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Chris chose France and selected Beef Wellington as his disguise. A historical savory dish given credit to the English and the Duke of Wellington, although, Napoleon and the rest of our French ancestors were already enjoying Filet Encroute much sooner; but that’s another story…. Chris executed his cover-up perfectly. I actually thought that if I saw this dessert in a photo, it would be a real Beef Wellington. Well done, Chris! His Wellington was made with store-bought, pre-made puff pastry. We felt that he took a short-cut, but honestly it didn’t affect the integrity of his dish. His flavors, colors, and textures all came off very well. Bravo!
Orlando picked Spain and made a paella with coconut, saffron rice, compressed plums as the white fish, a crunchy chocolate tuille as the mussels, and roasted beets as the chorizo. Very colorful, flavorful, and creative, the presentation was well thought-out, but there were two obvious mistakes: the rice was cooked in a rice cooker and did not have a classic paella texture, and although the ingredients bolstered a, colorful and flavorful sweet paella, there wasn’t enough of those ingredients placed in our dishes. It seemed rushed!
Sally picked Cuba and made a last minute Cuban sandwich. Talk about being rushed, she wasn’t mentally prepared for this at fist, but at the end she shined the brightest! In less time than anyone else, she kicked it to a level that was in another league, and we all loved it. The only complaint was that it was hard to eat. The strawberry cream cheese mousse that was supposedly ham, squirted out the sides of our mouths as we tried to bite into our sandwiches. Very playful, tasty, and successfully-executed otherwise!
All the chefs really stepped their game and put wonderful desserts out to our Judges' Table! This was a tough one, but Orlando’s dessert at the end just didn’t have enough to get him to the final round. As he put it, he “edited himself” a little too much. Time to find that passport and fly to Spain, Orlando. I’m sure you’ll find success anywhere you decide to jet to. Bon voyage, Orlando, and to the rest of our chefs: Congratulations!