Carlos, Otto and Suyai's dishes, on the other hand, made no sense in either presentation or taste. Carlos positively slathered his dish with the American cheese ... nothing prepared with such a disproportionate amount of the stuff had a hope of impressing us. Otto made the common mistake of adding an extraneous ingredient, white rice, which he didn't even execute well. Learning when to eliminate a component that detracts from the plate is just as important as learning when to add one.
Poor, sweet Suyai shot herself in the foot right out of the gate. She panicked, pure and simple. She even admitted her defeat to Tom -- who made it very clear at the start of the show that he was there to judge, not to mentor the contestants. She did not have a focus or a plan and produced an equally chaotic plate -- frenetic, disconnected and unappealing. We had to let her go.
Ilan's baked snail dish was our clear winner. It was well conceived, beautiful on the plate (yes, that bizarre combo actually looked beautiful) and appetizing too! It resembled something you would find at a cozy, but sophisticated French bistro. When we ate it, we were convinced that perhaps this combination, when put together just right, was not so strange after all ... not unlike this season's motley crew of chefs, pastry chefs, line cooks, instructors, and caterers. Although they may seem like an unlikely bunch, I think you'll agree that once they start cooking, the action -- in and out of the kitchen -- will make you want another taste.