After the cheftestants leave, the judges discuss the difficult task ahead. Chiarello points out that there were no truly bad dishes, so they have to judge based on subtle nuances. They praise Jen's vegetarian dish, and Chiarello says that he would have loved to taste Jen's dish as she conceived it. Gail wonders why she didn't use more of the foie gras glaze, since that was the best part of the dish. Moving on to Michael, Tom loves how bold he is, and how the dish came together. Gail repeats her criticism of the proportions. Tom thinks his egg was sloppy and overwhelmed all of the other ingredients. Back in the makeshift Stew Room, the cheftestants talk about how the judges didn't even agree amongst themselves about the various dishes, and Michael points out that judging food is all about interpretation.
The judges move on to Bryan, and Gail says, "I totally fell in love with Brian's ravioli." That's what she said. Tom brings up the seasoning issue again. Chiarello was impressed with the degree of difficulty, and thinks Bryan delivered. Then they discuss Kevin, and how he took simple ingredients and produced a ton of flavor. Backstage, Kevin pretty much admits that he knew the judges wouldn't like the texture of his beef, so he called it toothsome so that they would think it was done on purpose. And sure enough, Tom says that Kevin can spin yarns all he wants but the bottom line is that the texture wasn't great. Backstage, the cheftestants agree that it's a tough decision for the judges, whereas in past seasons, it's been easier because, as Michael puts it, "there's been enough shite on the table."
The cheftestants are called back in to face the music and find out who's going to the finals. Tom says that their high expectations were met, but they can only bring three to the finale. Chiarello says that the winner of the challenge used the local ingredients well and seasoned the food "as close to perfectly as possible," so it's Bryan. Wait, Bryan? After Tom complained again and again about how his food wasn't seasoned properly? What the? Bryan seems pretty stunned as well.
Tom announces to the three that are left that they all made great dishes with something small missing. Kevin's beef was slightly stringy, Michael's egg was undercooked, and Jen seemed unsure and let the fire die out. HORROR! Shouldn't they be judging based on the food they were served, not the food that was originally promised? Anyway, Padma tells Jen to pack her knives and go. That's kind of horseshit. I mean, it's always tough for us at home to judge, because we don't get to taste the food, but it seemed like they were all praise for her food and suddenly they got mad that she didn't grill the duck. I actually blame the editing, since you know the judges deliberate for hours and it's the editors' job to craft a narrative that makes sense from that footage. And according to Tom's blog, Jen's duck dish was so salty that it was inedible. It would have been nice to have that mentioned near the end!