Posted by: Lauren on Mar 8, 2011
Wow…we are down to the final five here. I can’t believe how close we are getting to the end. Richard is particularly sad about Dale’s departure, and I think he really respected him as a chef. I wish Mike wasn’t still here, mostly because he is annoying. I am surprised that Tiffany is still here, because she has been in the bottom so frequently and has made mediocre food so often. I do like her, at least.
Padma shows up at the apartment seconds after Antonia and Tiffany were talking about that very thing, and they are a bit spooked by it. She takes them up to the roof, to tell them and us pretty much nothing about the quickfire.
Quickfire: Create a dish using only what you can find on the ferry snack bar.
Once onboard a ferry to Ellis Island, the chefs learn that there challenge is to use the foods onboard the ferry to make a dish. Their time limit is from when the ferry sounds its first horn (as it leaves) to when it sounds the horn again as it docks. The catch here is that the chefs don’t know how long that trip will take (unless they spend a lot of time on this ferry, I guess).
The food on board is mostly junk food…chips and hot dogs and the like. They have basically no kitchen equipment, and their main cooking apparatus appears to be a rotating hot dog griller. Richard, amazingly, has a contraption in his knife bag that is a bag with some chemical in it that heats up when a liquid is added to it. It is the kind of mechanism that cooks the Meals Ready to Eat (MRE) packaged foods serviceman receive on duty. Having sampled some of these fine meals, I should take a minute to thank all of our armed forces again for their service. That stuff is not good.
Guest Judge this week is Dan Barber, who is apparently about sustainable food.
Antonia: Grilled cheese with apples and raisin bread. This doesn’t look great.
Tiffany: Nachos with cheese lettuce, tomato, jalapeno, banana pepper and sour cream. This is what I am talking about with Tiffany…so unimaginative. She is basically just serving what this ferry’s snack bar would serve anyways.
Richard: Hot dog, beef jerky sandwich with jalapeno, pork rinds, lettuce and apple. These are fancy looking hot dogs and the judges seem to like it.
Mike: Bread soup with cheddar cheese, sour cream, green chili and pork rinds. This soup looks so disgusting, I can’t even tell you. It is all oily and bright orange.
Carla: Orange and papaya salad with carrot and rosemary juice. Although I give Carla props for trying something remotely fresh, this dish looks weird. There is all this watery juice stuff in her bowl (nacho tray) and then the fruit looks all gloopy.
This must have been a tough challenge, as all of these foods look disgusting.
Bottom 2: Tiffany is in the bottom for her dumb nachos. Mike is in the bottom for his disgusting soup.
Top 3: Richard is in the top for his tasty hot dog, Antonia is in the top for her sandwich and Carla is in the top for a refreshing salad.
The winner is…Carla! We don’t learn about what she wins. Pride, I guess.
Elimination Challenge: Create a dish based on your ancestry.
Padma explains the challenge on Ellis Island, and she tells the chefs they will be meeting with a genealogy expert to learn more about their histories. There are also special guests, who are the chef’s family members. There is much crying and hugging. Tiffany’s mom, Carla’s husband, Antonia’s mom, Mike’s mom and Richard’s wife all show up.
They don’t actually meet with this genealogist, but just review her profiles of them with their family members (details below). There is shopping, cooking and then service begins, with the family members eating the food too. I feel like this will make it harder for the judges to tell us if something isn’t good. You just can’t say “this tasted like a pig’s asshole” to someone’s mom.
Antonia: Antonia finds out that she and Mike are distantly related, and Antonia is further disgusted by him. Her dish is braised veal, rapini leaf and fava bean risotto. Everyone at the table enjoys the dish.
Tiffany: We don’t find out much about Tiffany’s family, except that they are from Lousiana. She decides to make okra, even though Tom Colicchio hates it. We’ll see how this goes. She has done braised short rib with mustard greens, stewed okra and oxtail marmalade. Wow. There have been a lot of competitors for Noise of the Week today, but I think we have found our winner. Surprisingly (to me) everyone at the table enjoys this dish too. Even more surprisingly, the pig’s feet in the dish are called out as a high point. Yuck.
Richard: Richard finds out that his family is from Worcestershire. He goes with short ribs, potatoes, fried bone marrow, corn puree and pickled glasswort (a type of bean). Compliments all around, and former marrow-haters are converted.
Mike: Mike is Italian. No one cares. His dish is potato gnocchi with braised pork shank ragu and burrata cheese. Colicchio likes the gnocchi and everyone thinks it is light and good.
Carla: Carla’s great grandfather was a solider in the civil war and also (or another great grandfather) had a small business, both of which she is very proud of. Match.com gets a shout-out from Carla’s cute husband, and wouldn’t you join if you knew you could meet either of these cool people? Her husband also does an impression of Carla that cracks Gail up. Her dish is braised pork shoulder, fried grits, corn and sweet potato hash and cheddar biscuits. Man, these people got to eat a lot of braised meats tonight. I am sure no one is complaining. Everyone loves the food, again. Her husband is again adorable and just beams while everyone talks about her food.
The judges admit that this is going to be a very difficult task, but I am excited to hear what they have to say when their parents aren’t there. Wow…it is all praise here again. There is maybe one comment about tough corn, but I can’t even tell if it is a criticism. There is some stuff where Mike gets all emotional about cooking his grandmother’s foods, and I don’t know what to say about it. It seems a bit like an act, but that could be because I don’t like him. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt here.
Going into the final decision, I have absolutely no idea who is going.
The winner today will get to be in the top four and also win a Toyota that was product-placed to hell in this episode.
The winner is Antonia!! Oh, I am so happy for her. She is ecstatic.
Mike is also safe. I guess he did deserve it.
Richard looks like he is going to kill someone at the judging. So intense! Padma pulls a mean, mean trick on Richard and tells him to pack his knives, and head to the Bahamas (where the finals are). He is safe, but I think he almost shot someone.
It comes down to Carla and Tiffany.
And they are both going to the Bahamas too! This damn show is tricking all of us with its machinations. For the first time ever, there is a final five. The judges could not decide who had the best dish. I give them credit for judging this on a per-challenge basis as they have done all season. I thought Tiffany would go based on her body of work, but they didn’t do that. Props, judges.
- Noise of the Week: Oxtail marmalade. Are you kidding me, Tiffany? That one almost became vomit of the week.
- You are only getting a noise of the week this week because I am spent from that episode. Such a tense one, and then no one even went home! Damn show.
- Next week, the finals begin!