Caswell is going home.
Chef Canora is the winner of the Chairman's Challenge.
Onto the recap.
We're in Vegas this week and the theme is "Inspiration" (Wouldn't "Secrecy" be better? Y'know, along the lines of "What goes on in Vegas, stays in Vegas"?)
Secret Ingredient Challenge: Chocolate
Winner: Chef Tsai
First up is the Secret Ingredient Challenge where we find the Chefs at the pastry kitchen of Pastry Chef Jean Philippe in the new City Center. They are tasked to make to a pastry for a wedding party, using the secret ingredient Chocolate. World renowned pastry Chef Jean Philippe is the guest chef. 2 hours to make the pastry. Everyone is sort of flummoxed because, y'know, they are chefs, not pastry chefs.
Tsai: Croquembouche with a pate choux ... generally positive comments
Canora: Croquembouche with raspberry and creme puffs ... major fail
Caswell: Croquembouche with chocolate mouse ... main complaint was not enough chocolate and "dense"
Forgioni: Peanut Butter Chocolate Parfait ... not sophisticated enough and presentation was not good
Tio: (Plated 3 desserts) Chocolate mouse and [blank] and [blank] ... no one was impressed, thought plated dessert was too simple
Chairman's Challenge: Modern classic interpretation of the Las Vegas Buffet
Guest Judge: Shawn McClain, executive chef of Sage Restaurant
For the Chairman's Challenge the chefs find themselves at the Sage Restaurant at the Aria Hotel, where they are told it is a double-elimination challenge. They are tasked to interpret the Las Vegas Buffet and give it an "inspired" modern take. They have 3 hours and prepare 3 hot and 2 cold dishes. Chef Tsai as the previous winner of the Mystery Ingredient Challenge gets a head start on the ingredients selection.
Some comments and highlights of the prep ...
Tsai's coconut milk explodes and destroyes the cryovac machine, which really pisses off Canora but later says that Tsai "did the right thing" by cleaning up the machine.
The chefs generally are having a bit of a problem (or is it lack of inspiration?) with the pressure cooker, esp. Forgione who is using it to make prime rib of all things.
Tio is making Gnudi of all things as one of her dishes ... did she take inspiration from Caswell's last dish?
Canora is having a problem coming up with a 3rd hot dish.
Caswell seems ahead of the game (time-wise) because he is setting up before anyone else is done with their food.
Tsai is yelling and running around looking for his PVC tubes.
Comments from the judges:
Symon was impressed with his cold vegetable soup
Veal cheek with coconut milk and star anise was too salty said Donatella
The prime rib was "fatty" in a good way said Simon
Tea smoked salmon was "fantastic" said Symon
Donatella said his lemongrass dish was a bit overpowering
The lobster and dirty rice (which was supposed to be spicy) and Simon said it was executed "perfectly"
The ribeye pho (which was butter poached) was found to be too heavy and in need of acid.
Simon said pineapple and pork was always a no-no
Shrimp was mushy said Donatella
Beef and grapes not a good combo
BBQ cracked crab was not a good dish according to Simon
All in all a bad day for Caswell
Donatella really liked the cauliflower soup
The Gnudi was "gummy" and had too much flour
The salmon was delicious said Symon
The Asian cured duck according to Simon was "confused" but he liked the lobster alot
Seafood carpaccio worked very well said Simon
Eggplant parmesan was really good according to Donatella
Veal Cheek had "deep" flavors
Stuffed pork loin was delicious said Donatella
Compressed fruit salad had really good pineapple according to Simon
Symon said that Canora had the best execution, although not the best inspiration
Symon said Caswell was very mediocre, a flat-line and middle-of-the-pack
Simon really liked Tio's lobster but Donatella said all she tasted was "butter"
Forgione's leg of lamb was overbearing said Simon, but Symon liked it.
Chef's Tsai one bad dish was the pho, but Simon really took offense to Tsai's combo of pork and pineapple.
There's a hung jury between Tio, Forgione and Tsai as to last place so all three "survive" but next time Alton Brown promises that it will be a double-elimination.
Have at it ...