I remember this day particularly because the set was ridiculously hot that day. We always had to shut down the air conditioning during filming for sound reasons, and I remember how it became problematic for some of the contestants and their end product; Mike with his ice cream, and Elia with her chocolate. Even in the time it takes to get from one contestant to the next, the actual plated dish can suffer with every passing second, foams fall flat, cold things melt, and hot food never gets that fresh on the plate feeling back. Production and judging does take these things into account. I think the one thing we tried to be very compassionate about was that production would do its best to not interfere with the quality of the contestants' dishes due to timing or a hold up on our end. With this particular challenge we allowed those who needed to refoam and refinish some of their dishes. So even numbers of contestants mean team challenge. Elia, Mike, and Mia have a little bit more at stake, since Cliff has won immunity. I think it is interesting how they chose to nominate team captains for this challenge, with Sam's remark hitting the nail on the head.
Orange Team blew me away with their menu. There is somewhat of a formula when it comes to catering large hors d'oeuvre parties (I cook for these types of parties all of the time), and they came through by offering a wide variety with their menu; skewered things, fried bites, plated dishes, spoons, seafood, vegetarian, meat, and also some sweet treats.