In addition to their planned menu, the chefs were surprised by Artisinal's Terrance Brennan, who taskted them with creating cheese course. Rocco's response to Corey's dish was proably more unbridled than we've seen all season, but honestly his Fried Saint-Marcellin Cheese with Swedish Country Lingon Berries just sounded delicious, and apparently it was. Overall, Corey created a lot of items in a very short amount of time -- his own bread, jam -- which he provided as a take-away, and more. Not all of the guests were in love with his country decor, but in the end, his total dinner party experience edged out Nicole's. I was worried that he did too many things and it would hurt him. I actually had a flashback to the Top Chef Season 1 finale where Tiffani Faison actually lost to Harold Dieterle because she provided too many options, and some fell short. This time, though, Corey's entrees seemed to be his only downfall, and they weren't bad enough to cost him the win.
While the guests seemed jovial and pleased with Nicole's Spring in New York theme, her dishes just weren't quite right. Not only was there a sort of "been there, done that" vibe to her design direction (Jes Gordon shares more on this in her blog), but tuna tartare? Sure, it's a crowd pleaser, but it's also kinda boring. And it wasn't a tartare. The soup accompanying her cheese course was cold, and she almost burned down the kitchen! (I exaggerate obviously.) Deborah's "blue" beef was probably the tipping point, though. Rocco is big on asking guests how they'd like their meat cooked. Not only did Nicole not do that but she gave her rare meat when she usually it's eat well-done!