Now on to the winner of the night: Dale's dish showed us just the right balance of skill, subtlety, and sense of humor. He had the sense to change direction when he saw his goat cheese tart did not set properly and had a plan in place that worked just as well. His Spiced Elk Loin with Cauliflower, Fingerling Potatoes and Huckleberry Demiglace captured the true feeling of the challenge, and when all elements were tasted together they truly created a combination that was better than its individual parts. Now, isn't that always the ultimate goal? If Dale's dish was a ballet, gracefully dancing across our tongues, Brian's dish was a rodeo.And although we may have been serving its participants, we did not necessarily want to eat one. I have always been a fan of his infectious charm and enthusiasm, but this time he got a bit carried away. To say his dish was simply Whiskey Braised Elk Shank with Potato Puree, Pancetta, Corn and Asparagus Relish would be a gross understatement. There must have been literally eight or nine other ingredients added to it, including nuts, herbs, and a choice between two blue cheeses to sprinkle on top. It did not taste bad, but compared to the other three dishes it lacked focus and restraint.
PS Click here to view a recent video of me and four-star chef Daniel Boulud, as he shows how the original Paupiette of Sea Bass from last week's Quickfire Challenge is made!