We're in Juneau, Alaska for this episode and we're down to Final 4 - *before* the LCK winner and maybe the Save-A-Chef come back into the competition.
The chefs are talking about Stefan as being a good-hearted person. Sheldon realizes he dodges a bullet. Josh notes his wife is about to have their baby. They arrive in Juneau, and realize it's very cold. Sheldon says in the confessional "I'd better throw on another couple of extra underwear just so I can keep the package all nice and warm, you know!" LOL
They meet Padma and Sean Brock, chef/owner of Husk, and McCrady's of Charleston, SC. (Padma is in a long-sleeved shirt and a vest - everyone else is in heavy coats - what the hell?) They are in front of Tracy's King Crab Shack. For the Quickfire, they are to create a dish that features king crab. They have 30 minutes, and the winner will get $5,000.
They all get to work - Lizzie's going with a frittata, Josh is using bacon (what a surprise), Brooke is making a compound butter using Dungeness crab, Sheldon is making a miso with the innards.
Lizzie - Crab Frittata with Cherry Tomato, Garlic Oil & Fried Capers. No comments from either Sean or Padma as to the taste.
Sheldon - King Crab, Dungeness Crab "Miso", Pine-smoked Asparagus and Charred Corn - Sean asks about the pine-smoked asparagus, and Sheldon said he's seen it done. Padma likes the broth, and says it's "kind of thick."
Brooke - King Crab, Sweet Corn & Leek Salad on Toast with Dungeness Crab Butter - Sean asks how she made the butter, and he says "delicious!"
Josh - Butter Poached King Crab with Succotash & Bacon - Sean notes "feeding succotash to a country boy!" and Josh said "yeah, I know - pretty ballsy!" Sean said "this succotash tastes like home." Josh thinks he's nailed it.
Low group - Lizzie and Josh
Top group - Sheldon and Brooke
And the winner is Sheldon! A comeback from being in the bottom of the previous EC.
For this EC, they'll be working with two very important culinary traditions key to Alaska's gold rush beginnings - fish and bread. They will be feeding people of Juneau salmon and sourdough bread. A local baker has dropped off a 3-decade old sourdough starter at their "home" in Juneau. They'll have three hours to cook at the Gold Creek Salmon Bake the next day. The winner will receive a trip for 2 to Costa Rica.
They drive to the Jorgenson House, and Josh is asking Brooke how she's feeling about the bread, since she's the baker (which she denies). Brooke tells Josh that she's not putting bacon in her bread, and Josh claims he's done with bacon.
They go into the kitchen and find 4 large buckets of starter. Sheldon says "That's starter for a million loaves" and does the Dr. Evil "one meeeelion" pinky point. :-) They begin to make their bread dough; lots of panting as they're kneading the dough. They then wrap the balls of dough to allow them to proof...which means a lot of waiting. Some Northern lights while they sleep and it's the next morning - Sheldon plays his ukelele, Josh notes his wife is 2 or 3 days past her due date.
They head off to the docks to get their fish. A boat docks, and dumps a large tub of various salmon - King, Cojo, Chum, Sockeye. They make their fish choices and gut the fish they've chosen. Lizzie notes in confessional how she misses her dad, who came from a British fishing family, and that he would have loved to have seen her today.
They arrive at the Gold Creek Salmon Bake, and they have 3 hours to prep and cook. Tom arrives to ask what they're making. He asks Josh about any news about the baby. It seems his wife is now dilated and is having contractions, and Tom asks if it's a distraction or motivation - Josh said both. It's why he's there.
He asks Sheldon what he's making, and he replies "Smoked salmon and pea soup." Tom said "That's pretty funny!" Sheldon looks confused and hesitantly says "Yeah", and Tom said "No, someone asked me yesterday what I would do, and I said I was feeling like pea soup and salmon!" Sheldon says to the camera "BOOM!" Big boost of confidence for him.
Tom talks with Lizzie about working with the old starter, and talks with Brooke about thinking whether she expected to get that far. He also asks her about poaching her salmon vs. grilling her salmon. Brooke realizes that poaching salmon to order is very risky, but she doesn't have time to change her plans now.
The crowd of people arrive along with the judges. It's like a big picnic, with bears nearby - Tom notes that the Mama bear and several cubs came, and then the Mama went up the tree. Tom said "Ahh, that's actually my fan club, my fan base..." :-)
The judges are Hugh, Tom, Gail, Emeril, and Chef Brock.
BROOKE - Poached Sockeye Salmon & Seafood Broth with Mustard Seed Caviar & Dill Sourdough - Tom likes the broth, Chef Brock thought it was beautiful seasoned; Emeril said she nailed the bread.
SHELDON - Green Tea & Chive Sourdough with Smoked Salmon & Pea Soup - Padma makes a face that tells Gail she doesn't like the bread. Padma says "I love green tea; I love chives. I don't love them together!" Emeril liked the crust, but it had no salt. Gail said the salmon was well cooked, but Padma said it was a bit too smoky. Chef Brock noted that Sheldon was manhandling the salmon with tongs; he thought it was disrespectful. But he liked the soup. Meanwhile Hugh thought the soup was too thick - more like baby food. Many of the locals were asking which types of salmon he used, and he said sockeye and chum. The locals say they rarely use chum in cooking.
In the in-between, Emeril notes that before Hurricane Katrina, his chef took the mother starter from his restaurant's walk-in, and fed it the whole time, as it was 3 months before the restaurant could reopen. But they had it upon reopening.
JOSH - Roasted Garlic & Sourdough Soup with Sockeye Salmon & Black Olive Croutons - Hugh liked the salmon, Tom said the soup had lots of flavor, but the garlic overwhelms the salmon. Emeril likes the concept, and likes the crunch of the olive croutons.
LIZZIE - Citrus & Beet-Glazed Salmon Slider with Poppy Seed Butter & Pickles - Gail likes the pickle, Hugh loves the bread - she's the only one who got the great crust on the bread. However, Tom doesn't know why she didn't marinate the salmon in the citrus/beet glaze. Chef Brock said he got no taste of the citrus or beet. He thinks she could have pushed herself harder. Padma *loves* the sourdough.
The judges head out to ask the guests what they thought of the dishes and they get various answers. The judges head to Judges Table - what looks to be a lot of wooden boxes stacked together - which is in the same encampment where the salmon bake was. So it's rather chilly - especially since you can see in the background that it's pouring down rain.
They tell Lizzie that her sourdough was great, but the salmon wasn't seasoned, despite the salmon being cooked perfectly. Padma asks if she tasted the whole slider as she served it; Lizzie said she tasted the components only. Tom said it needs to be tasted together.
Gail tells Sheldon she was worried about his peas and salmon; but she thought the bread was Sheldon-esque....but she doesn't think it worked together. Padma asks what type of salmon he used; he said sockeye and chum. Padma tells him the locals never use chum; it's what they use to feed the dogs......(long pause).....BUT they thought that his was very delicious. Chef Brock said he should have been more careful with the smoking; while the fish was cooked beautifully, it was bitter.
Gail tells Brooke her broth was beautifully made, but her fish was a bit overcooked. But she knows she was doing it to order; Brooke said she was a bit flustered at the beginning, but she hit her stride after the judges left her station. Hugh said he could see that when they arrived at her station. Chef Brock said he was crazy about the bread and didn't want it to end.
Emeril tells Josh he's a huge lover of bread soup, and loved the olive croutons. Hugh said the salmon was beautifully cooked, but when it was with the other items in his dish, it was overwhelmed by the other flavors. Gail asks if he was concerned about the balance in the dish, especially with the garlic. Josh said he roasted the garlic slowly enough so he thought it would have mellowed appropriately, and the sourdough would have helped mellow it as well. Tom said if he wanted a ton of garlic in the soup, that's his call. But he asks if it then smart to poach the salmon as the best thing to follow up the garlic, and Josh agreed that it probably wasn't the best idea.
Chef Brock announces the winner, and he says that nearly all the locals agreed that this dish was the one that showcased sourdough and salmon the best - and the winner is Brooke again! They leave JT while the judges deliberate.
Josh's soup was overpowering of the salmon; Lizzie's sandwich wasn't imaginative enough; Sheldon's sourdough was spongy and didn't have a lot of flavor. His soup was great, but the salmon was poorly handled.
Back at JT, the obligatory camera whooshing shots. Tom reviews the 3 dishes' faults, and Padma announces who is going home - and it's Lizzie who is asked to PYKAG.
Previews show Lizzie going up against Kristen in LCK. They also show a helicopter taking the 3 finalists to a glacier for a dog sled ride to their next challenge.
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