The chef’s teaching styles stayed the same as in the Quickfire, but the ultimate goal was different in this challenge. Chris seemed to want the kids to gain a deeper appreciation of food, where it comes from, how it tastes and how it contributes to a wider range of flavors. Lorena wanted her kids to understand what it feels like to love what you do, to have a passion and give it all you’ve got. Kerry, who interestingly also went to vocational school, had his sights set on success. He thought of his students as chefs, not kids, and consequently pushed them to perform to a level they didn’t even know they could achieve.
As for the dishes, they were all delicious, impressive, and reflected the spirit of our chefs. Chris’ Pork Loin with Hazelnut Brown Butter, Apples & Watercress was so elegant and simple; every element of the dish reflected the beauty of the other ingredients on the plate. That’s extremely difficult to achieve. While Ruth didn’t see Lorena’s Three Meat Lasagna and Arugula Salad as restaurant-worthy, I thought the family-style presentation showed how Lorena sees food as a way to connect people. But it was Kerry’s Florentine-Inspired Chicken with Orzo and Asparagus Ragout that blew us all away. Kerry’s exacting standards resulted in his students creating a dish so flavorful and professionally crafted that it could easily have been served in a fine restaurant.
At this stage, it’s ridiculously difficult to send anyone home. Saying goodbye to Lorena and her scrappy, never-say-die spirit was sad for all of us. All the best, Lorena! It was such a joy to have you on this season. Next up, the finale! With Chris and Kerry in the mix, it’s going to be quite a showdown.