Quickfire Challenge, as judged by French cuisine god Daniel Boulud, is to make a dish with snails as the protein. Winner gets immunity and the loser goes home. Home! Because of snails! After all of the dishes are presented and tasted, Kevin is named the winner due to his snail dish including his own bacon jam recipe. Jesse, Ashley, and Robin are named as the three worst, and they are given a second chance, with thirty minutes to create an amuse-bouche out of anything in the kitchen. At least they won't be going home because of snails. Robin makes a crab-avocado soup, Jesse makes a tuna tartare with a fried quail egg, and Ashley makes a foie gras with caramelized pineapple. And then Jesse is told to pack her knives and leave. And she doesn't even get to hear it from Padma! And Tom says it wrong, because it's supposed to be "pack your knives and go."
For the Elimination Challenge, the cheftestants draw knives, each of which has either a French sauce or a French protein. They'll be paired up to create a dish pairing sauce with protein, and they have to serve it to some of the best French chefs in the world, including Joel Robuchon, who was named chef of the century in France. The cheftestants are suitably awed. And Kevin gets a bonus for winning the Quickfire; he doesn't have to cook in the challenge, and he gets to eat with all the famous and talented chefs. So here are the pairings and dishes:
Ron and Robin: frog legs Meuniere with lemon confit, mache and arugula salad with fried capers. After all Ron's bitching about Robin's flightiness, it was his frog legs that were overly breaded and too heavy on the flour.
Mike I. and Bryan: warm cured trout with deconstructed béarnaise. The judges enjoy the deconstructed take on the béarnaise sauce.
Eli and Laurine: Lobster, sauce Americaine and cauliflower puree. They lobster is overcooked and the sauce is bitter.
Ashley and Mattin: Seared poussin and ravioli with sauce veloute and green asparagus. It's interesting that asparagus showed up in the final dish since Mattin argued against it. The judges acknowledge that the chefs worked hard, but Mattin put too much bacon in the sauce and the ravioli is dry.
Jen and Mike V.: rabbit chasseur with mustard noodle and shiso. The judges find it exceptional, especially because rabbit is difficult to prepare.
Hector and Ash: chateaubriand, sauce au poivre with confit de pommes and spinach. Hector has trouble getting the beef cooked properly and Ash's sauce is too thin.
The two top teams are Mike I. and Bryan along with Mike V. and Jen. And the winner is Bryan! Man, the Voltaggio brothers are just dominating this season, no? As the winner, Bryan gets to work for Chef Robuchon for a week at his Vegas restaurant.
The bottom teams are Mattin and Ashley, and Hector and Ash. Mattin and Ashley get criticized for poor use of asparagus and overuse of bacon. Hector and Ash get asked where their missing sauce went, and Ash explains that the overcooked meat absorbed it. Hector tries to explain what went wrong with his meat, but it all boils down to the meat being overcooked and under rested. And so Hector is told to pack his knives and go (not leave, Tom).
If you'll just indulge me for one quick second, I recently found out that this will be the 900th recap I've had published on the site, and the site itself is nearing its ten-year anniversary in a few weeks. I just want to thank all those who are still out there reading and all those who gave me the opportunity to discuss, as Homer Simpson called it, "Television -- teacher, mother, secret lover."
And on with the show. Hector makes coffee for everyone using a French press, or it might be espresso, since they all seem to be drinking shot glasses of it. Mike I. interviews that he feels like he almost gets to the top every time, and he just needs to take that extra step. Yeah, if only those useless women would get out of his way!
Meanwhile, some other chefs are sitting outside chatting and Robin is all by her lonesome. Does no one like her, or did she just want some solitude? The other chefs are talking about how many big-name chefs are in Vegas, so any one of them could show up for a challenge. Robin interviews that she's annoyed that it's been all women to go home thus far, and she doesn't want the men to get too cocky. So then everyone packs their knives and heads to Daniel Boulud's Brasserie.
They're greeted by Colicchio and Daniel Boulud. Colicchio gives him an introduction, explaining how he's a legend, but Eli sums it up by saying that "he's the baddest motherfucker there is" when it comes to French food. Colicchio says that a lot of Americans are eating French food these days, but the one French food that hasn't made the cut yet is the humble snail. Jen explains that snails are a delicate protein, and thus difficult to prepare, and she observes that "whoever thought a snail looked good to eat had to be really fucking hungry." I seriously love her more every day.
So the Quickfire Challenge is to make a dish using snails as the main protein. Boulud adds that he expects to see a dish he's never seen before. And then Colicchio drops the bomb: the winner of this Quickfire will get immunity and the loser will be going home. It's a Quickfire Elimination, y'all! Damn. And over snails! I would be so pissed if I had to go home because of snails. They have forty-five minutes to cook, and they can use whatever they can find in Boulud's kitchen and pantry.
Time starts. Kitchen clusterfuck. Ashley is already cursing like a sailor. Everyone is running around like a crazy person. Mike I. reveals that his cooking background is Greek, and snails are a delicacy in Crete, so he feels like he knows what to do, and can probably bring some different flavors, since everyone else will likely give their dishes a French flair. Kevin explains that snails don't have a lot of inherent flavor so you boost the flavor with what you add to the dish. Hector is worried since French food is totally not his thing.