Bravotv.com: Overall the dishes seemed weak. What did you think?
GS: I would say that compared to the food we got in last week's episode, at the end of our time in New York which was a high point for the season if not for the entire series, this was quite a disappointment. And there were many factors that led to this. They're now in the Bahamas where everything is new – the location, the kitchen, the ingredients, are not the same as they were in New York. Also, it had been several months between New York and the finale. We shot the season in September and this took place in January, so they had time off, to train but at the same time they were not in the heat of competition, so they were a little bit soft and out of practice. Even Mike Isabella's dish, which won that challenge, was not the best we've seen from him by any means. They were also very limited in the kitchen that day with what they were allowed to cook and how. There were just fryers and flat tops. It was a really hard challenge, but as Tom said, it's going to be hard from here on in. I can assure you, the food does improve on the next episode. Too bad Eric Ripert was our guest judge. We really wanted him to be proud of how far we've come since we last saw him in D.C. and the chefs did not put their besst feet forward, so to speak.
Bravotv.com: Carla ended up going home.
GS: We thought Carla's was the least successful. There were two major problems with her pork: the cooking of the medallions we received was very uneven. Mine was really quite raw in the center, Tom's was undercooked if not raw, although Eric's was cooked well. But we can't judge just on Eric's. We need to judge on what we all received, and inconsistency is a big problem. Even though Carla promised us that everyone else was served a piece that was properly cooked, we also cannot judge on what the rest of the diners got. We can only judge on what's in front of us and mine was quite inedible – I'm not interested in eating raw pork. Eric's problem with it was that there needed to be a counterpoint to the dish, and there wasn't. This is something we talk about all the time with food. For a dish to be successful, there needs to be balance. In this instance there were sweet potatoes, applesauce, and the apple chip. All three components were very sweet, as is the inherent flavor of the pork. There was nothing to counterbalance all that sweetness – there needed to be acid, there needed to be a stronger textural or taste component, to balance the intense sweetness of the dish. Eric said it was almost like a dessert it was so sweet. The sweetness didn't bother me as much, because clearly I am a big sugarhead, but I did understand his point and objectively that is an issue.
Bravotv.com: And Mike won the first Bahamian challenge.
GS: We were really excited. He came to the Bahamas very prepared. Not only were we really surprised how far he's come from Season 6 to now, but he also improved from New York to the Bahamas. It was so impressive. This challenge for Mike reminded me of when Kevin Sbraga arrived in Singapore. That's not foreshadowing, I just remember right out of the gate you could tell Kevin had been training. He had his game face on and Mike does too. We will see if he can sustain it…