Last night's chef's challenge was all about TEAMS. The remaining 8 cheftestants drew knives. Jen [correction- I originally had this as Kevin...oops!] drew "first choice" and Michael V drew "second choice". The chefs had to break up into two teams for the quickfire challenge. Jen picked Kevin, Mike Isabella, and Laurine for her team. Mike picked Bryan, Eli, and Robin (who was picked last- this reminded me of gym in middle school and I really felt for Robin. But she had a great attitude about it, saying it was a chance for everyone to get along. She showed real class.).
The quickfire was awesome. Teams had to decide who would go first, second, third and fourth. Nobody was allowed to talk about food, and everyone wore a blindfold except for when they were cooking. Each round lasted ten minutes, and during that ten minutes, the only person without the blindfold was the one prepping and cooking the team's dish. When the round was over, that person would leave and the next would take their place. The first chef had to pick the ingredients and start the prep. It was interesting to see what people picked- Eli went first for his team and threw in some steaks and a bunch of greens. Jen went first for her team and picked black cod. The dishes were finished by Michael V and Kevin. Jen's team won the challenge and 10K. They were offered the chance to keep the 10K or try to win 40K in the next challenge, which was RESTAURANT WARS! Well of course they went for it.
Restaurant wars was fascinating. Each team had to open a restaurant in three hours, serve customers, and serve the judges. Kevin's team called its restaurant "Mission," which was a perfect name by all estimates. Michael's team called itself R3VOLT, which was cool in a way but kind of puerile, and the judges compared it to the word "revolting".
You would think that a team with Kevin and Jen in it would rock, but their timing was off, the rack of lamb was overly rare, the fish was bland, sauces were broken, mussels were undercooked, and their tartare was bland. Laurine was sticken as the front of the house manager. By contrast, R3VOLT had the best restaurant opening in the six seasons of the show. Apart from Michael V's tantrums, the team ran really well. Robin even did well- I think her strength is really in baked fruit desserts, judging by past competitions. It's obvious which team won and which one lost.
Either Laurine or Jen could have gone home. Nothing worked on Jen's dishes. It was as if a curse had fallen upon the kitchen, but her in particular. Laurine prepped the rack of lamb, and Kevin undercooked it. She tried to argue with him, but in the end gave up. She also forgot to introduce dishes and hid from the judges once the kitchen got too far behind schedule. It's sad to see a chef go home under those kinds of circumstances. It's one thing to be out-competed or to make clear errors the belong to yourself alone. But it's harder to suffer personally from a series of group errors, and she really took the fall for the team. That said, Jen is the better chef.
Michael V won for his exquisite dishes, including a chicken and squid preparation that one judge called genius. He generously shared the 10K that he won with the rest of his team. But his behavior during the show spoke for itself. Once again our local heroes did us proud with their cooking.