Gail Simmons

Gail Simmons explains why Jen's undercooked lamb didn't send her home.

on Sep 19, 2013 People liked Jen's dish, but I think it sort of came down to the question of whether or not the lamb was undercooked. Even the chefs in the kitchen thought maybe it was.
GS: I thought the lamb was a little undercooked. I didn't have a problem with it personally, but I know that's a very subjective question. In general, I do think it was undercooked for the majority of people there and for how lamb really should be. It was just a little too pink in the center, almost blue. I think that was daunting for a lot of people. I also wish it had been more seared on the outside, that she would have developed a little more crust or char, which would have given it more flavor and also helped the texture. There's a lot of fat on the outside of a lamb chop like that. If you don't render it down, it becomes chewy and fatty to eat.

But the grains and fennel she paired with it were absolutely outrageous! I loved that she started with the idea of porridge and, just like Mama Bear's, it was just right. And David ultimately goes home.
GS: David made it to the final four and did so with incredible finesse. I've always known how talented he was, obviously from his reputation and from knowing him over the years. But this whole season he has impressed me for so many reasons. He's a total wild man in the kitchen. You never ever know what you're going to get from him; his creativity knows no bounds. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. But he's fearless, has the best sense of humor, and he's generous too -- and all of those things are what you want in a chef.

His dish in this challenge was a soufflé. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, he chose to do something completely classic for the first time all season, which makes me think he should always just be adding 17,000 things to food instead. He took a big risk because even though it is a simple dish in its components, it is a very complicated dish in its execution. You have almost no time between the time it comes out of the oven to the time that it has to be served, or it will collapse. They looked beautiful coming out of that oven in the camera. The issue for the soufflé, especially making it for a challenge like this, is he seemed to forget that we're actually making television at the same time. In your own kitchen making a soufflé should never be a problem because you can control service, but you can't control service with a television show the same way. We're pretty good about serving the food as soon as it's hot; we take it very seriously on our set. But things happen, and there are delays. You just never know. So David took that risk, and because everyone else's dishes were so strong that day, when it got to the table, it had collapsed. The texture was a little bit funny, and of the four dishes, it was the weakest. That's not to say that it wasn't good, but it was just the weakest of what we had in front of us, which is how we had to judge it.

So, goodbye, David. We will miss you. I cannot wait to see what he does next because there's no doubt in my mind, it will be spectacular. Final thoughts?
GS: The next week is the finale! I wear orange. It's a really great episode, and I'm excited to finally see it all come together as well.

Also, Curtis and I will be doing a live Facebook chat on Top Chef Masters' Facebook page HERE during the finale at 10:40 p.m. EST. Talk to me, people.