Kristen's lack of experience with a large restaurant is starting to show, as her tickets stack up and the servers get confused as to what goes where.
Kristen's dish is up next, a beef bourguignon with braised short rib, garlic puree, mushrooms & carrots. The judges love it but think it's missing more sauce and the deep wine flavor that makes that dish so special.
Brooke introduces up her own dish: baked gougeres, St. Agur blue cheese, roasted radish & stone fruit compote. They think it's fine but have trouble with the chewiness of the pine nuts. Danny is worried someone is going to lose a crown chewing on it.
Kristen's dessert rounds off the girls' presentation: Almond cake macaron with coconut custard & caramel buttercream. Gail is perturbed that there wasn't an actual macaron involved, as it's her most favorite food item. And once again, other guests are similarly puzzled.
The judges agree that Lizzie's was the best dish at Alterlier Kwan, and move on to take in Sheldon's Urbano.
On the boys' side, Stefan is facing the enviable problem that none of their restaurant guests are leaving and he has hoards of guests waiting for their second seating. He flits from table to table asking, "Done?" in an awkward attempt to get his satiated diners moving. Of course, the judges walk in while he's still with no open tables. Stefan gets them seated while ignoring many other diners.
Urbano's first dish is Stefan's kilawen -- a raw yellowtail with cilantro, spicy chili & white soy sauces. This is one of the best-sounding dishes I have heard all season and I am refraining from licking my television screen as I watch this.
Up next is Josh's balut -- this dish is traditionally a boiled duck embryo served in the eggshell. Thankfully, Josh has adapted the recipe a bit and serves a poached egg, duck confit & foie gras mousse in the shell. Stefan doesn't take the time to explain what balut is to the judges, and while they all know the traditional preparation, they are left cold by his curt table manners.
To make matters worse, their third course is served while Stefan is distracted up front, and he fails to come over to introduce the dish to the judges. They have no idea what they are eating. They all look at each other, dumbfounded, and commence to eat.
Stefan even walked by as they were working on the dish and didn't notice. My jaw is agape, especially because Stefan has already done Restaurant Wars before.
After the dishes are cleared he finally comes by and asks if everything is okay, and Padma asks about the dish. Stefan is nonplussed that they weren't properly schooled. "Miki is a tapioca noodle with a Filipino paprika" Stefan spits out, then turns and walks away. The judges are seriously shocked by his rudeness. "The way he just made us feel is way worse than [Josie's] bouillabaisse." Emeril pronounces. Yeee-ouch.
The next dish is also by Sheldon -- Adobo, a pork belly with mung bean puree & pea shoot salad. The judges are all thrilled with it. Tom declares it the best dish he's had all day.
Finally, Josh's halo-halo, a coconut sorbet, avocado mousse banana & shredded coconut. This is paired with Stefan's ginger tea and dark chocolate, macadamia, ginger & peppermint oil dessert.
Tom says the tea "helps wash the taste of bad service out of your mouth." He notes that he learned from Danny that "people go to restaurants for the food, but return for the hospitality. And I don't know if would come back to this restaurant right now."
As they head to judges' table it's clear that Josie's "awful -- just awful" bouillabaisse and Stefan's offensive service are the two biggest sins of the evening -- and that they are most likely up for elimination.
At judges' table, Kristen' team is praised for their dishes and Brooke especially for her exceptional handling of the house. Josie's bouillabaisse is panned by the judges and she puts the blame solely on Kristen, saying that she would have put more broth in the bowl and added gelatin but that she was just following orders. Josie is clear -- it was Kristen who plated the dish and sent it out.
The judges turn to Sheldon's team and Tom lets him know his food was very successful and that Sheldon's dishes in particular were modern but still carried the Filipino flavor. They then ask Stefan about the poor service, which he admits to, but says was because "I'm a chef, not a server." There is a lot of eye rolling up front.
Apparently Stefan's lackluster manners were not enough to send him home, as Urbano is declared the winning restaurant. The boys seem greatly relieved and Sheldon's pride is palpable. Sheldon is declared the winner, and Tom says he has done his Grandfather proud. He will be taking home a Toyota Avalon for his efforts.
The judges ask Kristen and Josie to explain more clearly how the bouillabaisse fail went down. Kristen admits she made the call to not add the gelatin but doesn't really explain that it was because Josie was taking way too long. "Bite my tongue, bite my tongue ..." she whispers as she rocks back and forth.
Gail eggs her on, telling her that she's falling on her sword, but she still takes the high road. During the judges' private hash out session, Padma and Gail are in opposite corners of the ring, Padma squarely blaming Kristen and Gail fed up with Josie's "skating by." Tom and Emeril are torn.
The nice chef finishes last: Padma asks Kristen to pack her knives and go. You can hear it in her voice that even she is shocked by this decision. Brooke covers her mouth in disbelief.
As the chefs bid Kristen goodbye, Stefan whispers that he loves her (which makes her laugh, thankfully). She says that at least she's leaving with her integrity intact, having not backstabbed anyone along the way. I am gobsmacked not only by her dismissal but at the absolute grace and class with which she conducted her exit interview. You're an inspiration, Chef Kish.
Coming up next week: Sushi and fried chicken! And hopefully, some antacids.