Mike V. and his re-circulated eggs. I never shy away from a runny yolk, but undercooked egg whites? Not so much. While his egg dish was a wonderful combination of flavors, I agree that it was lacking in texture. His foie gras dish however, was ambitious, sophisticated, and well-executed.
Bryan’s ravioli was far and away the best dish of the night in my opinion. He stuffed it with Bellweather Farms’ sheep’s milk ricotta, and served it over a delicata squash puree with my absolute favorite mushrooms in the world: Hen of the Woods. Sure, it could’ve used a pinch of salt and pepper, but it was near perfect. The fig-glazed short rib was very good, and also could’ve used a pinch of salt. I agree that I wish there had been some more representation of figs on the plate but the meat was tender and the other components married well flavor-wise. Poor Bryan. He wins an Elimination Challenge again. Doesn’t even get a set of Napa-style knives.
And it was a sad but inevitable end for Jen. The minute I tasted the goat cheese mousse, I knew it had to be her going home. It was so salty, but beyond that, the radishes were not pickled but cooked in oversalted water. Her duck dish was flavorful, but really limp in texture. When the coals started to go out she could’ve added more. We showed them where the wood and charcoal was in the kitchen, so theoretically she could’ve still grilled the duck. Jen joins the No.4 club, six seasons and growing. She’s super-skilled and is far and away one of the most talented females I’ve had the pleasure to watch cook. Afterwards she had said to me that she was most afraid of disappointing Eric (Ripert), to which I responded, “You’re crazy. Eric’s already so proud of you.” Jen’s got a great attitude, and while she’s disappointed, as we all were, she knows she’s got nowhere to go but forward, and I hope I get to cook side by side with her one day.
Next week, (sniff!) my last…. In the meantime, check out my exploits to the Stone Brewery: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sa8kteLkTqY