Team Earth brings up the rear, but Antonia, with her bionic palate, "tasted our dish, I thought it tasted good," so their beef Carpaccio with mushroom salad and sunchoke aioli should be in the clear. Except for the fact that, other than rosemary ("a bad choice," thinks Gail), it's bland and tasteless. Ming yearns for some fleur de sel on the meat, while Colicchio says "these are earthy ingredients and there's nothing earthy about them at all." Even the other diners are unimpressed -- one woman "can't taste anything," while another thinks that someone from this team will be sent home tonight. "Ooh, ouch," says her dining companion, and I want to hang out with them and their chardonnay. All the guests will be filling out comment cards, so
Antonia, Spike and Zoi should probably be worried.
As the judges catalog their first impressions, Gail calls the shrimp "clearly my favorite." She "loved the heat" and "thought it was the perfect first course," while Ming praises the acid from the pickling mixed with the salt from the bacon. Everyone loves the bacon. "Bacon added to anything is not a bad situation," claims Gail, and boy is she right. Regarding the salmon, Ming says the scales "ruined it for me," while Gail feels the choice of cooking method left the salmon textureless. Although Tom "didn't quite get" the duck dish, Gail likes the salad, which she calls "crunchy and flavorful and bright." Which leaves the Carpaccio, for Colicchio "the most disappointing dish of all." Gail criticizes the utter lack of seasoning, which Colicchio reveals "bothers me more than anything else."
For luck, Lisa suggests burning the little card that designated their area and says "FIRE," and as it smolders she expresses confidence in their performance -- great flavor, great technique. Richard, however, thinks Team Water will have their asses handed to them; while he liked the concept, he "wasn't happy with the execution," or himself. As they walk out of the kitchen, I see he's wearing pink crocs. There are so many things wrong with his choice of footwear that I can't even begin to describe them.