Stefan explains that, in order to slice his carpaccio thinly enough, he had to freeze it. Marcel interviews that he thinks it's a bit of a travesty to freeze a nice piece of fresh fish, and I agree. Although I rarely eat fresh fish because I live in the sticks, my brother-in-law fishes a lot, so I have had it in the summer before, and there's nothing like it. The frozen fish that I cook sometimes (and am cooking tonight, in fact) is like a whole different dish. And especially since he's serving it raw, you're going to taste all the water added from the ice crystals in the freezing process. I would cut it thicker and avoid freezing it, but what do I know? Also, why am I agreeing with Marcel? I hate that dude.
There are 20 minutes left. Carla interviews that this is like "that last 6.2 miles in a marathon." Let me tell you, if I ran a marathon, the problem would be the first 6.2 feet, not the last 6.2 miles. They all put the finishing touches on their food and wait for service.
In the opening montage after the break, they show a shot of beignets and coffee that looks better to me than anything the three finalists put out there later. I don't know if that says more about me or about their food. Anyway, back at Commander's Palace, the judges and guests are arriving. Padma thanks everyone for being there, and gives special thanks to Ti Martin, the owner of Commander's Palace, for opening her kitchen to the finalists. Some of the other guests include Hubert Keller, Susan Spicer, John Besh and Rocco DiSpirito, all famous (or in Rocco's case infamous) chefs.
Hosea tries to plate his appetizer, but his hands are shaking so badly that he can't do it. He's got tiny corn cakes balanced on upended shot glasses, and then those are topped with a dab of remoulade, a piece of blackened fish, and then topped with micro cilantro and corn shoots. It looks interesting, although I still don't quite get the whole balanced on glasses aspect. The guests all love it, and say that Hosea nailed it. They loved the taste and the presentation both.
Stefan has to serve next, and he interviews that Hosea tried to screw him over by giving him alligator, but he's confident that he will win anyway. He actually sings tauntingly, "My hundred thousand dollars, dude." Has Stefan never watched a movie or read a book before? Everyone knows that the taunting villain is about to fail miserably. So Stefan serves his alligator soup in little cups to the guests. He explains that it has celeriac, parsley leaves and a tiny puff pastry floating in it instead of the more traditional croûton. It looks like a chowder. The judges and guests all love it, and Fabio, who is also a guest, can't stop beaming for his friend.