They also had their choice of a chafing dish, serving bowl or platter, depending on what they were preparing. Casey hit the nail on the head when she commented on the hot boxes and chafing dishes. Yes, it does keep cooking your things, but part of being a successful caterer is taking that into account. We had at least 3 different on set caterers throughout the season, and the one of the reasons for so many changes is because many times the food was dry and overcooked, not to mention gray and lacking in flavor. But that is neither here nor there. I am positive all of the contestants had eaten a catered lunch before so part of the challenge was figuring out what would hold up well over time.
Shannon stuck around the kitchen to make sure they got everything packed up properly while I was over at Star Island setting up for their arrival. The gigantic pile of pots, pans, and dirty dishes you see as they finish getting packed up was a daily occurrence. Guess who cleans all that up? I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Bill, our Unit Production Manager, and the entire crew of set PAs for helping us turn the kitchen after every challenge (you guys are phenomenal!). Imagine a dozen of us washing all of those pots and pans by hand and putting the pantry and fridges back together after the whirlwind of cooking. Whether it was a 20 minute Quickfire or even when we were down to seven contestants, it was always as if a hurricane had demolished the kitchen, and there was still the same amount of mess. One of the more glamorous parts of production.
When the cube truck arrived on set I unloaded coolers, hot boxes, and speed racks. It smelled wonderful. However, Lia's smoked trout squares were on the speed rack and I remember thinking how unappealing they looked and the fact that they did not resemble anything remotely Latin. I had to leave set to do more shopping for the Quickfire the next day, so Shannon stayed to supervise and told me all about their dishes that evening. As a viewer, I think Tre's, Joey's, and Howie's dishes looked the best. I can't comment too much because I did not get to taste anything, but I think Tre's dish look sophisticated and I like that he used seafood. Joey's dish went with a meat and seafood combination and the fact that it was a stew was a smart decision. I love chorizo in just about anything. I was on set when I heard from some of the producers that everyone was most concerned about Howie's dish.