Elimination prep and cook begins. Team Bear's menu is venison loin with squash, seared salmon, stuffed mushrooms, and cheese and honeycomb on bread, with Nikki handling the final two dishes. On Team Penguin, Lisa and Andrew seem to be riffing well off of each other -- I could see all three of them working smoothly together, maybe because I can see that right now. They'll be presenting a Thai shrimp and crab salad, roasted zucchini, squid ceviche, and a yuzu and mint "glacier." As Lisa describes everything, it sounds really good -- I love the idea of the zucchini with anchovies. Andrew's doing the glacier using a thickening agent he brought, and it'll be a sort of "flavored glacier jelly mold concept," designed to cleanse the palate before guests move to the next table. It's a smart idea, especially if it works, although the term "jelly mold" is an immediate turn-off. Damn if he's not growing on me, just a little.
Not to be outdone, Richard whips out his toys as well, one of which looks awesome -- like a machine out of a 1950s space movie. Erik's not really up on Richard's "foams and crazy juices" but he's going along, hoping to impress the guest judge. Stephanie's at work on the banana bread -- it's from her mother's recipe and, in the diet meeting, she DID speak up to insist on including something banana in the menu. That's an appropriately gimmicky response to the challenge -- I'm not sure they will get credit for including banana, but I bet they'd get dinged if they didn't. Valerie's blinis look like little chocolate chip pancakes ["Which...how horrifying to think you're getting chocolate chips and instead you get olives. I might not ever recover from that." -- Joe R], and as she discuss her anxiety about cooking blinis in advance, and then transporting and serving them later, you can start to see where this is headed.
Colicchio, looking resplendent in blue, walks in and immediately asks everyone what they think of the challenge, the look on his face betraying the fact that he thinks it's a dumb as I do. He's skeptical of the glacier's ability to remain a glacier, but Team Penguin seems confident. Team Vulture's menu appears -- they're keeping it a bit simpler with only three dishes: braised chicken on a tostada chip, a Moroccan lamb meatballs, and an anchovy on a quinoa croquette. Spike and Andrew get a little flirty over what Spike calls Andrew's "icicles" -- they should totally make out, and I'll watch. Team Bear's mushrooms look like charred brown briquettes, or turds, opines Spike, and "Who wants to put a turd in their mouth?" More people than one might think, probably. Oh, and dogs. The mushrooms are officially downgraded to "might be served." Meanwhile, Stephanie's crackers are soggy, quite likely beyond repair, and as everyone loads their output for transport to the zoo, it looks like we're in for a Bear/Gorilla showdown.