Lindsay made a fine dish, one that in an earlier challenge would never have sent her and her knives packing. Her halibut was cooked properly, as was the celery root salad. But I couldn’t enjoy the raw kale -- it was jarring. Her cocktail did pair well with her dish, but when taken on its own merits it was the poorest of the three cocktails we were served that evening. Remember that the cocktail itself was being judged -- it was part of the challenge. Further, we failed to see Lindsay fully embrace the challenge itself -- it was not enough to make good food, she had to also work with the concept of “fire and ice,” and I failed to see the fire in her “fiery celery root salad.” I think Lindsay played it a bit too safe when conceptualizing her dish for this challenge, and she paid the price for doing so.
All of that said, I must reiterate that it was hard to send Lindsay home for her dish, even if it was the weakest of the three. All three dishes were very good, and all three chefs should be very proud of what they accomplished, not only in this week’s challenge, but throughout this competition. These are three very, very talented chefs. They don’t have outsized egos, they are not flamboyant in their affects, but throughout this competition they quietly worked hard to present food that could then speak to commend itself.