The minute I had heard what Antonia and Lisa were doing I raised an eyebrow. I love polish sausage/ kielbasa. In fact, I tried going to the Bohemian Beer Hall Garden where there's always fresh kielbasa on the grill last weekend, the first weekend of beautiful weather in NY. The backyard was closed which meant no grilled kielbasa. I was so disappointed. Rather than embrace the challenge, they took the word improv too far. I can think of a million ways to interpret drunk, magenta, polish sausage. Beer braised kielbasa over stewed red cabbage is the most basic thing that comes to mind immediately and there are another hundred ways you can dress that up too. I borderline believe someone on their team should've gone home instead because they both failed to meet the criteria of the challenge (it had nothing to do with the "slight wording change" as Lisa had said).
However, Jen's continual phallic references bothered me, as the plate itself did not look remotely sexual, just a big mess of food. The main ingredient was asparagus. The piece of Bucheron on each plate was EASILY a 3-ounce chunk of cheese, which is not only too big of a portion in any sense, but taste-wise drowned out the delicate flavor of the asparagus. When you cook a semi-aged goat cheese such as Bucheron, the texture does not lend itself well to heat. The fat separated out of their goat cheese, leaving a greasy, unpleasantly mealy consistency. The bread was a leaden addition to the plate, and all in all just a mediocre dish.
While I enjoyed seeing Johnny, I was sad to see Jen go. Again, everything is judged a single challenge at a time, and she is WAY more skilled than some of the remaining contestants. She is the Tre of this season, having gone home too early. I had found her food up until that point to be not only inspired and original, but food that I would eat anytime. So I wish her the best of luck. She does not need it as she is a very well-known and respected chef on the West Coast and has already been recognized nationally through James Beard and other industry publications. Hopefully this experience was good for both Jen and Zoi; they are both incredibly talented women and I wish them all the happiness in the world.