Quickfire Challenge: Guest judge Dana Cowin presides over a dumpling-making competition. They each get a different kind of international dumpling and five minutes with a product-placed Internet-enabled tablet to research what they're making. Kuniko doesn't get a dumpling on the plate for judging. Carla doesn't understand the Internet (plus has a bandaged hand) so she doesn't even get to learn what her dumpling was supposed to be. Brooke doesn't manage to get any flour so her dumpling has no wrapper, which is kind of a meatball, right? Micah, Stefan, and Josie are the top three, and the winner is Josie.
Immunity Challenge. Create a Thanksgiving meal for the staff of a non-profit called Fare Start. The cheftestants are divided into two teams; one is headed by Tom Colicchio and the other is headed by Emeril. Here are the menus:
Emeril's Team: Cajun Thanksgiving:
Josie: triple spice turkey with cayenne and hot sauce. Apparently, Josie's never heard of a meat thermometer because the turkey is nearly raw inside. I mean, it looks like a ham, it's so pink. Good thing she has immunity.
Danyele: Emeril's mom's dressing, bread stuffing with chorizo and cayenne. Judges think it's okay but not much to say.
John: Emeril's cornbread stuffing with ground turkey and diced bacon. Judges also think it's okay with no much to say.
Kristen: assiette of root vegetables, parsnip truffle puree, and crème fraiche. Emeril liked the idea and Padma liked the presentation, but it was underseasoned and Tom didn't think the crème fraiche was necessary.
Tyler: andouille and shrimp gumbo. The judges thought it was a little bitter and lacking depth.
Kuniko: potato pave, which was raw and underseasoned. She once again screwed up the timing.
Sheldon: braised greens with ham hocks. Tom liked the flavor but thought they were undercooked.
Brooke: sweet potato buttermilk biscuits. The judges loved these.
Chrissy: white chocolate and pecan bread pudding. High marks.
John: spiced pumpkin and goat cheese ricotta torte. Judges liked the flavor but not the texture.
Tom Colicchio's team: Italian-inspired Thanksgiving
CJ: Braised turkey with Tom's stuffing. The judges think it's moist and the skin is great.
Carla: carrot soup with turkey meatballs. The judges love the creamy soup and say the meatballs are perfect.
Bart: fennel, gorgonzola, orange and pumpkin seed salad. There's that fennel again! Dana thinks it's great, but Padma thought it needed refinement.
Josh: sweet potato ravioli with pecans. Emeril thought the dough was tough and Tom explains how Josh made mistakes in forming the ravioli which led to the dough being too thick.
Micah: roasted Brussels sprouts with cranberries, bacon, and shallots. Dana thinks they're underseasoned and a little greasy.
Lizzie: potato puree. The judges know it's a basic dish, but think that Lizzie did an amazing job.
Stefan: panna cotta with orange cardamom crisp and candied pecans. Didn't he make something like this for the finals in his season? The judges don't love the jam, but Padma and Tom are divided on the use of cardamom.
Eliza: chocolate tart with white chocolate and mint syrup. The judges think it's a little much.
The judges unanimously choose Tom's team as the overall winners. Carla, CJ, and Lizzie are chosen as the top three, and Carla is the overall winner. CJ looks pissed because he not only cooked the turkey but also oversaw the entire operation. He's too classy to bitch about it, though.
The bottom four are Tyler, Kuniko, Sheldon, and Josie. Well, we know Josie's not going home because she has immunity, but the judges wanted to tell her that her team lost because her turkey was undercooked. Tyler's gumbo was underseasoned, Kuniko's potatoes were undercooked AND underseasoned, and Sheldon's greens were undercooked. When you put it like that, it's obvious that Kuniko's the one going home, and she does. She seems like a great chef, but she just wasn't cut out for this competition, where the clock is so important.
In fight news, Carla and Stefan mix it up during prep, and John gets on everyone's nerves in the Stew Room when he delivers him eighteen-billionth lecture on the magic of cooking and blah blah blah, and he gets in a scrap with CJ. CJ! The gentle giant! Yeesh.
Starting right out with the Quickfire this week! Padma introduces the cheftestants to their guest judge, who is a familiar face around these parts, Dana Cowin, editor-in-chief of Food and Wine magazine. Padma points to a world map behind her, and says that there are magnetic knife signs representing seventeen dumplings from seventeen different countries. They will each choose one in a scrum, and then have an hour to make it. Since some of the cuisine may be unfamiliar, they will also get to use a product-placed tablet to look up information about their chosen dumpling. Dana reminds them that she wants to see what they can do with a wrapper, a stuffing, and sauce. And...go!
Micah ends up getting screwed on the scrum and gets Kazakhstan, which he didn't even know was a country. Luckily, he can look it up online and find out that it's very Middle Eastern, and he's familiar with that flavor profile. Carla gets a fufu from Africa, and she struggles with her tablet since she's got a bandaged hand. That said, she had five minutes and couldn't manage to type fufu into Google? Apparently not. So she has to go into the kitchen and make...something? I guess she's just going to make it up.
Stefan got the German dumpling, which hardly seems fair, but we do get to see some photos of a young Stefan. Sheldon also know about his dumpling ahead of time, unlike most of the competition. Kuniko is making a dumpling that she rally likes, but rarely makes for herself. Josie has some philosophy about dumplings being love pockets or something? I don't know. Brooke didn't grab any flour so she can't make a wrapper. How can there not be enough flour? Did someone take more than their share? I don't understand.
Cooking, cooking, cooking. Plating, plating, plating. With ten seconds left, I don't know what Kuniko is doing, but she's not putting dumplings on her plate. I think she's putting on sauce and some garnish? Anyway, time runs out and she never plated her dumplings. Is this a language issue? Like does she not understand what they're saying when they say "One minute?" I feel badly for her but she didn't look like she was even in a rush; it's not like when people haven't plated in the past, but it was because they misjudged cooking time or whatever. Her food was done. She was saucing and garnishing the plate in an unhurried manner. Weird.
Stefan is up first for judging with his German klopse, which is ground lamb, mashed potatoes, and capers. Lizzie made Hungarian szilvas gomboc, which is plum and cinnamon filling in a potato pastry. That doesn't sound good. Potato pastry with fruit? Carla made whatever, but it's wrong, so who cares. CJ made a Polish pierogi which is veal and pork and a demi-glace. I mean, who hasn't had a pierogi? Kuniko has an empty plate, and Padma explains that they can't judge her. Josie made Korean mandu, which has a pork, tofu, and shitake mushroom filling. Dana asks if kim chi is traditionally a part of this, and Josie says it is. So did Josie put kim chi in there? I don't know. Bart made Norwegian potetball, which is a potato ball with lamb and fried spaghetti. Dana asks about the fried spaghetti, and Bart says he wanted to add texture.