Falkner versus Zakarian in Kitchen Stadium.
Secret Ingredient? Nope.
More like secret ingredients -- as in a bevy of traditional holiday favorites from standing rib roast, to squash, to cider vinegar to parsnips.
First surprise? Chairman says the chefs have to make one dish with fresh cranberries. Zakarian and Falkner have to choose one additional sous chef from the ranks of the eliminated. The chosen one? Alex Guarnaschelli, who gets to work 15 minutes for Zakarian to prep his cranberry dish, and then 15 minutes for Falkner for her sweet and tart dish.
Second surprise? Ice cream machine. Must make one dish with said machine.
Zakarian asking Falkner for ice cream advice? 8 minutes for the machine says Elizabeth.
Third surprise? Create a holiday treat to fill a martini glass.
Onto judging ...
In addition to our series long troika of judges, we have ICA Bobby Flay and Morimoto as additional peanut gallery voices.
Falkner is up first. Black garlic aioli is welcomed with mixed reviews. Beef Wellington is a hit all around. But salad with sorbet? Sure, why not. And to finish off is a candy cane chocolate cake with peppermint snow. Yowza.
Zakarian starts off with a cranberry strawberry risotto?!! It's a hit. But his beef dish was "chewy" says one judge.
Most judges feel that Zakarian had the best meal, but Falkner had the best dish (the salad sorbet).
No big surprise, or really no surprise at all, if you've been following the spoilers leaked across the 'Net.