Hello, my little mentees! Boy, Gail was not lying in her blog -- this episode was a tearjerker, but we'll get to that in a moment.
First, the crazy Quickfire Challenge! Sometimes, when I see Quickfires like this I just shake my head and smile. Oh wait -- I almost forgot a really important development! The Last Chance Kitchen winner re-entered the competion. And, in the end, who walks into the kitchen? BEVERLY! Who saw that coming? I know many of you will be disappointed it wasn't Grayson, or still haven't gotten over Nyesha's loss. Don't worry about Grayson, though. She's doing just fine though -- she'll be with the First Lady this week after all! (How amazing is that by the way?) Also, if you still want to watch Last Chance Kitchen, you can! Right HERE!
Anyway, Beverly's back, and no one's too thrilled about it, but to be fair, I don't know that they would've been happy with anyone coming back. As Edward not-so-graciously pointed out, the remaining chefs thought they were the final four. Oh well. Padma announces the Quickfire Challenge -- the chefs will gather their ingredients blindfolded and then have to incorporate all the ingredients they grabbed into a dish. At least they had Tom and Padma to usher them into the pantry, but Edward brought up a really good point that the proteins are in sealed bags, sooo the chefs' sense of smell was fairly useless in that case. In the end, they all grabbed enough ingredients, and the only chef who seemed genuinely baffled by something grabbed was Edward with his pork casings, which he very wisely made into a broth. Ultimately, Sarah took the win for her soup. She was then faced with an option: a car or a trip to the finals. While all the chefs kind of weighed in on what taking immunity would mean -- basically calling it a cop-out -- I would like to say that had Sarah taken the car and then got eliminated, they'd all have said she made the wrong choice. Seemed like a pretty damned if you do, damned if you don't situation.Onto the Elimination! Into the kitchen, come the chefs' mentors! And suddenly, the cheftestants burst into tears! Even Paul, which only made him more adorable. The chefs' task was to make a dish to make their mentors proud. So, they got to cookin', except Sarah, who got to go out and enjoy her night with her mentor, Tony Montuano. A common sentiment in the kitchen was the desire to not disappoint one's mentors. Not only are the chefs putting their names on the line, they're putting their mentors' names on the line. I think that's honestly true of all chefs competing on Top Chef. I really think that the realization that not being able to cook in the Top Chef environment doesn't necessarily mean you're a bad chef is a hard one to come by. These chefs just put so much pressure on themselves. Fortunately, in this scenario, it really raised their dishes to a new level.
Lindsay made a seafood stew that looked pretty delicious, with the main complaints being about the use of cream, which she knew was a mistake, and dried herbs. Beverly made eight wok dishes essentially to-order, and although she wasn't happy with the plating, she knew her flavors were good. And although I couldn't taste it, Bev's dish just looked like a hearty one I would've loved to try. Then there's Paul. His dish was so delicate and -- as Tom lauded -- restrained. I thought Tom gave Paul one of the nicest compliments at Judges' Table by mentioning that it takes a truly mature chef to know when too much is too much. This characteristic of restraint is something that reminded me a lot of one of my other favorites, Bryan Voltaggio. And then there was Ed. He was doomed the moment he selected smoke oysters at Whole Foods. I mean, canned seafood?! No. I think mentally he tricked himself into thinking he couldn't taste the difference, but the judges could. I really thought maybe they'd never figure it out, they were so confused by the flavor, but then suddenly Hugh says meekly, "Were those canned oysters?" And my heart just sank for some reason. Yes, Hugh, they were. All the judges agreed that Ed's dish would have been leaps and bounds better without that oyster sauce. Ugh. Bye, Ed! I dug Ed, so I'll miss him, but we now have our final four!
And next week the chefs head to sunny British Columbia for the finals. Ahhh! I can't wait! I leave you with an exclusive and free excerpt from Gail's new book! I'm just so proud of her! So enjoy that, and until then, Have a Nosh!