Well folks, we're down to the wire now. With only four chefs left, the level of scrutiny on each has ramped up, leaving very little room for error. Even the smallest stumble can decide the contest.
But before I get into it, I'd like to say this: I wasn't at all happy with the outcome of tonight's show. I'm not even going to try to lie about it.
All was fine in the Quickfire. I thought the challenge of having each of the chefs rework a familiar junk food was a great idea. While a major goal of any chef is to be original, sometimes that involves reinterpreting old favorites -- classic or otherwise. To do this well demands some knowledge of historic cuisine, the confidence to experiment, and a healthy sense of fun.
Harold demonstrated all of the above with his Ecuadoran ceviche, garnished with a popcorn cake. Drawing from his knowledge of South American cuisine, where popcorn is a frequent ingredient, he created a dish that was refined and delicious, with clean and authentic flavors. Tiffani did the same, imaginatively reworking the classic low-rent corndog with chorizo and duck sausage and a side of hearty, dark beer. Lee Anne pureed shrimp and scallops into a mouse, and stuffed the mixture into sausage casing to make a memorable hotdog, garnished with spicy asian mustard and lotus chips. I thought it was great. All three were working on an imaginative plane, and backing it up with strong technique.
Dave, on the other hand, failed to impart any creativity or whimsy into his tired seafood nachos. His frenetic mindset showed itself in his cooking style: Even with the least complicated dish, he was frantic and disorganized, and his finished dish demonstrated a lack of fresh ideas.