Kevin tells Chef Ramsay Ariel should not advance. When asked why, he brings up that she has been on the block a few times and is not quite ready. Ariel says that Kevin should not advance because he did not have her back. Dave thinks that he felt most lost when Ariel was at the pass and believes she should go home.
Chef Ramsay tells them that their answers have not helped him reach a decision. Is this for the sake of the show? Kevin and Dave clearly have been better throughout the entire season. Both struggled through injuries, and both held their own in the kitchen. It was Kevin who stood up to the plate when Chef Ramsay walked off. Dave wants it so badly he is risking permanent injury to his wrist. I honestly don’t see the toughness of this decision.
Chef Ramsay asks each person why they feel they belong in the final two. Kevin believes that he is a strong person and when he sets his mind to something there is nothing he can’t accomplish. I think he should have added that he has never been on the chopping block. He believes he can run the Araxi. Ariel tells Chef Ramsay she has grown throughout this competition. She believes she can lead the kitchen, and is young and creative. Dave thinks he should be in the final two because he has lead himself in this competition and he can run a kitchen.
Chef Ramsay decides to send Dave and Kevin to the finals, as it should be. He tells Ariel to keep her jacket as a reminder of all she has accomplished. I would have a hard time not thinking about how close I came and failed if I looked at that jacket. She believes she will be successful and that she owes it all to Chef Ramsay.
Does the one armed bandit strike again?
It really comes as no surprise that Dave and Kevin are the final two. There were a few standouts this season, and when Joseph snapped so early on, Dave and Kevin seemed to be the two most sensible choices. I don’t believe it was as hard of a decision as Chef Ramsay made it look. Personally, after seeing both chefs at the pass, I would much rather work under Kevin’s leadership. Now is their time to shine, and it will be interesting to see their personalities reflected in menu and décor.
Chef Ramsay congratulates them and says there is a limo waiting for them; they need to hurry and get ready. I hope he gives Dave time for his celebration smoke. They haven’t made a trip up to the restaurant yet; that’s my guess. Nope. They are headed to the rooftop of a downtown L.A. hotel, more than likely to prepare a dish. The winner gets first pick of team. Basically that would mean loser gets Suzanne. I’m right. They have 45 minutes to make a dish worthy of the Araxi Restaurant and Bar.
Kevin is making a Petite Clam Bake with Poached Lobster and Corn Pudding. Dave is cooking a Rack of Venison with a Sour Cream and Chive Parsnip Puree. Dave thinks he has the harder dish since everyone likes lobster tails. Kevin believes his dish is more complex then Dave’s straightforward dish. Five highly regarded judges will taste their dishes, so three votes win it. I have always wondered why Chef Ramsay doesn’t give himself a vote in these final challenges.
Alain Gayot, Gayot Publishing, is the first judge. He produces restaurant review guidebooks, similar to Fodor. You definitely want someone like this liking your food. He tastes Dave’s dish first and says that it is very, very good and he would be happy with this dish at the restaurant. He thinks Kevin’s dish is very beautifully presented and tastes fresh. He votes for Dave’s dish.
Jamie Maw, International Food Critic and former Editor for Vancouver Magazine, is the second judge. He thinks Dave’s venison is nicely cooked and well-flavored and thinks Kevin’s dish would be a lovely spring dish. He also chooses the venison.
The third judge is Tanya Steel, Editor and Chief of Epicurious. She thinks that the venison is beautifully cooked and sighs a little “umm” when tasting it. She thinks that the butter and vanilla cooked lobster of Kevin’s dish is amazing and gives him a gold medal.
Warren Geraghty, Executive Chef of West in Vancouver, is a three star Michelin-rated chef and the fourth judge. He tastes Kevin’s dish first and says that it is delicious. He also likes the venison and thinks they are both great dishes. He gives his vote to the lobster. The guys are tied 2-2. I don’t know which would be worse though, Kevin working with Suzanne or Dave with Tennille.
The last judge, and deciding vote, is Colman Andrews. He is a food critic and columnist for Gourmet Magazine. He tries Kevin’s dish first and says that he loves it, and the corn pudding is delicious. It is very tough for him to choose between the two, but he gives Dave the final deciding vote.
Dave and Kevin go back to rest while the crew works on the restaurant. I guess they are doing it differently this year and the chefs do not get to choose the décor. That is disappointing, but now we know why they could cram this all in one night.