Unlike previous weeks, this Elimination Challenge created quite a bit of conflict in the kitchen. It makes sense. To completely run a restaurant, the chefs had to switch back into a 200-covers-on-a Saturday-night mode. All of these chefs are used to running the ship—from the kitchen. Lorena and Art were in a tough spot. Not only did they have to work the front of the house (and there aren’t a whole lot of chefs who can do that), they had to give up control of plating their own dishes. In the kitchen, Kerry seemed a bit overwhelmed expediting, but his Braised Pork Belly with Chinese Mustard Greens and Taro Root Puree was truly outstanding and a very close second for the win to Chris’ Sirloin Steak Larb Tartare.
Every kitchen moves to its own unique rhythm, which is set by the chef, the executive chef or chef de cuisine. It’s the critical hum that makes service if not flawless at least possible. In this case, our chefs seemed to be competing to control that rhythm, so egos were bruised, timing was off, and in Patricia’s case, food wasn’t prepared properly.
In the end, though, it was Art’s dish that didn’t meet the challenge. It was sad to see him go. Art’s love of food is matched only by his love of life. He’s a great spirit and he’s made some amazing dishes for us this season. Best of luck, Art!