What I did not know until I watched the episode was just how much the final four contestants had already been through by the time I met up with them at Moon Run Ranch. Their hot-air-balloon ride and the trout Quick Fire challenge they'd survived the day before seemed stressful enough, let alone having to cook elk on the fly for a barn full of ravenous Colorado rodeo folk.
Were you as disappointed as I was watching the Quickfire? Was it me or did it look as if they all were a little off their marks and slightly more frazzled than usual? I am sure it was the combination of their long day of travel, unfamiliar surroundings, high altitude and the lack of work space they were given to do the job. Whatever the reason for their nervousness, both Brian and Dale seemed off to a messy start and even Hung was acting forgetful. At least Casey's dish was worthy of praise and earned high marks in the hallowed opinion of guest judge Eric Ripert, a chef who knows a thing or two about cooking fish and seafood.