BLACK SKILLET TROUT
For some reason, this team — it wasn't exactly a team, just four people making the same dish — decided to do prep work together. Louis made the seasoning for the whole group, which seemed to destroy each of the four dishes. Hugh thought each and every dish was under-seasoned, and Tom noted that everyone was so paranoid about getting it right that they got it wrong. Tory said this whole challenge was just about making the simple stuff very well. To draw a comparison that only rabid fans of women's gymnastics would understand, this challenge was like compulsories (bring them back!) — to make sure you had the basic techniques mastered.
SHRIMP AND TASSO
Dana thought that putting components from each chef's work together, you had the dish: Nina's shrimp, Bene's sauce, and Michael's presentation. I about wanted to pelt Michael with an authentic Louisiana crawdad when he dumped Nina's okra on the counter. I foresee Michael becoming a bigger monster as the season progresses.
This group's politically incorrect chop was all over the place. Some of the meat was perfect, some of it was far from. Surprisingly, Patty was the closest to nailing the presentation of the dish.
Clearly, the dessert group was the winner. In past seasons, dessert caused so many problems, but this time, the chefs really figured out how to make it work. Even though Stephanie didn't know how to make a biscuit at first, Lally claimed that she made the cocktail and biscuit better than Commander could. There were some soggy beignets here and there, but as I always say, a soggy beignet is better than no beignet. Whoa, Dana just called herself a "whipped cream whore"!
The Judges Table for the winners came down to Stephanie, Justin, and Nina, but it was all about the desserts. Justin edged Stephanie out for the win with his great overall trio. The losers turned out to be Louis, Carlos, and Bret. Carlos blackened his fish way too much, Louis botched the seasoning for everyone in his group, and Bret didn't give himself enough time to actually cook his meat. In the end, Bret had to pack his knives and go. Even though Bret could come across as... well, dumb, I really thought Louis made a bigger mistake that impacted more dishes and just generally shows very little potential. Maybe I just feel sorry for Bret because he seems this close to a mid-life crisis.
Does this season belong to the ladies? Did the right guy go home?
Follow @EWStephanLee on Twitter.