The next four dishes are served. Kristen's dulice de Bourgogne tortelloni is unanimously loved. The first big criticism of the night goes to Micah -- too much cream. Lizzie's salmon is not seared enough, Eliza's elk ribeye is not perfect either.
The interstitial is a hilarious look at Chris and Anna discussing how this is "what being on a reality show must be like. Like the Bachelor!" -- upon which Chris launches into a stumbling, spot-on impression of all "Bachelor" monologues, complete with tense string section background music.
"I want you to know, I could really, like literally, see myself, maybe falling for you one day. Like, I can see it." My new celebrity crush = confirmed.
The last group of four chefs is up. When John serves his chowder to the judges, Rick Moonen (his former boss) lets him know he will remain impartial despite their history together, at which point John announces "a wise old man taught me the base for this chowder!"
Padma says, "Uh-oh," which I can't agree with more. It's not smart to call your former boss / current judge "old," John. Even in a quazi-respectful way. It comes off as patronizing, and the sideways glances from the other judges confirm it.
Danyelle's boar is sliced too thin for the judges' liking. Josh's pork once again falls flat. "It might not be great, but there's a lot of it!" offers Chris. Josie's dish is unremarkable (truly, there was virtually no comment on it) but John's chowder is a big winner. Rick Moonen calls it "a hug from the ocean."
Overall, it seems the chefs have more than compensated for last week's Pike Place debacle.
Back in the stew room, Padma asks for John, Kristen, Brooke and Sheldon to step out as the top four. Rick announces the Toyota Prius goes to Brooke (double win!) -- for her lamb-stuffed squid on black rice with coconut milk. I have to say that dish sounded -- and looked -- insanely cool. She is once again surprised at her win, and starts giggling uncontrollably.
Brooke takes her keys -- but sends back Eliza, Danyelle, Josh and Micah to hear the bad news. Tom offers up a little bit of consolation, that none of their efforts were "bad dishes," but that there were technical reasons for each of them being on the bottom.
Danyelle confesses she's been psyched out the entire competition, to which Tom gives her a blunt but kind admonition to "cook her own food" and stop being afraid. The harshest words are from Padma to Josh: "You keep saying you're known for pork, man. Just stop saying it."
For her uneven elk, Eliza is asked to pack her knives and go. She tells the judges she's fighting a cold and thus doesn't want to shake their hands, but gives them each a polite nod as she exits. As she hugs Danyelle goodbye she whispers, "Good job not crying up there." And my heart melts a little bit.
Next week: The chefs go head to head cooking the same dishes, John gets a blender full of hot liquid to the face, and the judges question whether Josie is smoking the wacky tabacky. It's legal now in Washington, after all.