The challenge: The chefs may cook whatever they like but every ingredient in the kitchen is wrapped in Reynolds Wrap (shameless product placement). The chefs blindly choose their ingredients. If they unwrap it, they must use it. Also, foil is the only cooking vessel that they are allowed to use.
Danyele McPherson – cannellini bean stew with bacon asiago cheese, and tomatillo. While Danyele was thrown off by the tomatillo, Stephanie thinks it improved the dish. Micah Fields – grilled lamb with tomato fennel panzanella. The lamb is rare. Stefan – hot smoked salmon with german potato salad served with champagne. John Tesar – beed egg drop soup with braised pineapple. Stephanie likes the pineapple and the beef combination.
Brooke – bacon roasted yams with bacon, onion, and apple salad. The raw onion nearly kills Padma. Josh Valentine – roasted chicken with potatoes, poblano, tomatillo, and carrots. Stephanie appreciates the small hint of heat. Kristen Kish – almond and chocolate sponge cake. Not only did Kristen mix the ingredients in a foil bowl but she also baked the cake in a foil pan. The texture of the cake is great. Kristen continues to impress me.
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Bart Vandaele – beer poached cod with a butter beer sauce. Bart loves the "fun and games" that is Top Chef. Did Bart seriously just mold his Reynolds Wrap (plug!) on his head and then throw food into the makeshift bowl? GROSS. Stephanie tells Bart that the fish is
hairy cooked beautifully. I guess what Stephane doesn't know won't kill her. Sheldon Simeon – lemongrass smoked scallops with tomato and shallot salad.
At the end of the challenge, Stephanie cannot forgive Micah's raw lamb, Brooke's under seasoned yams, and Josh's lack of creativity. Micah raises his eyebrows and says "wow" to himself. His constant stink face is getting old. Note to Micah: You're not as awesome as you think you are. Get over it.
Stephanie thinks Sheldon, Kristen, Josie, Bart, Stefan, and Danyele all did well, but she decides that Danyele, Kristen, and Sheldon created the best dishes. Stephanie thinks Danyele's stew was pleasantly simple and Sheldon's scallops were delicious… but she gives the win to Kristen.
The cheftestants are off to Remlinger Farms Berry Festival for head-to-head berry battles. Josh wrestled in high school, so he (somehow) thinks he has an advantage. Since Kristen won immunity in the Quickfire challenge, she will not go head-to-head with another chef. Still, Kristen will cook and compete for the $10,000 prize. The chefs who made the best Quickfire dishes – Sheldon, Danyele, Stefan, Josie, and Bart – get to choose their battle partners.
Padma, Stephanie, Tom Colicchio, and Gail Simmons will "dish" about the specifics of each dish, but the 150 berry festival guests will decide the winners of the head-to-head challenge.
Berry Battle Teams and Their Berries:
Sheldon vs. Micah – Strawberries
Danyele vs. Josh – Blueberries
Stefan vs. John – Gooseberries
Josie vs. Lizzie – Raspberries
Bart vs. Brooke – Blackberries
Kristen vs. Nobody/Everybody – Tayberries
While at the market, John spies Stefan buying frozen tuna, and all hell breaks lose. Stefan defends his choice of saku block tuna, stating that it's the best grade of tuna in Japan, but John complains about the frozen fish all the way to infinity and beyond.
Then, once the chefs get to the farm, Danyele whines about the lack of cooking space and Bart and John fight over a blender. Bart says to John, "Do I hear it blending? Noooooo." To us, Bart says, "He's just a little bit selfish. You can't prepare for guys like that. A jackass is a jackass." Aww. Poor John is having issues blending and measuring because everyone is whining. Wait, what? Did somebody say something about frozen tuna? Right on cue, Josh's blender throws up all over John's face. Funny stuff.
We learn that Micah named his daughters Sage and Saffron because they sound less like stripperish than Cayenne and Cinnamon do.
Danyele's chicken pine nut terrine with a blueberry mostarda vs. Josh's savory goat cheese mousse with blueberry compote – While Tom thinks Danyele's terrine is too rubbery, he loves Josh's blueberries.
Josie's rock and raspberry roll: sockeye salmon, dungeness crab, and raspberry aioli vs. Lizzie's raspberry steamed cabbage roll with heritage pork and bacon stuffing – Josie doesn't have her dish plated when the judges approach her stand… so she talks endlessly about nothing, prompting Gail to ask Tom if Josie is high. Padma and Stephanie love Lizzie's pork, but Tom thinks it's under seasoned. Gail thinks Josie's dish didn't have enough raspberry flavor.
Sheldon's ahí summer roll: ahi poke, strawberries and sweet chili sauce vs. Micah's strawberry fried chicken with strawberry and bacon biscuit – Micah's chicken is good but the buscuit is too dense. Gail feels as if Sheldon did a great job of highlighting the strawberries.
John's white gazpacho with Spanish chorizo, gooseberries, and sweet grapes vs. Stefan's cali crudo with radishes, gooseberries, and spiced vinaigrette – Gail loves Stefan's dish, overall, but she doesn't think there's enough gooseberries. Padma thinks John's dish is too busy, and Stephanie says the chorizo overpowers the dish.
Brooke's spicy smoked chocolate pudding with blackberry tapioca vs. Bart's blackberry soup with salmon and rhubarb yogurt – Bart's soup is delicious despite the bland salmon. Brooke's dessert is a big hit.
Kristen – matcha goat milk custard with macerated tayberries. Kristen's macerated tayberries were Stephanie's favorite "dish" of the day. Tom and the berry festival guests love it, too.
When Stefan's votes start to roll in, John gets bitter and yells stuff like "rest easy tonight knowing you voted for frozen tuna" at the guests. Like the berry guests really care? Stefan tells us John's soup was so bad he wouldn't even flush his poop with it.
In the stew room, Josie is still running her mouth and annoying
me the other chefs. Josh remarks, "It hurts my soul when Josie laughs. A little of me dies every time." But, even more annoying than Josie's talking/laughing is the fact that John and Stefan are still arguing about the frozen tuna. To prove a point, Stefan polls the other chefs, who all admit to using the frozen tuna. This prompts Stefan to tell John to "suck his ****."
Padma enters the room, requesting to see John, Josie, Bart, Micah, and Danielle at the judges' table. Padma tells these five chefs that they are the losers… based on the guests votes AND the judges' decision. Micah admits that Sheldon's flavors popped. Tom says that Josie's dish was too heavy.
Gail breaks the news to Bart: his (otherwise delicious) soup was ruined by the salmon. Tom tells Danyele that she continuously starts with a great concept…. but stops halfway. Padma asks John if he's surprised to be part of the loser club, and he admits that he thought he represented the gooseberries well enough. The judges all tell him that the chorizo was too much.
The winners of the head-to-head berry battle – Sheldon, Stefan, Lizzie, Brooke, and Josh – are called to the judges' table. Kristen joins them.
Stephanie says the winning dish was unique and flawless and highlighted the berries. And the winner is… Kristen! Again!
Next, the judges eliminate Danyele.
Bummer. I was hoping it'd be Josie. Tom tells Danyele, "The blueberry mostarda wasn't really mostarda. The chicken was rubbery. I love the idea but it just never really came together for you." Danyele tells us that she's ready to go. That's the attitude!
On the way out, Josie and Stefan yell and swear at each other. They're basically arguing about who is a bigger jerk. Josie tells Stefan that he's acting like a 3 year old, trying to get the last word, and Stefan is all like, Oh whatever. You just skated by one more time.
TELL US – WAS THE RIGHT PERSON ELIMINATED? WHO ARE YOU ROOTING FOR?
Photo credit: Bravo