Ted Ilan seems to be taking up way too many burners as he plates his clam dish. Of course, when Marcel is SELFISH enough to ask for the use of one burner, Ted Ilan has to be a little bitch about it and snaps, "Marcel, you have to wait a second." Oooh, he snapped at Marcel! By his own logic, Marcel is now relieved of helping him plate. Marcel complains to us about having to pick up thirty different pieces of fish from one burner. Cliff and Sam help Ted Ilan plate. Out in the dining room, women seem to be feeding their dates, even though I'm pretty sure everyone has the exact same dish. The judges tuck into Ted Ilan's Fideos with Clams and Saffron, which is paired with a Naveran Brut Reserva Blanc de Blancs NV. "Blanc de Blancs" just means it's a white sparkling wine made exclusively from white grapes. "Blanc de Noirs" would make it a sparkling rosÃ© because it is a white wine made from red grapes. Both of those are what the French use when describing their Champagnes, the "Blanc de Blancs" would refer to the exclusive use of Chardonnay grapes, and the "Blanc de Noirs" would normally be for Pinot Noir grapes. However, as is his Spanish wont, Ted Ilan is serving a Cava, which is a sparkling Spanish wine, and so their specific grapes are going to be very different. They've just co-opted the French terminology because people are familiar with it. The "NV" means "non-vintage". The judges like the dish and the wine pairing.
In the kitchen, Marcel darts around preparing the next course, and we hear Son of Sam telling Cliff that he'll come back when it's Cliff's turn to serve because he doesn't plan on helping Marcel. Because Marcel didn't help him. Who's being adolescent now, Sam? Marcel asks Cliff if he wants to help out. Marcel tells us that no one would help him out. There's a crash in the kitchen and the camera looks over to see a pan of salmon on the floor. I don't know for certain whether Cliff intentionally knocked the salmon to the ground or if he just couldn't catch it, as he tells us. Given what happens later, I would not put sabotage past Cliff, but I really believe that it just fell.
After the commercial, Son of Sam tells us, "For a minute, I thought about not helping Marcel. I'm not that guy; I wanted to be." No, you're just that guy who stands by and laughs while someone is attacked by someone else twice their size. Congrats, Sam, you are That Guy. Marcel remedies his salmon situation by simply serving smaller pieces of salmon. His third course of Alaskan King Troll Caught Salmon with Beets, Celeriac, and Herb Salad is served with a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc from Cloudy Bay. I believe that's the Sauvignon Blanc that is popularly believed to have made New Zealand wines famous. Some diners bitch about the beets but others like them. Over at the judges' table, Colicchio snarks on the very thin heart-shaped potatoes that seam up the middle of the salmon fillet. "Oh, my god, that is SO precious," Gail says. Hard to tell if she's being sarcastic or not. Ripert says the salmon is "very rich" and Colicchio adds that because of that, the dish is "crying out for acid." "Lemon juice!" Padmadala announces. Yes, very good, dear, lemon juice is an acid. Go eat your fish. Ripert thinks the Sauvignon Blanc has a "certain acidity" that goes well with the salmon. I haven't heard him say that the dish needs more acid, so I always took his comment about the wine to mean that the acidity of the wine balances the richness of the salmon.