I really can't wait to get down to the wire. These contestants are dragging a little bit. I long for stars like Hung and Richard Blais to make it exciting. Stefan and Eugene seem like the ones to watch, but I can't invest in anyone yet whereas in past seasons I had my absolute favorites early. Where the contestants lack a little bit, the tasks are a little bit of a kamikaze mission to mix it up. As for me recapping it, I'll try to just comment without making it so structured. This is my personality -- I'm a writer, I'm structured, and unless I follow the show, I don't know what the hell happened.
I love that the Quickfire moved from the Top Chef Cookbook to a soup. It seemed boring to simply recreate past recipes. This seemed brutal since soup with large pieces of fish sounds vile and difficult to me. Low and behold, many prevailed. Grant Achatz was the guest chef. He's a superstar, and might I add, he is totally adorable.
Jamie rocked that corn soup before so this was going to be a breeze for her. She's got the goods, but I can't get as excited as her as I did about Stephanie from last season. Richard's demise began here when he was too late in getting his acid into his Mexican soup. When people are on the chopping block, I look at several of their past mistakes to try to see who really hasn't performed overall. Daniel's ham and egg soup looked thick and hearty and delicious. Strong Island holding strong. Ariane looked like it wasn't going down the right road with her overcooked lamb. Leah started to shine with her underdog white asparagus soup and I was even surprised to see that she won. I thought the main task was daunting, but for individuals to whine and complain about the circumstances is useless. Everyone has the same disadvantages, so the playing field is difficult. This was totally doable if organized. I've cooked entire meals on a hotplate, a microwave, and a tiny Holly Hobby-like oven. This can be done and Jeff's initiative in being organized was a good start. I'm glad the judges said that it was close because I truly wasn't sure how this was going to go down.
I actually thought Team Cougar was going to win this one. Ariane definitely redeemed herself -- although being good at turkey (in her comfort zone which is catering) isn't blowing me away. This was a moment where I realized Stefan may not be the star we thought he'd be. His turkey couldn't trump Ariane's. I get why Ariane is still safe. Turkey is the meal centerpiece. Jeff secured his spot for taking the shot and being the leader, although his dishes were underwhelming, and there is a recurring theme where he takes on too much and can't do it all well. I actually thought the bacon mac and cheese was a good idea because it is microwave and toaster friendly and can sit on a buffet. Eugene was a star with his MacGuyver grill. He's strong. I agreed with Tom on Fabio's take on Tiramisu. The judges always love someone staying true to themselves and inspiring a dish in a new way. Radhika did it last week with her Indian hot dog.
I thought S'mores was a great idea, but when I heard that they were being done a la minute, that scared me. S'mores are good for one minute and then they flop and get soggy. The Foo Fighters were mixed on their reviews of both teams but the standouts were the vegan stuffing, Eugene's MacGuyver port, and the mac and cheese. I loved how knowledgeable and opinionated they all were about food. I thought they were cute and sweet and having them on was a great part of the show. I think Team Cougar lost it on the nasty S'mores and pumpkin "barfaits." What I did like was how the Cougars were great losers. They supported each other, didn't attack each other, and that is really what kitchen teamwork was about. Jeff said the team had a lot of heart which I agreed with. I wished that they had won. Everyone loves the underdog. This was particularly nice since they were the leftovers after Leah picked her team. I didn't like how Daniel gave Team Sexypants the finger when they came back from the concert. He seemed to be the only really bitter one, and he wasn't so strong with his al dente mashed potatoes. I had no idea who was going home but I thought it was going to be Daniel and Richard. I'm so upset to say this, but I have to agree with this difficult decision. Historically, Daniel has been better, and in particular on this episode overall. It broke my heart how he cried, and I am so upset that Team Rainbow is decimated. I miss Richard. Maybe he'll be the Fan Favorite. He was definitely one of mine.