Hugh comments first on Stefan and Brooke's duck, saying that it's tough. Gail likes their concept, but can't taste the rose petal jelly and it tastes more like a standard sweet and sour sauce. Tom bitches that there's too much sugar in the cabbage. I mean, it's a valid critique, but he says it very dismissively. Hugh's biggest issue is that the duck isn't cooked properly.
The judges move on to John and Josh's dish. The artisan of the truffle popcorn wishes they had added more flavors to compliment it instead of just "truffle popcorn." Hugh, who is Southern, says that the grits are terrible, and Tom adds that the meat isn't cooked well and the sauce is "a gloppy mess." Yikes.
Micah and Kristen had too much going on with their plate and you couldn't discern the actual cheese curds. Padma insists adamantly that she LOVES cheese, and she couldn't tell what a cheese curd was. That's a problem, especially since they cooked them three different ways. You'd think at least one of the ways would stand out.
The artisan who makes the candied salmon liked the salmon mousse that Sheldon and Bart added, but Tom and Gail agree that there wasn't enough candied salmon on the plate and Hugh decides that the dish didn't really celebrate the core ingredient, which was the challenge.
The rest of the cheftestants are finishing and plating their dishes. Danyele is worried about making a tart since neither she nor Lizzie is a dessert chef. So why make dessert? I don't understand that choice at all. CJ is kind of worried about making an obvious dish -- a burger -- but he also can hear Tom saying, "CJ, what's wrong with a perfect burger, executed perfectly?" He does a pretty decent Colicchio impression. The only issue with this idea is that the burger has to be done PERFECTLY. Tyler is worried that they underthought this one and I wish he had voiced that to CJ, but he's letting CJ just boss him around. Josie is taking charge with Eliza and Eliza doesn't have much to do. And the little that Eliza did, Josie's not happy with. Time for their service!
Josie and Eliza had cardamom bitters and made curry cardamom broth with manila clams and seared white king salmon. Lizzie and Danyele had coconut curry chocolate and they made coconut curry chocolate mousse tart. CJ and Tyler had hot and spicy dill pickles and they made a pork crumpet burger with spicy dill pickles. It is the saddest plate of all time; it's a beige bun with a light brown burger, a sad piece of lettuce, some breaded pickles on top and two sad pickles on the side. I mean, I've seen better looking fast food burgers.