Quickfire Challenge. Create a breakfast amuse-bouche, a small mouthful instead of a big Denny's platter or something. A number of the chefs have a problem with the one-bite concept of the amuse-bouche. The bottom dwellers include Daniel, whose cornflake-crusted stuffed zucchini flower is deemed too sweet and Fabio, whose brioche and espresso cream shot is not savory enough for guest judge Rocco DiSpirito. The top three are Stefan, who creates a huevos rancheros inside a whole egg shell, Leah, who makes a perfect one-bite meal of layered grilled bed, bacon, quail egg, and fried sage, and Jamie, who makes a BLT breakfast sandwich that's a little bigger than one bite. Rocco really liked both Jamie and Leah, but he goes with Leah as the winner. She wins a copy of Rocco's new book. Yay?
Elimination Challenge. The cheftestants must create a dish for a two-and-a-half minute live television presentation. They will do their presentations for the judges in the kitchen, and will be judged on that as well as the quality of their dish. Rocco cautions them to pick something simple so that the home chef can follow along and so that they eliminate the possibility of mistakes. Gale, Padma, Tom, and Rocco stand around and bug the cheftestants while they try to demonstrate, and a bunch of them run out of time. Jamie makes a duck egg salad, and doesn't have time to fully cook the egg, which is bad times. Alex makes a poor choice in creating crème brulee, which takes way too long to cook. Melissa's shrimp is way too spicy, and Colicchio even spits it out. Some did well though. Fabio charms the pants off the judges, Jeff's confidence and easy manner wins them over, and Ariane's Jersey beefsteak tomato salad with watermelon and feta cheese is seen as a real winner. After announcing the top three and bottom three, Padma tells them they'll have Judges' Table the next day.
Tom wakes up the top three super early in the morning and informs them that their dishes will be on the Today Show that morning. The chefs themselves don't get to go on the show, but the hosts will taste the food. I guess the Today Show producers didn't want the rank amateurs on the show. Or more likely, they didn't want to let spoilers out back in July or August or whenever this aired. Kathy Lee Gifford, the old drama queen, spits out Jeff's crazy Middle Eastern cabbage roll. The hosts huddle up and choose Ariane as the winner.
At Judges' Table, Ariane gets a set of cooking tools hand picked by Rocco, and she also gets to present a dish live on Today the morning after the episode airs. The bottom three, Melissa, Jamie, and Alex get called in. Melissa is told that her spicy shrimp dish was too spicy, to the point where no one could even take more than one bite. Jamie knows that her egg wasn't cooked well, and she gets chided for not rolling with it by flipping the egg, and also for withdrawing and looking angry while the judges ate her food. Alex explains that he wanted to be different in choosing a dessert, but he knows now it was the wrong choice because it took too long to prep. Melissa intimates to the judges (without flat out saying it) that Alex doesn't want to be there, since he's talked in the house about how he's getting married soon and is more concerned about that than the competition. Ultimately, the judges tell Alex to pack his knives and go.
Morning in the Cheftestant Apartment. Jeff works out on the balcony. I wonder if he packed free weights in his suitcase. That is one thing that I would never in a million years think to pack. Anyway, Ariane interviews that it's a new day and she just wants to keep her streak going, since she kind of redeemed herself in the last Challenge. Alex is sad that Richard left, because they were roommates. Richard left a letter, and Alex reads it to Jamie and Carla: "It may sound crappy to say this, but you've got a friend out of this competition. That being said, here's the crappy part. Fuck the rest of them." They're all in tears, so I guess the rest of the letter must have been pretty sad, because that one snippet sure wasn't. Alex adds that he misses his family and friends and feels homesick, but he wants to continue competing. Jamie interviews that she's fine being the last remaining member of Team Rainbow, and she even has a rainbow bracelet. Never forget!
The cheftestants arrive at the kitchen for the Quickfire Challenge. They find Rocco DiSpirito waiting there with Padma. Fabio explains for the five people in the audience that don't know about him that Rocco is a famous American chef who cooks Italian food. I was pretty down on Rocco after his disastrous reality show, but then he was on Dancing with the Stars this season and either he got a better PR agent who told him how to act or he has actually cleaned up his act, because he was kind of charming. I'm not totally won over, but I don't hate him as I once did. Padma introduces Rocco and then says, "It's time for brefffffast." That's how she pronounces breakfast. I think she and Rocco got into the mimosas before taping started. Jamie is immediately freaked out, and explains in an interview that she doesn't like breakfast and never eats it. I never eat breakfast because I'm not hungry first thing in the morning, but I do love breakfast foods. Apparently, Jamie does not agree with me on that one. The challenge is to "create a breakfast amuse-bouche." Stefan explains that an amuse-bouche is a one-bite dish meant to showcase a chef's talents. Rocco advises everyone to use bacon, because he really loves it. Wow, I never would have guessed that, porky.
They get thirty minutes, so as soon as Padma calls time, they all go racing around the kitchen. Stefan has a crazy device that allows you to cut a perfect round off the top of an eggshell instead of just cracking it in half willy-nilly. Jeff is overwhelmed because he has a ton of breakfast ideas and he knows that he probably won't have another opportunity to cook them. Daniel reminisces about his childhood breakfast: cornflakes and zucchini flowers. Yum? I don't get that, but as mentioned in previous recaps, I'm kind of a hick and I'm the biggest mutt ever so I grew up eating the most bland white trash food of all time. Lots of cream of whatever soups and fried foods. So it's taken me a while to refine my palate, and I'm still working on it. Thus, no zucchini flowers. Ariane is making a dish she makes for her kids that combines French toast and bacon. Fabio doesn't eat eggs and bacon for breakfast, and instead wants something sweet with some fruit and a cappuccino. Leah is focused on making the perfect bite, with perfect flavors. Jeff tries to skewer some fruit but his hands are shaking and the fruit goes flying off. Melissa breaks the yolk on her egg by accident and has to go running for another. Padma warns that they only have three minutes so everyone rushes and then time is called.