The theme for the Chairman's Challenge? Improvisation.
And so of course we're off to a comedy club (a Night at the Improv, anyone?) where the ingredients du jour are chosen: octopus, marshmallow, kumquat and tortilla.
Chefs have 45 minutes to cook and because Falkner was the winner from last time she gets a bonus 300 seconds.
Seems like the pressure cooker is going to be the undoing of many of our heroes in the kitchen.
Onto judging ...
Zakarian's marshmallow scrambled egg dish is successful but someone calls his octopus "muddy" but is it really more like "nutty"?
Chiarello takes a risk and does Spanish take with the ingredients, as well as some marshmallow aioli, and all-in-all it was a success. One judge said, "best bite so far".
Falkner has "marshmallow ash"! Rave reviews for her technique and plating from all three judges.
Burrell makes octopus ravioli that one judge calls bad texturally because the octopus is rubbery. It's a simple dish, but succeeds on certain levels.
MacMillan's charred baby octopus is too "tough" but his plate is "pretty" and, oops!, the tortilla fritter is "dry". Sum it up? "Kung fu fighting in my mouth" says one judge. Yikes.
Samuelsson's food is interesting, but everyone is a bit confused. Soup on a plate again? Maybe his food is too progressive for the judges? Perhaps me thinks Thor would be a better judge of his food.
Guarnaschelli makes burnt marshmallow because she wants that "campfire" feel. Her entire dish, cabbage included, is "outstanding"! Someone ended up licking their plate!
And our comedic winner?
RUNNER UPS: Guarnaschelli, Falkner, Burrell
Elimination Challenge: MacMillan v. Zakarian
Secret Ingredient: Coconut
Zakarian's crudo was the kicker in this challenge.
Next week ... the Big Apple. The city, not the food.
(*Guess Food Network did not reveal the winner of Next Iron Chef in a promo, eh?)