really, but seared to look like one), tapioca "caviar" (faux, again) and ginger-carrot emulsion. The judges find it creative and well-executed.
Jamie: smoked tomato and bacon soup with heirloom tomato salad. The judges don't think the smokiness adds anything, and it's kind of simple.
WD-50, which is molecular gastronomy by Wylie Dufresne.
Dale T: sunny-side up egg dumpling, braised pork belly and milk ramen with bacon, beef and pork. The judges love the dish unreservedly.
Tiffani: broken summer heirloom melons (she froze them and shattered them, I guess?), with powdered ham and taleggio. The judges think the dish needed editing.
Carla: poached shrimp, grits and okra chips. The judges think it's a little safe, but technically good.
Marcel: vadouvan lamb, tzatziki, pickled red onion and anti flatbread (which is not flat, thus the name). The judges find it restrained almost to the point of blandness, and aren't sure he used the techniques well.
The top four are Dale T., Antonia, Angelo and Tre. Wow. Who would have picked them as the top four of any challenge based on reputation alone? The winner is Dale T.
The bottom four are Stephen, Tiffani, Fabio, and Dale L. Each of the cheftestants seems to agree with the criticisms that the judges hand down, and it was a really interesting challenge, worthy of the All-Stars name. But in the end, the people going home are Stephen and Dale L., which is not a huge surprise or shock.
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The cheftestants are still kind of reeling from the shock and awe of Jen's elimination when they enter the kitchen to find Padma hanging out with David Chang, owner of Momofuku Group. When even this rural Podunk recapper has heard of your restaurants, you've hit the big time, and I've heard of Momofuku. Padma doesn't waste any time getting to the Quickfire Challenge. The cheftestants are split randomly into teams of four based on how they walked in. The teams are:
Fabio, Angelo, Tiffany, and Mike are the green team. Fabio thinks that they've got a strong team because Tiffany and Mike are "really well train-ed" and Angelo's no slouch, even though Fabio thinks he wears his pants too tight. First of all, ha. And second, if an Italian dude thinks your pants are too tight, you might want to take a personal inventory of your wardrobe choices.
Antonia, Jamie, Casey, and Dale L. are the red team, and then Dale T., Carla, Tiffani, and Marcel are the white team. They don't get any commentary, and finally:
Stephen, Tre, Blais, and Spike are the blue team. Spike interviews that Blais is a master and Tre is awesome, and as for Stephen, well, Stephen can open a bottle of wine for them. Seriously, why is Stephen on this season? Could they not get anyone else from the first season?
The challenge is for the team to prep a bunch of lamb, artichokes, and garlic. David Chang will judge to make sure that the ingredients are prepped properly. The first team to finish hits a button that starts a timer counting down from fifteen minutes, and the teams will use that time to prepare a dish using their prepped ingredients. So the twist is that the teams that take the longest to prep will have the shortest amount of time to cook. The winning team doesn't get immunity, but each member will get $5,000. Everyone is pretty psyched about the cash.
Mike explains that he and Angelo started cleaning the racks of lamb. He thinks he has an advantage because he's been cooking Greek food for five years, and has prepped a lot of lamb. Tiffany takes artichokes, and Fabio starts crushing like every garlic clove at once by dropping a cutting board on top. Pretty genius, actually. It's peeled and almost minced in one step. They don't say if the garlic is supposed to be crushed, minced, diced, or what. Just peeled and cut somehow.
For the blue team, Blais and Tre are attacking the lamb, although Tre admits in an interview that his restaurant has butchers so he doesn't often have to prep meat. Stephen is doing garlic and Spike is doing artichokes.