I think both teams played it fairly safe. And here's the thing ... most of these chefs had have catered a party at one point or another in their careers. When we read the rules to the contestants after the challenge set up, I usually show them what equipment will be available on site and what they are allowed to bring. I gave each team six disposable chafing dishes with plenty of fuel, and several serving bowls, platters, and utensils. Here's the thing with chafing dishes: There's usually a base pan into which you put an inch of water in the bottom to keep your hotel pan insert which is holding the food warm. This happens through steam heat. Remove the water from the bottom pan, what do you get? Dry heat. Dry heat + cold corn dogs = something better than what was fried then steamed. I had argued this point with my team for the monkfish challenge, stating that our monkfish nuggets would get soggy in the steam table and we should dump the water out of the bottom pan. I was shot down by Tiffani AND Harold, but at the end of the day I know I was right because I had used the same method to keep my spring rolls from the sex shop challenge hot and crispy.
I really enjoyed both the sliders from the Red Team and the pulled pork sandwich from the Blue Team. Dale's pork kebabs were spicy delicious, as well as Memo's pork ribs, though I found the mole-like sauce to be heavy on the chocolate. I refused to eat the mac and cheese. The paella had a ton of flavor, and I think Tom was nitpicking about the paella and "the crust." While I do look for a great crust on paella, I don't always get it, so to assume that one would know that this is a requirement is 50/50. It could have been achieved though; they could've broiled their disposable hotel pans of paella before traveling and then removed the steamer tray for the paella altogether and put their dish directly over the sterno.