The excuse he offered -- being "metrosexual" -- doesn't cut it. This challenge was not about how far you can throw or how many beers you can chug. Like so many of the challenges our chefs face, this was about knowing your audience and cooking the food they want to eat, knowing your limitations and preparing a quality product that proves you can adapt your style accordingly. Ryan was sent home this week because at the most basic level he could not adjust his "light" West Coast approach to the Midwestern sports arena.
The best food of the day was definitely worth the indulgence. Dale, Antonia, Richard, and Stephanie all prepared superb versions of no-frills game food. I was so happy that our football-fan voters chose three of them as their favorites. Each of their dishes showcased how smart and sophisticated food can be, no matter where it is served. Antonia's Jerk Chicken Sandwich with Pickled Onion, Banana & Pineapple was unlike any sandwich I had eaten before. The combination of sweet and savory ingredients in each bite was unusual and so satisfying. Richard's Pate Melt with Spicy Mayonnaise & Pickled Cucumber was a stellar burger alternative that we also really enjoyed. Stephanie's Tenderloin with Bacon, Potato & Pear Salad with Rosemary Vinaigrette was simple and delicious. It captured so clearly what Ryan's dish lacked: a hint of lightness without any sacrifice of flavor. But it was Dale's Baby Back Ribs Marinated in Tandoori, and Potato Salad with Raisins & Mango that won the game. I wish I had more of them at hand while watching the NHL playoffs this month!