As tonight's ever-important episode got underway, all of the chefs were remarking about how it felt a weight had been lifted, now that Jen was gone. Oddly enough, I felt the same way even sitting at home. Overall, tonight's episode was nice, positive change from the week's of the past, with each of the cooks performing well (most of the time). There may be hope yet!
The chefs are greeted by Chef Ramsay the following morning, when they learn that they will be eating a signature breakfast dish prepared by Gordon himself. As an added bonus, the chefs get to dine with their loved ones - Petrozza with his father and girlfriend, Christina with her parents and Corey with her mother and boyfriend - which gives each of the cooks a little boost. (Or in Petrozza's case, a few tears.) But of course, there is always a twist & mdash; the chefs had to then prepare the same dish Gordon served as part of the first challenge. While Corey and Petrozza spent most of the time reconnecting with family, Christina smartly analyzed the food, expecting just such a task.
Giving the chefs one serving of the dish to use as a reference, each of the three chefs set off to prepare the dish. The first decision was selecting the right beef. Christina chose a venison strip loin, while Petrozza and Corey chose buffalo tenderloin. Petrozza, however quickly changed his mind after tasting the meat, and served the venison as well. The second major component of the dish was a puree. Christina chose to make a white bean puree while Corey prepared a potato and parsnip puree. (Petrozza didn't make a puree at all.) Finally, each chef made a red wine reduction for the sauce, but only Corey used the secret ingredient - a raspberry framboise that made the sauce slightly sweet.
When time came to serve, each of the chefs had severe mistakes. Corey's choice of meat was incorrect, Petrozza left off the puree completely, and Christina used an aioli as a binding agent, which Gordon said was completely wrong. On the plus side, Petrozza and Christina used the right cuts of meat, and Corey, in addition to the perfect sauce, also used cream as a binding agent. However, Corey was quickly eliminated because of the meat choice. Between Christina and Petrozza's dishes, Gordon chose Christina (three wins in a row, now) despite the aioli. To add salt to Petrozza's wounds, Gordon told him if there had been any puree on the plate, he would have won. Even so, Christina spent the afternoon with Gordon (and her family) seeing the sites of Los Angeles in a private double-decker bus and eating at L.A. hot spots while Petrozza and Christina crushed ice by hand and polished the glasses. (Corey pretended the ice was Jen. Ha!)
In tonight's dinner service, the chef's each took a turn running the "hot plate" as well as cooking on their station. The best part of the night for me was watching Gordon give each of the chefs "assertiveness" training. While I am of the mind that you don't have to be a raging maniac to run a kitchen, I still enjoy Gordon's methods, and found it quite funny to see the chefs try to measure up. Petrozza got pretty nasty, and seemed the most convincing. Corey was completely lost, and Christina, who showed improvement by the end, reminded Gordon of a cheerleader he couldn't take seriously. How would they fare at service?
Once food started flowing out of the kitchen, Petrozza was the first to take on working the pass. Gordon cleverly had sous chefs Gloria and Scott set up sabotages to test the chefs as well. Although Petrozza did pretty well, he missed one of the sabotages, which featured a risotto without peas. However, he recovered and ran the kitchen pretty well, despite Christina who crashed and burned in the fish station. First she overcooked her salmon and scallops, and then served raw salmon that Petrozza rejected at the pass. Gordon even asked her if she was trying to sabotage Petrozza at one point. All in all, Gordon seemed pleased with Petrozza's efforts.
Next up, Corey took on the pass. She made an early mistake not catching the fact that a table of six only had five entrees on the ticket, which quickly earned her a scolding. She quickly became timid as she did earlier during training, but somehow began to pull things together. That is until Scott served lamb wellington with the wrong sauce. Corey did catch the mistake, but not until she had already poured the sauce over the meat, which Gordon deemed "game over" and kicked her off the hot plate saying it was "not good enough."
Trying to redeem her "crap" performance on her station, Christina took control when working the pass. Though her attitude got under sous chef Scott's skin and Corey said her "squeally" voice was annoying, Christina moved food out of the kitchen. She also was the only chef not fooled by Gordon's sabotage, catching Gloria's substitution of basil in the mashed potatoes instead of mint, which earned Gordon's approval.
Overall, it was a strong dinner service, and Gordon seemed pleased. At least he's probably not sweating the fact that he is hiring one of these folks. He asked each chef to nominate one person for elimination, which all of the chefs found difficult after becoming close. Even Christina admitted that she and Corey (who had their share of run-ins in the early going) had begun to get along and work well in the kitchen. At nomination time, Christina nominated Corey and vice versa, while Petrozza nominated Christina as well, based on her inexperience. It was a nice moment when Gordon told the chefs how much he had grown to like them and hated this part of the show.
Ultimately, Gordon sent Petrozza to the final without question (my money is still on him to win), leaving him to decide between Christina, who stepped up as a leader despite poor cooking, and Corey, who cooked well but lost control of the kitchen to the point that Gordon "would be scared to leave her alone in the kitchen". Saying his decision was based on everything that happened this season (including a lot of Christina wins), Corey was sent home. Gordon gave her a heartfelt goodbye speech and she handled her exit with grace after doing "bloody well." I have to say, for all her sneakiness and faux-sexiness early on, she was (usually) a pretty solid cook.
So now, the showdown begins? Do you think Petrozza's experience will win out? Or will Gordon's golden girl keep her winning streak alive until the end? Tell us who you think will win and what you're looking forward to (sadly, I'm eager to see Matt's goofiness and just how "not bitter" Jen is) in next week's episode. Comment away and check back next week for the final showdown!
As tonights ever-important episode got underway all of the chefs were remarking about how it felt a weight had been lifted now that Jen was gone Oddly enough I felt the same way even sitting at home Overall tonights episode was nice positive change from the weeks of the past with each of the cooks performing well most of the time There may be hope yetThe chefs are greeted by Chef Ramsay the following morning when they learn that they will be eating a signature breakfast dish prepared by Gordon himself As an added bonus the chefs get to dine with their loved ones Petrozza with his father and girlfriend Christina with her parents and Corey with her mother and boyfriend which gives each of the cooks a little boost Or in Petrozzas case a few tears But of course there is always a twist mdash the chefs had to then prepare the same dish Gordon served as part of the first challenge While Corey and Petrozza spent most of the time reconnecting