I know what you’re thinking, and I know how you’re feeling, and all I can say is that having now watched the episode and seen everything that went on behind the scenes, I share your frustration. I really do.
I am going to remind you right off the bat: we judges are not privy to what happens when we’re not there. I usually take a walk-through the kitchen at some point and schmooze with the chefs (though I don’t for Restaurant Wars), but that walk-through doesn’t afford me insider knowledge. It’s really more for the chefs; it’s a chance to help steer them to make their dishes the best they can be. After that, we judges arrive in time to taste the dishes, confer with the chefs and each other, and make our determinations based on what we’ve ascertained from tasting the food and asking the chefs some questions. That’s it. I later learn what you learn the same way you do -- by watching the episode once it’s been completed.
So here’s what we judges knew:
· The Bouillabaisse was deeply flawed: the scallops were undercooked and the halibut was overcooked, for starters.
· Our biggest problem with the dish, though, was that the sauce, which Josie made, was delicious, but there was not enough of it on the dish.
· Kristen plated the dish and determined how much sauce should be added.
· Josie never stepped up to suggest that Kristen put more, ostensibly because she was deferring to Kristen, because it was Kristen’s concept.
· The gelatin was supposed to go into the dish, but Kristen decided not to use it because there wasn’t enough time; she subbed cream instead.
· At the end of the day, Kristen, by her own assertion, was the one who approved all of the dishes going out.
Given those facts, we were faced with no choice but to send Kristen home.