Ours would not be squab, we'll tell you that. But squab and peas is what Jacques Pépin would want for his last meal, so that's what Carla cooked. Lydia Bastianich asked for roast chicken. Wylie Dufresne: eggs benedict. And just in case we didn't latch on to the Last Supper theme enough, the producers seated the panel of all-star chefs in a tableau meant to look like da Vinci's The Last Supper
Note: We reveal the winner and loser, below.
It's too early to start making generalizations about the season as a whole, but we will say this: Simple wins the day. Remember Ariane's watermelon and feta salad? And the short ribs? And the Blue Hill challenge where seasonal, impeccable ingredients were treated lightly? Many have complained that this season is boring, but face it: A lot of these dishes are things we'd make at home. Maybe they don't make scintillating television, but that's what Carla and Fabio are for.
So, our thoughts:
1. We've never seen green eggs and ham that looked appetizing. That includes ones we made as kids, after reading the book. Or ones we've made on St. Patrick's Day. And that includes Carla's, even though she won the quickfire.
2. Europeans think alike. No one made mention of the fact that Fabio and Stefan both made an egg-like dessert with mango as the "yolk."
3. Why can't Fabio win a quickfire challenge? He doesn't just not win. He's often in the bottom. And yet we know he can cook (although we start to doubt ourselves at the beginning of episodes). He seems to flounder when he has to be creative or is pressed for time.
4. We don't believe Wylie Dufresne would want eggs benedict as his last meal. But the producers wouldn't let him ask for freeze-dried foie gras. And shrimp scampi, Susan Ungaro (the president of the James Beard Foundation)? Nah.
5. Leah, Whole Foods sells fresh bread. She was talking about the great challah she found, then holds up a plastic package.
6. We were intrigued by the slow-poached egg. They kept showing Leah's bucket of water with eggs floating in it. Slow-poached eggs are cooked at a lower temperature for a long time, so that the whites are barely set (we think- we've never tried it). Dufresne apparently loves them, but it was Leah's downfall, in addition to runny hollandaise. Still, it was one of the more interesting techniques in the episode.
7. There was some tricky backpedaling on Stefan's salmon. On any other episode, he would have gone home. Every judge uniformly dismissed his overcooked fish. But they knew they couldn't send him home; he's the obvious frontrunner. So during deliberation, they had to tone it down and start praising the dill... the proper seasoning...
8. We weren't going to get catty, but... Hosea's propensity for smirking when the judges criticize Stefan and his calling out everyone's faults in the "stew room" is making him look insecure and nasty. There, we said it.
9. The Fabio-Bastianich coupling must have been rigged. It was just too perfect. She could be his mother. And then he soldiers through a broken finger to make an impeccable roast chicken. What did we say about simple?
Ok, your turn. What did you think of last night's episode?
Episode 1: Ethnic Foods Galore
Episode 2: Hot Dogs and Angry Chefs
Episode 4: Lights, Camera, Kathie Lee Gifford
Episode 5: Make Your Own Sushi at a Bridal Shower?
Episode 6: And a Martha in a Pear Tree
Episode 7: Pop, Pop, Fizz, Fizzle
Episode 8: E-I-E-I-O (and Really Good Chicken)
Episode 9: Restaurant Wars!
Episode 10: Super Bowl Showdown
Episode 11: Of Eel and Eric Ripert