The first night of prep seems to go well for everyone. Many have chosen relatively simple dishes and have only a few components to their dish. At the end of prep time they all squeeze their prep into the coolers and head home. The excitement comes the next morning when a few of the chefs realize their cooler has gone down overnight. I am pretty sure that shoving a bunch of hot prepared food that has not been cooled down properly into the overly corwded cooler was the problem here, and the chefs should have known better than to expect the refridgeration to stand up to this. This is why in restaurants we cool our prep in ice baths before putting them in the reach in or walk-in to make sure the proper temperature is maintained.
Luckily the two chefs who were most affected were able to come back from this with the help of their fellow cheftestants. Rad still had her duck legs which she had time to braise and Hosea was given some pork loin to work with. Part of being a chef is being able to bounce back from a mishap such as this. You have to hold yourself together, figure out a new plan and move on. Some times you luck out and the new dish works out better than the original.
Since the song has been stuck in my head for the past few days, I thought about going through the dishes day by Christmas Day. Though I am finally at home and just got to see the ending of the episode with Tom's visit to the stew room, it made his reaction to even the winning dishes make more sense. Braised duck on toast, pork tenderloin with cabbage and apples, chicken pot pie, and a salad were the top dishes of the night. Though they were executed well and had good flavor, they seemed to be lacking in the creativity department. On the downside, Jamie served raw scallops with a chilled soup which did not go over well with Michelle and the other judges. Had she seared the scallops the outcome may have been much different. Melissa put together some flavors that classically work well but just let the gorgonzola take over the dish. Then there was the overly sweet ceviche with the golden rings of pineapple. Eugene tried to stand behind his dish but it seemed that Michelle Bernstein was no match for him on this one. No one wants to hear criticism about their food, but everyone makes mistakes from time to time and a good chef can take the criticism and learn from it.