Quickfire Challenge: Tag Team Cook-off. The one where one person starts a dish, then another continues it, until all four have participated and the dish is (hopefully) finished. The teams are Kevin, Kenny, Kelly and Amanda (Blue Team) versus Ed, Tiffany, Angelo and Alex (Red Team). The judge is Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Kevin's team seems to connect well, and produces a great prawn dish. Ed's team gets pissed because Alex seasons the red snapper in the second step, when everyone would expect the person who cooks the fish to do the seasoning. So Kevin's team wins because the other dish is too salty.
Elimination Challenge: Restaurant Wars. They keep the same teams from the Elimination Challenge. Ed's team (led by Angelo) looks for any way to keep Alex out of the kitchen as much as possible. Meanwhile, Kevin's team (led by Kenny) finishes prep with time to spare and are cool customers. The guest judge is Frank Bruni, former reviewer for The New York Times and a notoriously tough critic. Alex and Angelo are rude to the servers and Alex screws up the judges' seating and the timing of their courses as well. He also fails to say goodbye and thank them when they leave.
Red Team Menu:
Angelo: Confit of tomato soup, squash and olive crouton, which the judges say is interesting in a good way.
Tiffany: Crudo of black bass and yellowtail snapper with Meyer lemon-caper relish, which Gail thinks missed the mark beause it was salty and overdressed.
Tiffany: Striped bass, stewed spinach, chorizo and clams, which Gail thinks was slightly overcooked, but the flavors are great.
Ed: Slow-baked turbot, eggplant caviar and black olive jus, which Frank really likes.
Alex: Pan-seared lamb chop, English pea puree, smoked bacon and Parmesan foam, which Frank wishes had more texture.
Angelo and Ed: Seared rib eye steak, crushed walnut potatoes, and balsamic fig reduction, which Tom doesn't love, although he likes the walnut with the potatoes. Frank doesn't think it fits the restaurant's Mediterranean theme, except for the figs.
Blue Team Menu:
Kelly: Chilled sweet corn soup with Maryland blue crab salad, which the judges found flavorless and thin.
Kenny: Beet salad with warm chorizo-citrus vinaigrette, which the judges find a little busy.
Amanda: Oakwood grilled strip steak with roasted sunchoke and Maitake mushrooms, which the judges find too thin to form a crust.
Kevin: Pan-roasted halibut, fennel marmalade and tomato-fennel emulsion, which Frank thinks is really pretty, and the judges find incredibly flavorful.
Kenny: Crisped aged goat cheese on strawberry-rhubarb relish, which the judges call "a horror show."
Kelly: dark chocolate ganache tart with blackberry chocolate chunk ice cream. The judges like the ganache, but not the ice cream.
And somehow, the Red Team wins. And the overall winner is Ed, for his turbot dish. I guess the weird service didn't really factor in when the food was good, which the team members who aren't named Alex were probably counting on.
As the judges are telling the Blue Team where they went wrong, Kenny and Kevin speak up and tell them that Alex didn't do any cooking or planning or prepping, and that they think he should be the one to go home. And then they go back to the Stew Room and tell Alex the same thing to his face. The judges pretty much ignore their recommendation and send Kenny home. GOD DAMN. Kenny went home before Amanda or Alex. I mean, he hasn't had great dishes since the first few weeks, but I really don't think it was his time.
It's the morning after Stephen's elimination. Amanda is sad that Stephen is gone but she believes "the best of the best" are still in it, and she's starting to believe she belongs in that category. I still don't believe it. I think once she and Alex are gone, I might buy it. It's hard to separate my personal feelings about her, and her cooking. She might be a great cook (although the editing has led me to believe otherwise), but she's so annoying that I can't get past it. Kenny can't understand why he's always in the middle, since he's older and has more experience. I have an idea; maybe it's because the food he has served hasn't been as good as the food other people have served. Just a thought.
Quickfire Challenge. The cheftestants enter the kitchen to find red and blue aprons and blindfolds. Padma appears to tell them that it's time for the tag team cookoff, where four people team up to create a dish and the people not cooking are blindfolded so that they have to guess what they should do next. Each team has forty minutes, so each chef has ten minutes to cook. Padma tells them that there is no more immunity, but the winning team will split $10,000.
They draw knives, and most of them are blank. Kevin gets first choice and Ed gets second choice, so Kevin chooses Kenny as his first pick. They're friends, and Kenny is a good chef, so that seems logical. And here's a shocker: Ed chooses Tiffany first. Kevin takes Kelly next, because you probably don't want Kenny and Angelo on the same team, I'm guessing. So Ed takes Angelo with his next pick, leaving Amanda and Alex as the bottom two. Kevin goes with Amanda, so Ed has to pick Alex, who apparently did not steal the pea puree, according to Colicchio's latest blog on the official site. And Tom claims that other cheftestants told him that. So why didn't those cheftestants get interview segments in that episode, to at least provide some balance between all of the people who claimed that Alex DID steal it? That's pretty shady, producers. I'm no Alex fan, but you could have at least put in ONE person saying, "I'm pretty sure I saw Alex making the puree." I mean, I get that you want it to be ambiguous so that people will talk about it and stir up some buzz, but the way it was presented wasn't even ambiguous and made Alex out to be a jerk. And he may be a jerk, but he's apparently not a thief.