Jamie is trying to slice the rind or skin or whatever off a side of bacon and she slices her thumb open. I don't know if she has bad knife skills or what but looking at what she was doing when the injury happened, I don't get it. Anyway, a medic comes and checks it out and tells her that she needs stitches. Jamie looks sad and frustrated, but also exhausted, and I wonder if she wasn't a little checked out emotionally and just decided to hop on the getting stitches thing as a way to be excused. Because she's walking around with a bandage on and it's not like her thumb is gushing blood. And I don't think the medic told her that she HAD to leave, or they would have said that. Anyway, Jamie goes back and tells everyone that she's leaving, and to her face, they are all like, "Go! Get that fixed!" Jen is especially supportive. Casey and Fabio, in interviews, are both kind of like, "Seriously? A cut? And she's leaving?" Fabio reminds us that he broke his finger during his season, and kept cooking. Right? I mean, I don't want blood in my food or anything, but wasn't there a season where someone cut themselves and then put on a glove, and the glove filled up with blood? Ah, yes, it was Kelly in last season's finale. You don't want to know the search keywords that led me to that page. And they are presumably less than three hours from service -- couldn't Jamie skip out once the dishes are being served and get stitches then? I'm just saying. I really like Jamie but this seemed lame to me.
Jen is rushing around the kitchen yukking it up, overly bright. She laughs that she'll let everyone know once she finishes figuring out her dish, and then laughs way too hard at her own joke and goes, "Woo-haaaa-hooo!" Too much coffee? Something else? She interviews that she doesn't blame Jamie and she's just going to work on her dish. And honestly, she has plenty of time to make what she's making alone, I think. I don't think Jamie missing was the problem with her dish.
Tre and Casey are trying to figure out what to make. Casey is busy deboning salmon, and Tre asks if she has any ideas for a sauce. She doesn't. He decides to mix up some shrimp and some stock and try to make it really flavorful, even without herbs or acid. Casey interviews that she's confident, because she saw a T Rex in Jurassic Park and it ate a lot of brontosauruses. Then she kind of shrugs like, "You asked me a really dumb question and I gave you a really dumb answer and I'm not sorry." It cracked me up, anyway.
Tiffany and Antonia are making three different kinds of frittatas. They discover as the dishes come out of the oven that they're not being cooked evenly. They don't have a lot of time to do anything about that, and plan to just give the judges the best ones. They only have these tiny pans that cook like eight pieces at once, which probably isn't helping their workflow.
Meanwhile, Jen just slipped and fell on the floor, because there's something wrong with her. She starts throwing paper towels on the floor randomly, claiming that the floor is wet. Dale T. takes a sheet out of the oven and realizes that his plan to make polenta cakes isn't going to work, and he needs to revise. He discusses with Spike and Mike (hee!) that they should just do regular polenta.
Someone says that there's only eighteen minutes left and Jen shrills, "EIGHT! TEEN! MINUTES??????" Look, maybe she had an extra cup of coffee. I don't know. Anyway, Spike is supposed to be helping Fabio with gnocchi, but Fabio thinks that Spike is being too rough with his precious potato pillows. As they pack up for service, Antonia wonders the same thing I did about gazpacho and gnocchi as breakfast dishes. As they pack up, Casey tries some of Jen's dish and interviews that it tasted like "wet bacon." Since Casey is apparently the only cheftestant who tasted it besides Jen, we have to assume she's right. Jen keeps pulling off pieces and tasting them and going, "It's good, it's good. I think it's good." So Casey keeps her trap shut. Perhaps she could have said something, but they're headed out for service and what's Jen going to do at that point? Not serve anything? Serve some hard boiled eggs? And it is a competition, and Jen was the first to point that out. Anyway.
They all start setting up their buffet lines before the diners arrive. Blais, Angelo, and Marcel made a fruit parfait. They taste it just before service, and Angelo says that he thinks the plums are too large, and they should cut them up. He gets Carla to do it. Marcel utters two gems: "I think it fucks with the integrity of the plums" and "you don't fuck with someone else's mise en place." Marcel thinks Angelo might be sabotaging his own dish, apparently? I don't put it past Angelo to fuck with things, but I don't think he would sabotage his own dish.
Now that they're nearly done, Jamie returns and tells people that she got two stitches. Dale L. interviews that he took a chunk out of his thumb one time, and duct taped it and kept going. I don't want to second-guess Jamie too much, and I would probably be crying like a little bitch, but I do think she should have at least tried to suck it up. Anyway, she starts helping Jen out as much as possible, which is really just plating at this point. Casey says that she liked Tre's sauce when she tried it in the kitchen, but she didn't have time to try it again just before service. As Tre sauces the plates, his sauce does look kind of thick and sparse, though.
The kids and their parents arrive for service. Every one wants meat and eggs, although Carla says that the people that do come through their line are very receptive to their dishes. The judges show up with their guest judge, Katie Lee (no more Joel), who Tom reminds us hosted the first season. And she was horrible. Why is she back? Her cookbook came out ages ago, so what's she promoting? She still has a totally blank look on her face. Like if you didn't watch her season, and you think Padma is blank sometimes, you don't know Katie. She was a host-bot of the highest order. Anyway, they head to Team Brontosaurus first.
The first dish was created by Dale T. and Mike: fresh corn grits, stewed peppers, and salsa verde. It kind of looks like a yellow puddle with some peppers on top. I hope it tastes better than it looks. Marcel, Richard, and Angelo made banana parfait with seasonal fruit and tandoori maple. It looks beautiful and is plated incredibly well. Carla and Spike call their dish "V9": gazpacho with fruits and vegetables. That was a smart title choice because people are used to thinking of V8 as a breakfast drink, so it helps to make gazpacho for breakfast seem normal. Fabio and Stephen serve up potato gnocchi with leeks, spinach, and mushrooms.
Tom and Katie head over to sit at a table with two kids and a museum staffer named Ryan while Gail and Padma sit at a different table with other kids and another staffer. They try the different dishes but don't say anything worth much. Tom does mention that this is the first time they've been served gnocchi that weren't hard. Everyone loves the banana parfait, both in looks and in flavors.
Now the judges head over to sample the T Rex dishes. Antonia and Tiffany offer frittatas with either bacon and cheddar, ham and cheese, or chevre. Casey and Tre serve wild Coho salmon with shrimp and apple-smoked bacon sauce. It's funny that if you look at the glamour plate that they offered up for photography, the sauce is spread out all over and thin. Contrast that with the sauce we saw Tre plating a moment ago, which was chunky and sort of the thickness of sour cream. Damn. Jen (and Jamie) made braised bacon and hard-boiled eggs. Dale L. and Tiffani produced steak and eggs with Hollandaise (or at least a version of Hollandaise).
Everyone settles in to eat, noting that the meat line is much longer than the other. They try Jen's dish first. One kid notes that she wanted the bacon to be crispy, and it wasn't, and a staffer says that the eggs had no flavor. Moving on to the salmon, everyone likes the fish but they all think the sauce is too salty. Tre interviews that he kept his sauce on the burner and it over reduced, but he thinks it's better to have a slightly salty sauce than something that is bland. Really? There are so many things he could have put in the sauce to make it thinner and still flavorful. Stock. Butter. Did they have wine? Even water wouldn't have been horrible, if he only used a little. I don't get it. The diners find that the frittatas are unevenly cooked: some are perfect and some are undercooked. They all like Tiffani and Dale's dish.
The judges reconvene to discuss what they found. One table had kids that preferred the meat dishes, while one table's kids preferred the non-meat dishes. Guess the judges can't rely on the kids to make their decisions then! Jen packs up and muses that she thinks her team did well, and that her dish in particular was good. Blais, on the other hand, goes through all of the steps his team took in making what looked like a very simple dish and worries that they will be penalized because it took three people to make a kind of fruit salad. The judges and cheftestants all leave the museum.
Ah, the return of the weird interstitial. In this one, Fabio gave the hard sell for the gnocchi, which is kind of weird since the diners didn't decide the winner. But I think Fabio is trying to set up the next phase in his career. Anyway, Spike describes him as the mayor, which is fairly accurate. He's shaking hands, kissing babies, the whole nine.
Stew Room. Tiffani explains that she th