What makes Thanksgiving food so delicious anyway? That I can tell you: the colors and creamy flavors of roasted fall vegetables; the caramelized golden skin and richness of turkey meat; the tart, bright tang of cranberry sauce and the sweet, velvety texture of warm pumpkin pie are all pretty hard to resist. At no point did we ask the chefs who were cooking our meal to depart from these time-honored traditions. We merely asked them to give us a modern twist on them and hoped the food would still taste good. I will never understand why Carlos decided to stick with a salad. I know he believed adding roasted squash and queso fresco would set him apart, but compared to the work done by every other member of that team, it could not compare, even against dishes less edible. I am not suggesting great salads are easy to do, but in this specific challenge, I actually believe he failed. It was not cutting edge. It tasted fine, but was limp and unoriginal. I had no problem agreeing that it was his time to leave the competition.
Elia's mushroom soup with walnuts was by far the most successful dish from a culinary standpoint. It hit all the high points that a good soup should. It was soulful and smooth, nutty and earthy. It did not start a culinary revolution, but was just modern and playful enough to get noticed. I loved it!