The judges stop at 4 Pigs first. Even with Adam’s reservations about how it would end up working, they’ve decided to serve all dishes family style, bringing big portions to the tables to serve themselves.
The first pairing of items is Adam’s baked clam with ramp and bacon and Mei’s chicken liver toast with plum puree. The chicken liver toast is mentioned as looking like “a melted peanut butter and jelly”, and that’s sort of correct. The judges like the flavor of it though, as well as enjoying Adam’s clam.
Service continues smoothly throughout the dining room as Adam presents the next course: Doug’s braised pork shoulder and beans and Mei’s seared scallops with grapefruit and brussels sprouts. The judges love the sprouts, but find the scallop salty. The pork shoulder gets high praise all around. Back in the kitchen, Doug really seems to have control with his line cooks and expedition of the plates is going off without a hitch. Adam is a chatty, chatty front of house person, but that works in his favor for this challenge as he entertains and informs the various parties about what they’re eating.
The final dish the judges are served is Melissa’s cobbler with buttermilk biscuits and cardamom cream served in a cast iron skillet. It looks super super tasty, and the family-style presentation really works in its favor. The grey team really structured their kitchen for success, and it shows.
Over on the Magellan side, things get off to a smooth start before the judges arrive, although Keriann’s lack of training the servers starts to back things up in the kitchen. Some tables are getting too many plates, while others aren’t getting their food at all. Katie has to go up to the floor to check in with Keriann about what’s going on, which can’t be good. In addition, Keriann didn’t really prep the line cooks on how to best plate her dessert, and her mousse is more of a ganache and doesn’t seem to be working with her pre-made crepes. As the executive chef, Katie has to figure out the best way to make it a workable dish, which means deciding to serve it hot rather than room temperature as Keriann originally wanted.
Once the judges arrive, they notice Keriann’s absence in the dining room, and more importantly, the food missing from other diner’s plates. Kariann’s trying to put on a brave face, but it may already be too late. Once the food starts arriving, things don’t pick up:
The first courses available are Katie’s beets with Sri Lankan curry, Katsuji’s hamachi sashimi, or Katsuji’s posole with chili, dungeoness crab, and chicharrones. Of the three, only the posole seems to get positive reviews, and these are mostly for the idea of a dry posole. The curry is also nice, although the judges don’t think it goes to the beets, and the sashimi similarly doesn’t get mentioned much.
Second course arrives and it’s Gregory’s two dishes. His haddock with spiced tomato, garam masala, pickled mushroom has its seasoning and pickled veg praised, but the tomato is not well reviewed. His hoisin-glazed pork with scallop and XO sauce1 gets much better reviews, especially since these scallops aren’t salty.
For dessert, the judges get Keriann’s vanilla crepe with burnt banana mousse, macerated cherry, and pistachio. Bringing the plates out to the judges is the first time Keriann notices that the crepes are being served hot, and the judges aren’t the first diners to get their dessert. She goes to discuss this with Katie in the kitchen while the judges taste what she’s made. All the judges are really disappointed with the dessert and Magellan’s menu as a whole – they feel that there wasn’t a cohesion between the dishes and that the team didn’t really have a leader or feel like one kitchen.
After both dinner services, the judges request to see the grey team first. They really noticed the respect the service team had for Adam and loved the clean flavors of his stuffed clam. The judges also praise Doug’s pork dish and mention how it felt like all the dishes came from one kitchen. The rest of the grey team highlight the effort Doug put in as executive chef and expediter to make sure everything proceeded smoothly. The Chase Sapphire diners are never seen or heard from in regards to the dishes served.
The grey team leaves and the orange team meets with the judges. As soon as the judges mention her absence on the dining floor and the issues with the servers, Keriann immediately starts backpedaling and overexplaining all that happened during the night. The disparate nature of the dishes served also gets mentioned – besides an overall feeling that the menu had no focus, the judges were also confused by Katie’s beet/curry combo.
Kariann brings up the changes that were made to her dessert. Gail asks Katsuji how he’d feel if one of his dishes was changed like that, but he defers to Katie as executive chef because he felt it wasn’t his decision to make. Katie is dinged for changing the dish, but the judges also seem to understand that as executive chef, it’s her job in a case like this to figure out how to get something that feels presentable. Kariann is also reprimanded, though, for not taking the time to show the team how to plate her dish AND not speaking to Katie earlier about the way it was being plated. Both seemed a little over their heads, and both needed to communicate better.
With these decisions discussed, the actual judging is pretty clear: the grey team is the clear winner of this season’s Restaurant Wars, and Doug rightly earns the prize for his expediting and cooking skills. Katie and Keriann are up for elimination for the front-of-house and back-of-house problems; ultimately, Keriann’s poor job of managing the servers, missing presence in the dining room, and terrible dessert send her home. She’s disappointed that she’s leaving because of the front of house experience, but also feels the rest of Team Magellan didn’t represent her dish.
Next week: SUDDEN DEATH QUICKFIRE! with past chefs! Last Chance Kitchen is also back! Padma is shopping, for some reason.
- which I’ve decided is named for the Beyonce song and will not be hearing other reasoning on ↵