Colicchio arrives for his Sniff 'n' Sneer and asks how Seafood Brian is feeling about elk. Brian mutters almost sullenly that he's got skillz beyond seafood. To us, he waxes laundry list about his ideas: "I got cherries and blackberries and balsamic reduction, little bit of brown butter and sage -- I wanna put everything into this dish." I've heard that kitchen sinks require a longer cooking time than three hours. Speaking of that, Colicchio is skeptical that Brian can braise in three hours, but he moves on to Hung. Hung admits to never having cooked elk before, which would explain why he thinks it's "boring," clearly. Hung says that he wants to cook "spontaneously." Colicchio's face is impassive. After Colicchio finds out what Dale is doing, Dale tells us that one of the things the judges have complimented him on is his "saucework." Really? Why don't I remember that? Anyway, Dale is going to spend time making a "perfect sauce." Over at Casey's station, Colicchio confirms that she's comfortable with elk, and also that she has decided not to use her special ingredients because she's saving them for potential finals cooking. Colicchio gathers the cheftestants around for the annual Top Chef Twist. Instead of going from four to two cheftestants, they've decided that because of the "high caliber" of chefs, they're going to go from four to three, sending home only one. For those of you keeping count at home, in the first year, they went from three to two to one, and last year it was four to two, so I'm predicting that next year, it will be four to one. Taking the me-myself-and-I approach, Hung says, "I'm kind of thrilled and disappointed because if I make it to the finals, I have to compete with one extra person." However, Dale puts a sympathetic spin on it when he admits, "We were thinking that two were going to go, and I think that's probably a little more comforting at this point, because if you have to single one of us out, that hurts." The cheftestants do a team cheer and break to finish their dishes. Do you think the clock ever stops when Colicchio comes in to Sniff 'n' Sneer and make them gather around for further instructions and/or twists?
As time ticks down, Dale realizes that his goat cheese tart may not pan out, so he develops a fudge factor by boiling some potatoes and cauliflower in milk just in case he needs them. Once again, Hung finishes early, and he tells us, "I'm feeling only ninety percent confident in this dish. I know it lacks soul because I'm not totally into it. It's good -- very, very good, but I don't stand behind it one hundred percent." Casey comments that Hung finished early while the rest of them were still running around. She never explicitly suggests that Hung should have helped anyone, but if it was implied, I don't agree. Not when they're one step away from the finals. I think it's sort of funny how in past years, there have been questions of sabotage, but this year it's all about who didn't help whom. Brian admits, "I kept touching my shanks." Dude, what you do in your bedroom is your own business -- don't bring it into the kitchen. He goes on that he wished he had more time to braise his shanks, but he also wanted to make sure his mashed potatoes were hot when they brought them over to the ranch. Hung notes that Brian was really cutting it close and had they been in a restaurant, he would have helped out, but this is a competition, so he's on his own. Again, I don't disagree, but it was sort of annoying that Hung seemed to position himself next to Brian as he counted down the seconds out loud. I say "seemed" because we see Hung hanging out next to Brian's station, but we cut away before we can see if he's actually doing the countdown then or at some other time. The cheftestants pack up and move it out.