Padma Lakshmi

Padma Lakshmi spills on what went wrong in the BBQ challenge.

on Jun 20, 20070

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After such an intense elimination challenge in the first episode, the Quickfire should have been a relief for the contestants with the focus on something more simple than wild game -- Florida citrus fruits; however, many of the chefs had some difficulty executing dishes of a high caliber.

The standouts were CJ, Hung, and Tre. Hung's slow roasted sea bass with citrus crumble, watercress and radish salad was a creative play on the citrus theme with three different variations that worked really well together and that is why he won this challenge. I particularly liked Tre's dish of salmon served cold and hot. The variation of textures and flavors in Tre's dish were unique and his use of macadamia in the pesto gave it a richer, buttery flavor than the traditional pesto with pine nuts. This complimented the high fat content in the salmon.

Some other highlights that were unmentioned were Howie's vanilla butter poached lobster tail with blood orange citrus salad, as well as Brian's Alaskan halibut with pomegranate blood orange molasses, which was a beautiful dish. By contrast, one of the most disappointing dishes was Micah's avocado "soup," which was more like a runny guacamole. Chef Van Aken's remark about her dish was an understatement at best.

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