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Mentors: The Chef-Makers!

In defense of Kerry Heffernan's teaching style.

By Monica A. Reyhani

Hello my little students! Let's dive right in, shall we? This week's episode was truly all about communication. First, in the Quickfire Challenge, the chefs were greeted with a challenge they've seen before: they have to instruct a mystery partner -- standing on the opposite side of makeshift wall -- how to cook their dish. This time, the twist was that the partners were the judges! And this time, they pretended to have accents. Really, really horrible accents. If i'm not mistaken, the only judge without actual cooking experience is James -- I'm sure I'll be corrected if I'm wrong -- so I was actually fairly shocked when he ended up on the winning team. But it just goes to show how well Chris communicated across the wall. There's  actually a really amusing exclusive video of James' full reaction to the win. Watch it here:

James Oseland is Going to Be Unbearable

How to Watch

Catch up on Top Chef Masters on Peacock or the Bravo App.

After the win, the chefs are presented with their Elimination Challenge -- to teach students how to upgrade their fairly classic dishes. They were all "Partner, partner, let me upgrade you." Can you imagine if Beyonce were the guest judge for this challenge? Sorry -- I just got really excited at the prospect. The three chefs would be judged on the dishes created by their pupils, so basically their fate was in the kids' tiny hands. Actually they weren't that tiny -- these weren't toddlers for G-d's sake!The three chefs took very different approaches to teaching their students. First, there was Chris, who, I think, has a future in DJing smooth radio. He really wanted his students to learn techniques, and you could tell that being a chef in his kitchen is truly a learning experience. He knows that being a chef is more than cooking or telling people what to do -- it's making sure that when you're out of the kitchen, your vision can be executed. This is an important lesson for all managers in fact. Unfortunately, his students were so efficient that they plated early and his dish suffered, and he didn't get the win.

Out of Their Hands

Next, we'll discuss Lorena, who as you can imagine, was very supportive. And although her slightly revamped lasagna was apparently delicious, it just wasn't different enough from the original. Ruth also made it very clear at the Critics' Table that it wasn't restaurant caliber. While i don't know if I agree with that, I would say her dish did seem to be the least original of the three offered. Ruth was sort of hilarious at Judges' Table, as was James' reaction to Ruth. He might as well have said "Why, Ms. Reichl, I do declare!" Apparently the spirit of his Quickfire accent never left him.Then there was Kerry. As I"ve mentioned before, I think Kerry is a natural teacher. I saw this in just one visit to our office where he not only brought us food from his own backyard, but made sure he explained exactly what he was doing and taught us how to shuck oysters -- he certainly didn't have to do that. While it may have looked like Kerry was just demanding things of his students, his style probably most closely mirrored what it's like to be in a real kitchen, and frankly, his method is how I would've learned best. While it's important to be patient, these were high school kids, and can withstand a little pressure. And in the end, it paid off because Kerry and his kids won. So, he's moving on to the finale against Chris.

Sorry, Lorena! Although you're going home, please take solace in the facts that you earned a lot of money and this season wouldn't have been the same without you!

So, what do you all think of the final two? Until next week, HAVE A NOSH!


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