On to the main courses, which included about a gallon of cream cheese. Bene served up a roasted chicken breast with bland steamed "family dinner" veggies that the judges absolutely railed on. Gail called Carrie's vinegar-braised chicken in cream sauce "gloopy and soupy." Travis ran into problems when he cut his lamb unevenly; Besh was disappointed in both the meat and vegetables. (Later, when watching the judges' comments, Travis looked remarkably like a 6-year-old when he whined, "I wanted it that way!" — even though he admitted early to having trouble chopping his ingredients. Shirley noted that Travis gets defensive when it comes to criticism). Justin's roasted duck breast with eggplant vinaigrette was the best entree by far, even though you had to look hard for the cream cheese.
Given that it was a cream cheese challenge, dessert would seem like the easiest course, given the ingredients (except for the lack of other dairy products). Even though Louis stood out in the Quickfire, he disappointed this time around with a soggy graham cracker bar. Nicholas couldn't find any yeast for his beignets, so he decided on a "cheeky" funnel cake instead, and it turned out to be a good gamble. Gail said it "stood out, far and beyond." For the first time in the competition, Shirley fell flat with her egg custard, which Padma said tasted scrambled, and Stephanie's cream cheese and dough dessert completely missed the mark.
Overall, the judges seemed unimpressed by the meal as a whole, but Nina, Nicholas, and Justin landed in the top, with Nina taking home the $10,000. There's no stopping her, booboo!
The judges were extremely harsh with the bottom group this week. Tom looked as though he were personally affronted by some of the dishes, and Padma looked as though she'd been lactose intolerant all along. Sara, Travis, and Bene made basic cooking errors, and the judges especially criticized Travis and Bene's veggies (Padma called them a "Travis-ty.") But Bene ended up getting cut for his cafeteria-like steamed vegetables. It's all about the damn veggies.
Does anyone love Carlos as much as I do? Does Nina have this season in the doggy bag — or do some of the other ladies, like Shirley, Carrie, and Stephanie, have a good shot, too?