We're cruising with the Final 5, folks. Cruising to Alaska, that is!
Back in Stew, the 5 of them are talking Josie leaving, and how lucky Brooke and Stefan are to have made it through.
Padma and Tom walk in to tell them they're packing to leave Seattle - they're going on a cruise. Tom tells them, however, that they're not going to be sightseeing. They head home to pack. Stefan says in confessional about how his mother signed him up for the Finnish Army, and booze cruises are all he's been on. Brooke, meanwhile, is not fond of boats and is concerned about being on the water.
They get on the Celebrity Infinity cruise ship. Stefan and Brooke do some weird dancing on deck. They are in their TC blue chef coats, and meet Padma and Curtis Stone in the ship's galley. For the Quickfire, they'll be cooking for the Welcome Aboard party. They have 2 hours, but have to make 200 portions for the guests. They'll be working with a "non-foody member of the lettuce family" - and it's iceberg lettuce that they need to highlight in one bite.
Brooke notes that being on board the ship, there is no gas - everything is electric. Lizzie finds it frustrating to deal with the different locks on the oven doors. Stefan says he loves iceberg lettuce, and since they're freezing on deck, he thinks Padma should have something warm in her mouth. Jaysus, Stefan. :-/
Stefan looks for a place to plug in an electrical appliance, and Josh notes there are some by Lizzie's station. Stefan drags the appliance cord through her prep area, messing things up, and she takes him to task for it. He said people underestimate her. Sheldon ends up boiling over a sauce, starting a small fire on the flat top. But he has enough sauce for his dish. Brooke notes that 2 hours to prepare 200 portions without any help is not easy, and she's just throwing ingredients into her lettuce cups. It ends up not looking the way she wanted, but it tastes good, and she hopes that is what counts.
STEFAN - Braised Iceberg Lettuce, Pastrami, Fingerling Potato & Blue Cheese Sauce - Curtis said it's an intense flavor. Other guests say it's comfort food and they enjoy it a lot.
SHELDON - Vietnamese Lettuce Wrap with Pork, Shrimp & Pickled Iceberg Hearts & Green Mango - Padma said it has a lot of flavor. Curtis asks if he was worried about serving it as one bite as it is usually served as a lettuce cup. Sheldon was worried it was too much for one bite, which is why he cut down the lettuce a bit. One guest say it's bright, fresh and she'd eat a dozen of them.
LIZZIE - Iceberg Salad with Crispy Bacon, Shallots & Anchovy Vinaigrette - Curtis asks if the petite salad is something that would be served in Traci Des Jardins' restaurant, where Lizzie works (or has worked?). Lizzie said perhaps, although what she's served to Curtis and Padma are a bit bigger than she would choose. Guests liked it for the bacon.
JOSH - Iceberg Roll with Apple Cider Vinaigrette, Bacon Jam & Blue Cheese - Curtis intently watches Josh as he walks away "He walks like a chef." LOL Guests like the flavors as there was a good punch to it.
BROOKE - Iceberg Wrap with Bacon, Scallop, Caramelized Onion & Crispy Quinoa - Padma asks how to eat it, and Brookie said you could make it a two-biter. Guests like the scallop as perfectly cooked.
Curtis tells all chefs that he loved all the dishes. He liked Stefan's dish in that he cooked the lettuce but kept the texture. Josh's dish, he felt he played it safe, but did a brilliant job of it and Padma notes he took a classic dish and elevated it. Sheldon's Vietnamese wrap was very creative with the sweet, the salty, the pickled flavors. Brooke's scallop was perfectly cooked, and Padma liked the quinoa with it, but thought it was difficult to eat. Lizzie's salad was tasty, but the one-bite dish was not quite there.
Curtis announces the winner of this Quickfire as Sheldon! (I knew it!) Padma says he'll have an advantage in the Elimination Challenge. Padma then says she's made reservations for the 5 of them at Qsine, but they're sent off to explore the ship and relax. Sheldon and Lizzie head off to get a manicure, and Sheldon loves it and hopes he doesn't get judged on his masculinity. Brooke, Josh and Stefan are having drinks topside (Stefan said "Yay! Finally some liquor!" Uh-huh. Like you've not seen any liquor yet on the show, Stefan!)
Back at the manicurists, Sheldon tells Lizzie that his manicurist is from South Africa, so they exchange local information. Lizzie notes that her father has recently passed, and they had packed up her parents' home. Her father used to love to fish, so she finds it fitting that they're on a ship to Alaska.
Josh notes that this day is the due date for his baby, and he doesn't know how it's going with his wife. He also said that he wants to see Sheldon's manicure. "Where I come from, men don't get manicures." (I think you'd be surprised, Josh!)
They cheftestants arrive at Qsine, and they're handed tablets with the menus on them. Stefan looks around, and sees the lamps hanging from the ceiling - they're upside down. Lizzie says "Alice in Wonderland" (Huh. I immediately thought "The Poseidon Adventure!") Josh said "I told you about them forever ago!" Brooke says "That must be when I stopped listen to you." Josh replied "You just continue not listening to me....fried chicken. That worked out well for you, didn't it?" Ouch. Stefan says "Be nice!" and Josh said "You're going to talk?" They start trading barbs about how many challenges they've won and which were the worst dishes.
The dishes start to come out, and the presentation is amazing! Sushi lollipops, disco shrimp, and an "open grid suitcase" separated into 9 or 12 boxes with various small plate dishes in each box.
Padma and Curtis walk in, and Lizzie gets a wave of panic. Padma says she hopes that they liked what they had a Qsine, as they'll be running dinner service tomorrow night. Padma said they want the cheftestants to take a classic dish and turn it on its head for the Elimination Challenge. They'll be making "Surf & Turf." Padma said the seafood and meat should work together as one single dish, and Curtis told them to be creative and think outside the box. Stefan said Surf & Turf seems old to him, but he's creative, so he's not worried. (Does this foretell anything?)
They'll get to explore the pantry and refrigerator tomorrow morning. Sheldon's advantage is that he'll get first pick of the proteins, and whatever he chooses will be off limits to the other cheftestants. It means it'll be a lot harder for the remaining 4 since they can't decide what to make, since they don't know what Sheldon will pick.
The next morning, they have 30 minutes to choose their ingredients. Sheldon chooses beef tenderloin and lobster tail. Stefan ends up with pork belly and eel; Josh takes pork belly, scallops, and bacon. Lizzie takes half the bacon and the whole pig. Brooke wants to set herself apart, so she goes with frog's legs and mussels.
They then head into the warehouse pantry in the bowels of the ship, which is huge. They then run into the galley for serving vessels for the presentation.
They start prep, and Lizzie goes to town on the whole pig. She's very used to doing this, and Josh is impressed with her butchering skills. Josh is going to make pasta with scallops, Stefan is ravioli with eel, and a beer-braised pork belly. Brooke's wondering if her frog's legs are going to be considered "turf", but she hopes it'll go over well. She asks Sheldon how he's going to make his dish playful, and he says "I'm not." His dish is going to be very straightforward, and now he's nervous that he's not being creative enough. Josh's scallop pasta hasn't set and is way too soft, and he's freaking out inside.
In the in-between blurb, they're shown moving into their staterooms, and Sheldon and Stefan are roommates. Lizzie and Brooke are right next door, and they meet out on their mini decks. Lizzie asks "Hello cheeky boy! What are you doing over in this part of town?" Stefan responds "We're on a gay cruise - this is my boyfriend, Jonathan. Party Pants!" Goofball.
They're back in the galley, finishing the prep work. Josh's pasta didn't work, so he's making scallops scrambled eggs. Stefan says "Come on - breakfast again?"
The guests arrive, as do the judges. Padma, Curtis, Tom, Hugh, John Suley, the head chef of Celebrity Cruises, Caissie Stafford, Cruise Director for Celebrity Cruises, and Sheldon Thompson, Hotel Director for Celebrity Cruises. Tom said getting into the Final 4 is big - you don't want to get to the last 5 cheftestants and then not make it to the Final 4.
Brooke's scrambling trying to get 7 different elements of her dish for all of the 200 dishes.
BROOKE - Mussels & Frog Legs with Celery Root & Fennel Puree, Papadums & Shallot Chutney - Caissie said "I didn't even know we had frog's legs on board! Tom and Curtis both say before even tasting it, it's very inventive, and then Tom said the flavors are really good. The frog's leg isn't the most earthy dish, but adding the beet glaze made it more earthy. Hugh said it all married well and was very modern view of it. Caissie liked the presentation. Tom noted that the papadum was the only negative - too greasy.
STEFAN - Braised Pork Belly with Beer Sauce, Parsnip & Eel Ravioli - Tom said it's the greasiest looking sauce he's ever seen. He takes a bite and says "Oh my God!" All we hear is a lot of crunching. LOUD crunching. Padma asks if that's a tooth. Curtis, however, said he loves the crunchy pork. He said it's a cultural thing - people in Australia or Great Britain, they expect the very crunchy cracklings. Hugh said "Well, there's the difference between beautiful people like Curtis with fluoride teeth, or the guy with two teeth gnawing on it in the corner. It's England, so it's different." Padma said she thinks Stefan pushed the envelope with the eel and parsnip ravioli, but Hugh said he can only taste the parsnip.
JOSH - Scrambled Scallops with Braised Pork Belly & Bacon - Tom said that if Josh hadn't said it was scallops, he wouldn't know - but he can taste the sea flavor. He thinks it's packing a lot of punch. Padma thinks there's not enough scallop flavor, but Sheldon Johnson said he likes the presentation. Everyone thinks he was very inventive and the flavors were good. Tom was surprised he was able to recover from the mishap with the pasta.
SHELDON - Korean BBQ Filet Mignon, Tempura Lobster, Sesame Cabbage, Kimchi & Teriyaki Sauce - Tom likes his presentation, but Hugh asks why people think tempura is a good idea, and he's getting "the softie again". Tom notes that the tempura had to have come out of the fryer 10 minutes before plating. Hugh and Sheldon like the kimchi beef. Hugh says, however, that the dish hearkens back to the origins of Surf and Turf - that people wanted 2 different items on the plate - and they weren't married. Tom agrees and says "I don't even think they were dating." Caissie says "We had a singles night the first night; they missed it." (It's not looking good for Sheldon!)
LIZZIE - Cabbage Stuffed with Suckling Pig & Scallops with Mustard Sour Cream with Pickled Shallots & Apples - Tom said the cabbage isn't cooked enough, and it's hard to eat. Curtis said the scallop is overpowered by the rest of the dish. Tom loves the pickled items, and overall, he enjoys the dish. Guests note that it's difficult to eat.
The judges talk about who could win - The Celebrity Cruises head chef says Brooke was inventive. Hugh also thinks that Josh put out a great dish. Curtis thought Lizzie's dish was good, but Tom thinks it needed one more element. Meanwhile, Hugh thinks Lizzie could be included in the bottom group - it wasn't new and modern - it was more traditional. Caissie thought Stefan's dish didn't capture the flavors of surf & turf, and Hugh said not taking off the skin on the belly made it difficult to eat. Sheldon Johnson, Hotel Director, said he wouldn't eat Stefan's dish again. Meanwhile, Sheldon's dish was a failure with the tempura, per the Celebrity Cruises head chef, and Curtis said he chose the worst proteins and executed them badly.
At Judges Table ::::whooshing camera::: Padma and Curtis note that Brooke cooked outside the box and they were impressed. Padma asked Sheldon what he thought of the challenge, and Sheldon said it was uninspiring to him, and the ingredients just didn't to speak to him. Tom notes that HE was the first to pick his ingredients, so why did he choose filet and lobster? He replies that he thought he could execute those items. Curtis said there were a couple of items that were inedible on the plate. Hugh notes he didn't re-imagine the surf & turf.
For Josh, Curtis was nervous about the scrambled scallops, but said it worked and it was fabulous. Hugh said the pork belly was spot on, but the scallop was strange. Tom said he was probably the first person ever to scramble scallops. Hugh said the nice sea flavor worked around the pork and they were well integrated.
Padma said she was excited to hear Stefan was working with eel, as she remembered his last season on TC, and he had had a deft hand with the eel. Curtis asked if he had tasted the parsnip and eel together; Stefan replied he had and that it tasted fine to him. Curtis said you couldn't taste the eel. Tom noted the sauce had a half inch of grease on top. Stefan said he skimmed the pork fat off, but there's only 45 minutes to plate up....Hugh notes "You guys have to conceptualize dishes that work under the pressures of the challenge." Tom also notes that the skin was so hard he thought he could have broken a tooth. Curtis said while he likes crispy pork, this was right on the verge of going over. He could hear Tom chewing on the other side of the table loud and clear.
For Lizzie, Tom said he liked the idea of the dish, and it tasted good, but when you cut into the cabbage, it fell apart. Curtis also loved the dish and thought it was presented beautifully.
Curtis announces the winner - and it is Brooke! Padma tells her she'll get a 7 night Caribbean vacation for 2. She laughs and says "That's ironic!" She realizes that, after spending time on the cruise ship, maybe her fear of boats was in her head. Meanwhile, Lizzie and Josh are also both safe, and they can return with Brooke to the galley. That leaves Stefan and Sheldon.
(Another in-between is HYSTERICAL! The #SaveChefCJ and #SaveChefJosie - it's 94% for CJ, and 6% for Josie! LOL!!!)
Back at JT - Tom notes the issues with both of their dishes, and says he hates to see either of them go. Padma asks Stefan to PYKAG. I *REALLY* thought Sheldon was going to go home. Stefan has a really nice farewell in the confessional, but realizes he has LCK to redeem himself. (They show him saying "Of course it's Wifey!")
Previews for next week show them in Juneau, dog sleds, fresh fish, and some bears.