Richard Blais

Richard Blais takes a page from Brian Malarkey's blog and handicaps the chef'testants.

on Nov 21, 2008

I thought for sure that our season would have had a hot dog challenge. It will sound a bit weird, but one of my most inspired moments came at a baseball game eating a Chicago dog. A dog, topped with fiery peppers, nuclear green sweet relish, and the kicker, celery salt. I mean, celery salt on a hot dog? I returned to my restaurant to grab some octopus, which for some reason always reminds me texturally of hot dogs, to create a sort of octopus hot dog. I'm sorry if anyone just threw up a little, but the point is that inspiration can come from anywhere. In this Quickfire, some showed that, others didn't seem to get it.

Being inspired by your background always works, so Radhika had the right idea. Her dish sounded great and I'm sure as soon as I say this she will get chopped, but I like her. Her background cuisine is perfect for this type of competition. Indian food delivers impact and impact is key.

What the viewer doesn't understand is that judging food is difficult as well. And I'll raise an interesting theory that it is easier to impress at the beginning or dead end of the line of a challenge. In the beginning, the taster is looking for their first bite of "I'd like to have another bite of that". At the end, they're looking for something to trump that first bite, something to finish. It's a theory, but I'd be surprised if the data showed otherwise. Actually, in the elimination challenge notice how the top three all come from the appetizers and dessert groups.

Besides Radhika winning, the other story is Stefan finishing in the bottom.

There's no doubt that this guy is a good chef, but we get a good read on his character from his reaction to being in the bottom. He's pissed and he doesn't take responsibility for it. I think, for sure, we have our villain.

The elimination reveal has us heading to Craft for a lunch service focusing on New American cuisine. Like Tom, I found most of the selections right out of a CIA class I took called American regional. We had fried chicken and meatloaf. Peanut butter and jelly and quiche. This group, in general, seems to have trouble grasping the premise of each challenge. The premise is simple. Cook your food and bring in the theme a bit. Don't change your food to match your understanding of the challenge.