Individual feedback begins with Stephanie. Colicchio, looking for something to criticize, says the pork was slightly underseasoned, but that everything was "really tasty." Gail reveals she was a "little hesitant" about the rosemary dressing (perhaps due to last week's rosemary fiasco, but in the end she really enjoyed it. Gail then tells Antonia that "Tom had the suggestion to put the pineapple and the banana in the sandwich, and that made it even better." Antonia responds that she considered doing that, but was afraid everyone would see it as "just a sandwich." It's a tailgating party, dodo. With Dale, Gail (oooh, more rhyming!) thought "the flavors were very unusual for tailgating food," but they all worked really well in concert. Now the judges get to do their heavy lifting -- the fans chose the best dishes, but the judges pick the winner. Based on "complexity and depth of flavor," Kahan crowns Dale the tailgate king. For his troubles, Dale gets a Top Chef Bears jersey -- a nice keepsake for a hometown kid -- as well as one of the fancy Weber grills, which will keep on giving long after Lisa's returned from Italy.
Dale summons Mark, Nikki, and Ryan for a much less pleasant visit with the judges. Nikki's hoping that her presence at the table has something to do with running out ingredients before the judges appeared, but Colicchio informs her that she scored very low with the fans as well, which surprises her. Colicchio asks about her decision not to make her own sausage, and she again gives the "not enough time" reason, as Colicchio points out that Richard, by making sausage patties (sorry, patés), "essentially did the same thing." Gail didn't see "a lot of care given to the sandwich itself," and calls the sausage (and the sandwich in general) "dry." Nikki tries to differentiate between what she served early on -- "red peppers, onions, it looked beautiful, the sauce was there," which inspired several repeat takers -- and what she gave the judges, but they're not having it. Curious about how the shrimp related to the overall dish, Kahan discovers that it didn't -- Nikki just wanted to have something else to serve. He suggests mixing the sausage and the shrimp together, which would have tasted good and offered "an interesting spin" on a classic. Just don't run out of shit, counsels Colicchio.
Next up: Ryan, grinning douchily. Colicchio attacks the pear first, wondering why he would choose a dessert that "in a million years I would never think to see at a tailgate party." Bypassing the question, Ryan explains that he wanted to deliver a "whole dining experience at my table," which is somewhat antithetical to the idea of the tailgate, and that he doesn't think a dessert option was "too left field." Nice sports metaphor, metrosexual. Gail has no truck with dessert, but thinks "there would have been options that would have been more appropriate." But, says Ryan, he wanted to bring a California sensibility and a lighter touch to the food -- too bad his bread salad was "dry" -- and do something different to differentiate himself from the group. He says most of this in one stream of consciousness spew of nonsense, and it's amusing to watch Nikki try not to laugh while Colicchio gets more and more annoyed. Finally, Colicchio interrupts him with a reminder about the fact that it was a tailgate party, for crying out loud.