Quickfire Challenge: Chefs pair up (via knife pull) to create a sandwich to try to win immunity. The twist is that the teams have to wear attached aprons so that they can only use one hand each. Stephen and Jacqueline get dinged for lack of creativity and Lynne and Tiffany are told they didn't have a great texture in their sandwich. On the other hand, Ed and Kenny are praised for their Ahi tuna sandwich with Asian slaw. The winner is (groan) the team of Tracey and Angelo, who made a flounder sandwich with spicy sriracha mayonnaise. So Angelo isn't going anywhere this week.
Elimination Challenge: Feed fifty school children a healthy lunch with a budget of $130, working in teams of four. Here's what went down:
Team One: Andrea, Alex, Tim, and Kevin: picnic coleslaw with yogurt, grilled apple cider BBQ chicken, mac and cheese with whole wheat crust, skim milk, and low-fat cheese, and fresh melon kebab and orange Chantilly dipped in whipped yogurt. This team has very little drama (and thus gets very little screen time) -- the only event is when they refuse to let Angelo borrow a part from their whipping gun when his won't work. The judges like everything except the mac and cheese.
Team Two: Tracey, Angelo, Kenny, and Ed (i.e. Dream Team): chicken burger with fiesta rice, peanut butter and celery crudités with tuile, sweet potato puree with cinnamon, and apple bread pudding with cinnamon yogurt. Colicchio reminds Kenny that if his team loses, there's a 50/50 chance he's going home since Tracey and Angelo have immunity. The judges think the pudding and the burger are fine, but they aren't brimming with praise. Ed's puree has way too much pepper, and they don't really think that a celery stick counts as a vegetable, and wonder why there is a cookie on top. Good point. But doesn't the sweet potato count as a vegetable too? Or is that a starch? Ooh, maybe Angelo (who did the celery stick) was sabotaging his team so that Kenny or Ed would have to go home. That would be EVIL.
Team Three: Lynne, Kelly, Arnold, and Tiffany: black bean cake with crispy sweet potatoes, braised pork carnitas tacos with pickled onions and cilantro, roasted corn salad with cilantro-lime vinaigrette and chili oil, and caramelized sweet potatoes with sherbet. This team had a lot of drama, mostly centered around the fact that Arnold felt Kelly was trying to make sure she got credit for her dish, when he felt it was a team effort. The problem is that they were instructed that they should be responsible for one dish and need to defend that dish at judging. Lucky for them, the judges seem to like all four dishes, even though they think Lynne's bean cake was a bit dry.
Team Four: Amanda, Stephen, Tamesha, and Jacqueline: braised chicken thigh in sherry jus (Sherry? Really? I know most of the alcohol probably cooks off, but seriously), sweet onion rice with tomato, carrots, and green onions (that's a lot of onions for kids), bean and tomato salad with picked red onion and apple cider vinaigrette, and banana pudding made with skim milk and crushed strawberries. This team's drama was that they ran out of money and Jacqueline kind of got hosed as far as budget, which seems like it could have been prevented by planning something where the ingredients overlapped more with the other dishes so they could double up. The judges think the salad is good, but the rice is mushy and the pudding is starchy and too sweet.
Ooh, child, it gets ugly at Judges' Table. People whose dishes get dinged (especially Stephen) lash out at people on the other team. They discuss how bad processed peanut butter is for you. People wonder if Angelo threw the challenge to get rid of either Kenny or Ed. The team that had the most drama (Arnold, Kelly, Lynne, and Tiffany) win the challenge, and the ultimate winner is Kelly for her pork tacos. And Jacqueline gets the ax for her overly sweet, grainy and non-nutritive banana pudding. That's fine. She probably could have gone last week. I would have been pissed if Kenny left.
The cheftestants perform their morning ablutions, including hair-drying, push-ups, and shaving in the bedroom. This last task produces some shock and awe as Ed shaves without the assistance of a sink or anything. Wouldn't there be whiskers everywhere? Based on every bathroom sink I've ever shared with a male, I would think there would be whiskers everywhere after he was done shaving. I wonder if the show has a housecleaner or if the cheftestants have to clean their own rooms and bathrooms. Hmm. Turns out Ed was just getting a jumpstart while waiting for the bathroom to be free, and once it is, he takes his shaving in there. Ed also reveals that he is the biggest cliché-spouter on the show, and thus will earn lots of camera-time, when he talks about John's elimination and says, "I'm here to win" (ding!) and "it is what it is" (ding! ding!).
The cheftestants prepare breakfast and wait around in the tiny kitchen. Alex teases Jacqueline about the amount of butter she is using in whatever she is preparing. Is that a subtle dig at her lowfat dish from last week? Andrea reminds us in an interview that Angelo won both challenges last week, but she still thinks she can beat him or anyone else. At least she doesn't say that she's there to win. It's not Top Friends, it's Top Chef. I wish someone would say that. At least I would get a giggle out of it. Anyway, they all head out to the kitchen.
Quickfire Challenge! The cheftestants are greeted with goofy enthusiasm by Padma. I don't know if it's the sleep deprivation or what, but Padma is much cheerier this season. It's kind of disconcerting. She introduces them to White House Assistant Chef and Food Initiative Coordinator Sam Kass. He's kind of cute, that dude. Since he's not a well-known celebrity chef, the usual testimonial by a cheftestant telling he's a rock star is replaced with one telling us "He's important because he feeds the President." Thanks, Captain Obvious.
Padma is clearly embarrassed to explain that government has to work together (try telling that to the government) so this is a "bi-partisandwich quickfire." GROAN. The challenge is to pair up and create a delicious sandwich. The cheftestants are like, "How is this a challenge, exactly? Isn't this just called 'lunch'?" Padma says that the winners get immunity, and Ken interviews that he doesn't care about immunity because he doesn't think he needs it? Or because he's just going to eliminate people one-by-one? He doesn't really explain why he doesn't care about immunity. But he doesn't! Care! Since they included that, you know immunity will come into play somehow with the elimination. The cheftestants draw knives to partner up as Angelo interviews that it would be embarrassing for him to lose this challenge, since he owns a sandwich shop. Oh, Angelo, is there anything you don't do? You world-traveling, sandwich-shop-owning, country-living, challenge-winning monster!