The season begins in DC with 17 cheftestants, and as has been the case with the recent seasons, they start with a Mise en Place tournament for the Quickfire Challenge.
They change it up a little bit and make the last round one in which the final four have to use the prepped ingredients to create a dish and the winner gets $20,000. Kenny from Colorado impresses early with his speed, winning the first three rounds handily. But the cocky Angelo wins with his dish of roasted chicken wing and thigh, chilled potato onion jam and potato noodles.
Elimination Challenge: Create a dish that reflects where you are from for three hundred people at the kickoff party for the Cherry Blossom Festival. They divide into four groups, with the winner of each group being up for the win and the loser being up for elimination. The four finalists from the Quickfire get to choose the groups, and the judges are Padma, Tom, Gail, and Eric Ripert. Here are the groups and their dishes:
Amanda, California: red snapper Carpaccio, clementines, sencha oil, daikon, and caraway gelee, which the judges find messy and underseasoned
Arnold, Thailand and Tennessee: Kaffir lime and Thai basil cake, palm sugar anglaise, and “myint” (his last name) julep, and gets no comment from the judges that we see
Kevin, Mid-Atlantic: Pennsylvania lamb, Meyer lemon and pistachio marmalade, and spring onions, which the judges like, flavor-wise
Jacqueline, New York: Duo of Hudson Valley chicken liver and port wine mousse, which is grainy and she knows it
Stephen, Ohio: potato-crusted ribeye, celery root puree, scarlet stadium mustard vinaigrette (for the Buckeyes), but the judges don’t like that the meat is deep-fried
Ed, New England: saut�ed cod cakes with Boston baked beans and shaved fennel salad, but the judges think there’s not enough cod
Lynne, Hudson Valley: corn-camembert ice cream on waffles, bacon praline and caramel sauce
Tracey, Atlanta: stone ground grits, maple cheddar, Port Royal rock shrimp, which the judges find bland
Kenny, Colorado: cinnamon-coffee rubbed trout, black bean mole, goat cheese polenta, and quinoa, and the judges like the seasoning and the texture.
Alex, Russia and California: deconstructed short rib borscht with cr�me fraiche, which they think is well cooked.
Tamesha, Caribbean: jerked chicken sphere, soft polenta, tamarind, mango, and cilantro, which gets no judge commentary.
Andrea, South Florida and Italy: pork with chorizo potato gnocchi, calabaza, and orange gremolata, which the judges find tasty if not from Miami
Tim, Maryland: pan-seared Maryland rockfish with pickled leek, dill, and grilled crostini, which the judges aren’t super pleased with.
Tiffany, Texas: Cajun shrimp and crawfish salad, chicken-fried tomatillos which gets no judge commentary.
Kelly, Rocky Mountains: spice crusted NY strip steak, fiddlehead fern, and wild mushroom saut�, which the judges think is well-seasoned and well-cooked.
Angelo, rural Connecticut: Arctic char with pickled shallots, tapioca, and smoked bacon froth, which Tom loves but Gail thinks has too much dill.
John, Michigan: maple mousse Napoleon with crisp macadamia nuts and vanilla sauce, which the judges think is too sweet and they can’t taste the maple.
Read the full recap at Television Without Pity.
Photo credit: Bravo