This issue was avoided it turned out. Everybody cooked well. Really well. And smart. Nobody choked. Everybody seemed to have understood the challenge -- and what guest judge Dan Barber was likely to respond to.
Richard did braised short ribs with fried bone marrow and sea beans that looked genius and sounded delicious.
Tiffany did braised short ribs with fried grits and okra, neatly avoiding a potential okra problem with Colicchio -- who generally hates the stuff.
Carla did braised pork shoulder with fried grits and cheese biscuits.
Mike did gnocchi with braised pork and burata.
But Antonia won the day with a riff on Osso Bucco -- with what sure looked like a perfect risotto garnished with fava beans and inflected with lemon zest. Viewers take note by the way: that is what risotto should look like. And it must have been delicious as hell because it beat out what appeared to be another brilliant performance by Richard.
Speaking of Richard, that was just cruel , calling his name as if for elimination.... "Richard... pack your knives and... (long pause) ...get your ass to the motherf---in' Bahamas!" Gloomy bastard is notorious for walking around with a grey cloud over his head every challenge, seemingly convinced that this is the day the axe is going to fall. Would have served the judges right had he blown chunks over Judges' Table. It was like a fake execution. And I believe that's a contravention of the Geneva Convention.
Carla had a look on her face like the thought it was her time. But you could tell from Tom's face-long before it was revealed that no one would be going home in tears this day -- that all five were going to the finals. He's a big softy after all.