This week's chefs are:
Rick Moonen, from NY. He is playing for the Cape Cod Sustainable Hook Fish Foundation.
Nils Noren is from Sweden, so I have to like him. It's like a cultural imperative. He's playing for the Friends of the French Culinary Institute, to give help to people who can't afford it.
Lachlan Patterson is from Boulder, CO. He is playing for the Denver Children's Hospital.
Michael Chiarello is from Napa Valley. He is competing for Clinic Ole, providing health care help to the Latino community.
Not-Padme introduced the Quickfire, where they have to cook with junk food. They have to use junk food to make something delicious. Michael chose first, and picked fishsticks and tartar sauce. Lachlan grabbed a hot dog, and Rick took the corndog. Nils snagged the fried shrimp. They are judged by people from the (BRAVO SHOW PLUG) show Flipping Out, who are fast food conneseurs.
Oops... Rick didn't get his food plated! Lachlan wasn't sure his sausages were cooked through! Duhn-duhn-duhn.
Lachlan's "Hot Dog" dish - Prosciutto stufado with pork kielbasa. It was called kind of rare.
Michael's fish sticks - Swordfish meatballs with fisherman's sauce. It looked very good and got very nice reviews.
Nils' Fried Shrimp Dish - Shrimp with creamed corn, and pickled cherry tomatoes. They weren't sure that it took from the fried shrimp enough.
They were not happy with not getting Rick's food.
Lachlan got 3 stars. Nils got 3 stars. Rick didn't get any stars, obviously. Michael got 4 1/2 stars.
Not-Padme told them that their Elimination Challenge is to cook a three course meal for 100 people, all by themselves. It's a party for Top Chef's biggest fans - and they have to make appetizers, taking off from the three courses of a meal. They have $1000 at Whole Foods, then 3 hours to prep.
Rick's menu: Opakapaka ceviche, Branandeof scallop & shrimp, and a preserved lemon custard.
Lachlan's menu: Pineapple & Speck "fritta esotica", grilled beef short ribs, and strawberry frangipane tart
Nils' menu: Diced scallop, Slow cooked salmon, and chocolate & goat cheese ganache with a smoked lapsang tea.
Michael's menu: Shaved brussel sprout salad, spicy prawns, and balsamic marinated strawberries.
The day of service, they have 1 hour to prep before serving. Some of the chefs are using their waitstaff to help them plate as much as possible. Nils was done before the others and he was hoping that he didn't forget anything. He helped Rick in the end.
Not-Padma and the judges arrive. I'm beginning to wonder if Gael Green has a problem with the top of her head, like if she lost a chunk of hair in some terrible accident and it never grew back? Anyhow...
Nils seemed to get the best remarks for the appetizer round, along with Rick.
Many of them got very good remarks on their main course.
Michael had a problem with plating his dessert. He asked a woman to help him plate. Nils' smoked tea in his dessert was not a favorite of some of the diners - one person called it "too smart" for her. I think that was Sweet Pea from Project Runway.
Who will come out on top?
Michael's brussel sprout salad got good marks. Gael Green's Hat liked his prawns, but didn't like that you needed a knife to eat it. Gael Green's hat was also skeptical about "lawn cuttings" in her ice cream, but she liked it.
Nils' appetizer and entree got very good marks. The dessert was the least sucessful part of his meal, saying that the tea tasted like bacon. Since I know that Republic of Tea's Lapsong Souchang smells exactly like beef jerky, I can see that would not be pleasant in dessert. The judges called each dish gem-like, but didn't like the dessert, but they were impressed that he stood behind his dish.
Lauchlan didn't get many notes, but his food looked yummy. They didn't like the deep fried pineapple. They were split on the braised short ribs. One of the judges said his dessert had a strange meat like quality.
Rick got a lot of good marks for making his panna cottas individually. They really liked a lot of his food. They thought his dishes were high end, elegant comfort food.
Rick's total is 17 stars.
Lauchlin's total is 15 1/2 stars.
Nils' total is 17 stars, to tie Rick.
Michael's total is 19 1/2 stars, so he wins.
How many more episodes before the Championship Round?