Selecting a winning and a losing dish from the evening's four courses was actually quite straightforward. Everyone at the table agreed that the "Something New" Team had made a number of serious errors, as if the dish had been created not by chefs, but by a group of high schoolers as a practical joke. Their new take on sushi was all over the map and we were given no direction on how to navigate it. There were so many disjointed components on that plate, it was obvious that questionable decisions had been made by each of the chefs who conceived it: Eugene's overcooked rice and cold tempura, Carla's ill-fated salad, Danny's renegade mushrooms, tasteless beef, oddly-paired peach barbecue sauce, and of course the yuzu sorbet, which we were specifically told to eat at the end of our meal, but which had completely melted by the time we attempted to do so. Choosing who would go home from this team was our initial concern. As soon as we started speaking with the team, we realized how little communication had occurred among them. We also discovered that Danny had no insight into the mistakes he had made. As much as I am all for people defending their food, Danny's inability to see how poorly executed their dish was made it clear that he would be leaving.
The "Something Old" Team's Heirloom Tomato Trio was simple, smart, and refreshing. I remember thinking that parts of it could have used more salt, specifically Stefan's terrine, but on the whole the trio rose to the challenge and succeeded as one cohesive vision. I definitely appreciated the thought behind the "Something Blue" Team's concept and am actually quite thankful they did not try to create a dish made up of blue-colored foods. There was nothing unpleasant about their Blue Corn Encrusted Chilean Sea Bass. It was cooked well enough and in fact many of my guests enjoyed it. The reason it was ranked at the bottom was only that, comparatively, two of the dishes were stronger and it was our task to rank them. The sea bass is not as interesting a dish and, although it tasted just fine, was void of much texture or color. Part of creating good food is giving your diners a complete sensory experience -all aspects, from taste to sight to mouth-feel (touch), must be taken into consideration.