Josie started things off with a dish most famous for being associated with the Season One line, "I'm not your bitch, bitch!" While Dave Martin's one-liner was spicy and full of zest, Josie's herb-roasted chicken was very ... beige. Jonathan Waxman, who knows his chicken, thought it was "too standard" and unexciting.
I think Stefan dodged a bullet with his grilled cheese sandwich and roasted pepper soup. While his soup and sandwich probably tasted good, he seemed to ignore the primary directive of making it healthy. That bread, spelt or not, was visibly glistening with butter and fat.
Sheldon's Season Four-inspired beef carpaccio mostly elicited a "meh" reaction from the judges, who had issues with the appearance of the dish and flavor-less tofu.
The duck breast and miso polenta that Micah made sounded delicious, but the on-site judges complained that miso and polenta are never a good mix. I'll take their word for it.
Those were all the middle-of-the-road dishes; now for the best ones. After being told not to call himself a pork expert by Padma, Josh tackled the pig once again, this time to positive reviews. His soy-glazed tenderloin with smoked cashew puree was tender, moist, and combined different flavors well. Brooke brought back one of the great unsolved mysteries of Top Chef with the pea puree, which went missing back in Season Seven. This time, the puree was found right on the plate, and everyone loved its dairy- and butter-free goodness. But the win, once again, went to Kristen, who's quickly become the front-runner of the season — seriously, there's something about her. Maybe it's the perfect boy-cut but she just projects a sense of ease and infallibility. (Seriously, everyone should get a pixie cut. It instantly improved the lives of Anne Hathaway, Halle Berry, Emma Watson, and Justin Bieber). Stefan better watch himself — Kristen's dangerous. Her Carla-inspired healthy pot pie dish garnered fan-boyish raves from the judges.
NEXT: The virtue of not stealing pickles