Kevin, Dave, and Ariel are feeling pretty good after seeing their loved ones.
Ramsey introduced them to their challenge - there were three domes with international cuisine, and they have to cook something from that region of the world. Ariel got China. Dave got Indian and was a little scared. Kevin got Mexican. Dave was jealous of the Mexican pick. They have 45 minutes to make one stunning entree. They have ingredient shelves stocked with their regional items.
Oh, crap. Dave chose pork. Most Indians don't eat pork. Ugh.
Ramsey brought in experts from each cuisine to judge.
Ariel presented her (very nervous forgetting what she cooked) duck with lychee plum marinade. She then said that she ordered Chinese food all the time, but it's been a while since she's had Chinese takeout. It was called not balanced enough, pleasantly sweet, with a watery sauce. Mixed.
Kevin did an orange and cumin pork tenderloin with .... no sauce. He forgot to plate the mole. Ouch. The Mexican judge thought that it would have been astounding with the sauce. The Chinese judge liked it even without the sauce, as did the Indian judge.
Dave made a mung bean puree with seared pork tenderloin. He admitted that he didn't really know if pork was ok. The Indian judge told him that he should have gone with chicken or seafood. The Mexican judge liked his flavors. The Chinese judge liked it. The Indian judge really liked his lentils.
The Chinese judge gave his vote to Dave. The Mexican judge also gave his vote to Dave. The Indian judge also gave it to Dave, because he loved his ability to work with the spiced for the first time.
As a reward, Dave got each of the three judge's signature dishes prepared for him at the Chef's Table. He also got a full set of beautiful cookware (missed the brand - did anyone catch it?). As a surprise, his sister and his fiancee got to join him at the Chef's Table.
The punishment was to polish silverware and get the dining room set up.
Dave took some time to chat with the chefs and learn some things.
Ariel and Kevin got nagged by JP as they ironed tablecloths. They got to see Dave and his loved ones in the kitchen enjoying the reward. They certainly didn't enjoy that.
Time to get ready for service. Each of them will take a turn running the pass.
Kevin was up first, and there was the expected sabotage. Kevin was running the pass well, and he caught the first sabotage (halibut instead of sea bass). Ariel had some lamb that wasn't cooked right, and then she couldn't debone them properly because they were falling apart. Kevin kept sending the lamb back and wasn't listening to her complaints. Then, her lamb sauce went missing for a couple minutes. In the end, Kevin did a decent job.
Dave's turn up at the pass, and he was taking some crazy charge. He was whipping a towel around and swearing. He was rude to JP. Not sure if it was the best attitude, but the food was leaving the kitchen. Sabotage time - spinach puree instead of asparagus puree. He missed it. His second sabotaged dish was also missed. The tuna was not seared and had no sesame seeds. He got spanked verbally by Ramsey. He recovered well, and spotted some cold tuna, and some undersalted food. He hit his groove and the food kept moving. I think he did a good job.
Ariel took her turn at the pass. Her first sabotage was parsnip puree instead of mashed potatoes. She missed it. The next one was salmon instead of seabass, and she caught it (it was covered in garnish, so the pink was hidden). Then, she started yelling out too many orders at the same time. She complained the Kevin was dragging. Ariel lost control of the kitchen. Ramsey was not happy. Kevin was slow on cooking scallops, and wasn't getting them out at the right time.
Still, service was completed with minimal drama.
Ramsey asked each of them to tell them the one person who shouldn't be in the final.
Kevin thought that Ariel should not be in the finals. Ariel chose Kevin. Dave chose Ariel. Ramsey said that their answers didn't help him, and asked them each to tell him why they DO belong in the finals. Everyone basically said how great they are. Dave said that he has grown tenfold in the competition, and he has led himself. Ariel thinks she should be int he finals because she is young and creative.
Dave is in the finals! Woooooot! The second person in the finals is Kevin. Not a surprise to me. Ariel just didn't seem on the same level as either of them.
They have 30 minutes to get changed and get ready for their limo.
They have 45 minutes to do a menu item worthy of the Araxi, with 5 highly regarded judges.
Kevin is making a petite clam bake with poached lobster and corn pudding.
Dave is rack of venison with parsnip puree.
Alain Gayot (guide book author, food critic) really liked Dave's dish. He liked Kevin's presentation, but went for Dave's dish with his vote.
Jamie Maw (Canadian food critic) gave his vote to Dave as well.
Tanya Steel (Editor in Chief for Epicurious) was impressed with both dishes, but chose Kevin for her favorite.
Warren Garraty (Executive chef at West Restaurant in Vancouver) gave his vote to the lobster.
The final guest is Coleman something (from the now defuct Gourmet magazine) gave the win to Dave. Wooooot!
The cheftestants worked on their menus. Heather will be working with Kevin, and Scott will be working with Dave. In addition, they have some "secret ingredients" - some of their former competitors.
Dave got first pick and grabbed Ariel. Kevin chose Van. Dave's second choice was Robert. Kevin chose Amanda, because his menu was fish heavy, and she's good at fish. Dave's next choice was Suzanne, who expected to be picked last. Sabrina was the last member of Kevin's team.
Kevin's menu was intricate, but his plating was beautiful. Dave's menu was simpler.
Kevin's menu features caramelized scallops, coffee cured beef tenderloin, and a trio of creme brulee for dessert.
Dave's menu featured a wild mushroom risotto, venison, and a layered mousse for dessert.
Ramsey thought that Kevin's menu might be too complicated. He worried that Dave's might be too pedestrian. Then, he presented both of them with their white jackets.
Time for service! They skipped the restaurant design portion this season. I don't think I missed it so much.
Dave's kitchen was getting orders out quickly, with Robert making very good risotto. Amanda, over in Kevin's kitchen, was sinking the scallops. She asked "how cooked do you want the scallops?" and ended up sending up rubber. Ramsey told him to not be afraid to switch people up. He pulled Amanda and brought Van onto scallops. He finally got food out of the kitchen.
Dave, unfortunately ran low on mushrooms near the end. He told Robert to go a little lighter on the mushrooms. From that, Robert got that he should barely add any mushrooms. Robert took it as a personal insult when he got talked to about it, and started messing with Dave, making him drop things. Nice. Nice, to the guy with the broken wrist.
Amanda's switch to risotto didn't end well - it was sent back because it was crunchy. Dave's food wasn't coming up to the pass right, either. Ariel sent up overcooked venison. He caught it, though (whereas Kevin didn't catch the bad risotto), and she fixed the problem quickly.
The chef at the Araxi is eating at Hell's Kitchen tonight, too. Kevin was calling out different meat temps and confused Amanda. He blamed her. It was totally his fault. He called medium rare and then medium well and then back again a couple of times. No wonder she was confused. He did start to yell at Amanda, but then caught himself and helped his sous chefs instead of hollering at them. Good job.
Kevin tried to catch up to Dave (who was 2 tables ahead of him) by firing two tables at once. Dave's kitchen, meanwhile, started to have some problems. His kitchen seemed to start falling apart just as Kevin's hit it's stride. They managed to pull it together and finished pretty much right at the same time.
The Moment of Truth came. Ramsey told them that their comment cards were both amazing, and it was the closest finale yet. They stepped up to their Doors of Destiny. The door that opened belonged to ....
Yay for Dave!!! Kevin was a gracious loser, and I sure do hope that Dave didn't do irreparable damage to his wrist during this ordeal. And, I hope that his wife is happy moving to Whistler! I'm thrilled.
How about you? Do you think the best chef won?