Josie feels bad! No, not because it's totally her fault that Kristen left. She feels bad because she thinks everyone else feels it's her fault that Kristen left. WAAAAH!
Quickfire Challenge: Katsuya Uechi, master sushi chef, challenges them to create a dish to impress a sushi master. The least favorites are Lizzie, who inexplicably made a soup, and Josh, who made a breakfast sandwich on rice. The favorites were Brooke, who had nice, clean flavors, and Stefan, who threw something together last minute. Interesting that the top two are both from LA and probably eat sushi a lot. Anyway, Stefan wins his first Quickfire but there's no immunity this week, just cash.
Elimination Challenge: Guest judge David Chang (Ma Peche, Momofuku) arrives and Tom announces that the cheftestants will be cooking a meal for a group of famous chefs, and they each need to cook a fried chicken dish. Josh and Josie go with a more traditional dish, while everyone else puts a twist on it. There are numerous equipment issues and, this will be a shocker, Josie has time management issues. But here's what was ultimately served:
Sheldon: Umami drumsticks and thighs, wings with usukuchi and grapeseed oil (a la Momofuku). Sheldon burned his first batch of wings so he didn't serve enough so that each judge could have one. Even so, the judges thought his chicken was crunchy and not greasy, and they admired that he did something different.
Lizzie: chicken with coriander, black pepper, and brown sugar with peach cabbage slaw. Poor foreign Lizzie served what are basically chicken tenders, and while the judges liked them, they couldn't believe Lizzie took a whole chicken and served them a boneless breast.
Josie: chicken with black garlic, cayenne, thyme, and hot sauce with daikon salad. Josie did nothing but brag about her Southern fried chicken, but the judges thought it was overly greasy and bland.
Stefan: chicken cordon bleu with garlic aoli and lemon. The judges are disappointed that he did something so simple and pedestrian and of course, Wolfgang makes a boob joke.
Josh: smoked fried chicken with hot sauce and blue cheese. The judges love the smoky flavor, and think that it could be crispier but it had the most flavor of anything on the table.
Brooke: dukkah-crusted chicken breast over wilted escarole and tomato salad. Poor Brooke is having an awful day. She decided to serve boneless breasts, which was mistake number one. She somehow both ran out of time and had extra time at the end, so she kept her chicken warm in the oven and then refried it, so it unsurprisingly turned out dry. AND, it turns out that two of the diners, the guys who own Animal, interviewed for line cook jobs with Brooke years ago and she didn't hire them. Man. So anyway, they hate her chicken.
The cheftestants have to wait for the next morning for Judges' Table. Josh, Sheldon, and Lizzie are the top three. They liked Lizzie's crunchiness and especially her side salad, but were disappointed she used boneless breasts. They liked Sheldon's sweet and savory dish, but he didn't give them enough chicken. Ultimately, they choose Josh's twist on a traditional recipe as the winner.
That means Brooke, Stefan, and Josie are the bottom three. Brooke's biggest mistake was cutting up the chicken, and she overthought the whole process. And then holy crap is Tom sick of Josie's shit and it is REALLY satisfying. She tries to blame her equipment and then that she didn't have enough time for why her chicken was greasy and Tom just shuts her down. And THEN she has the nerve to say that everyone else who ate the chicken liked it, and Tom is like, "Oh, so this panel of world-renowned chefs doesn't know what we're talking about?" Stefan tries to say he was serving the fried chicken of Europe and Wolfgang and Tom call him on his shit. It really was lazy of Stefan. I mean, seriously? I think chicken cordon bleu was the first "grown up" meal I learned how to make. Tom accuses him of making something he thought would just get him through instead of trying to win.
The judges debate. They can't believe Brooke cut up the chicken, which made it flavorless. She's just lucky that the others screwed up worse. Padma thinks Josie made fried chicken, but Tom points out that it was greasy and nasty and even guest judge David Chang sees that her timing issue is unacceptable. And they're mad at Stefan for lying and saying that he doesn't know fried chicken, and they're also like, "Who even serves chicken cordon bleu anymore?" I mean, if he had done SOMETHING with it, like made it a bite, or used interesting ham and cheese or a unique breading or SOMETHING.
Anyway, they send Josie home, thank GOD. I can't wait to watch her lose again on Last Chance Kitchen, and I know Tom at least is wondering why the fudge they brought her back.
Sheldon is riding high after his Restaurant Wars win, as well he should be. It certainly got him some respect in this competition, and with Kristen out now, maybe he's a frontrunner. Brooke tells Stefan and Sheldon that if she ever in a million years thought that Kristen would be eliminated, she would have said something in her defense to the judges. Stefan interviews that Kristen should have thrown Josie under the bus, because it's a competition. They all hope Kristen will return via Last Chance Kitchen.
Josie is whining to Lizzie that she feels "heavy" but she refuses to roll over and take the blame for someone else. Like Kristen did? Josie dabs at her eyes and says she doesn't care what others think. She doesn't? Lizzie interviews that Josie thinks everyone else thinks she should have gone home. What Lizzie is too nice to say is that Josie should have gone home and everyone does hate her.
The cheftestants enter the kitchen to find Padma waiting with master sushi chef Katsuya Uechi. So their Quickfire Challenge is to impress a sushi master. He advises them to keep it simple: rice and fish, and make your diners happy. Padma explains that there will no longer be immunity, but they can win $5,000. And... go!
Scramble, scramble, scramble. Brooke interviews that she and her husband probably eat sushi three times a week but it's scary to cook for the master. Josh is less experienced with sushi, since he lives in Oklahoma. Kind of landlocked, that state. So Josh is making a breakfast sandwich, which Stefan interviews is really dumb and he might get his fingers cut off like the Japanese mafia. Stefan is having chef's block in that he can't figure out what to make. Sheldon thinks everyone will be looking at him since he's Asian, but he doesn't make a lot of sushi. His twist is making lemon charcoal but setting a lemon on fire. Interesting idea. I wonder if it tastes anything like lemon or just tastes burnt. Josie has sushi experience, in that at least she knows not to handle the fish too much lest the heat from your hands start to cook the fish slightly. Josie tells no one (because no one asked) that she's doing New England clam chowder sort of? And then interviews that she's had sushi parties where you eat sushi off naked women. Wasn't that only a thing people did on reality shows in like 2005? That was something people did in real life? I guess Josie did.
Stefan finally gets started, and decides to make two items. He doesn't really explain why he's doing two or how they complement one another. Lizzie interviews that she hasn't made sushi in about ten years, and sushi isn't her art. I get that. Sushi is so specific and if you don't live in a coastal area, you probably don't have much experience with it.