| Kevin Sbraga, 30, from Willingboro, NJ. Exec Chef of Rat’s Restaurant in Hamilton, NJ. Why not call it Cockroach Restaurant? Somewhere in Jersey, his missing last name vowel is looking for him. I want to call him Sbarro. For no other reason than there are few words that start with SB.
Lynne Giglotti, 51, from Hyde Park, NY, via Philly. Chef instructor at the Culinary Institute, which is awesome. I took my wife there for her birthday once; we ate at the French restaurant. I wonder if she did any of the cooking? If so, she should be pretty good this season. Also, she shares a last name with one of my good friends. So she has that going for her too.
Stephen Hopcraft, 40, from Vegas, via Cleveland. Exec Chef of Seablue in Vegas. He left twins at home to join the season. His wife must be a saint.
Tamesha Warren, 24, from DC, via Barbados. Sous Chef at the Oval Room in DC. The local girl is also the youngest in the competition. She got zero screen time other than to say she is from Barbados.
Tiffany Derry, 26, from Texas. Exec Chef of Go Fish Ocean Club in Dallas. She also gets no screen time, except during the Stew Room scenes where she delivers the variation on the … “I’m not here to make friends” cliché. This is the, “I’m serious and can’t understand why other people are goofing around.” I got annoyed by this. You are in the Stew Room. Sometimes for hours. To say you are not here to have fun, but to cook is stupid. YOU AREN’T COOKING! You are waiting. Just take your turn rolling the giant dice your fellow chefs made and shut up.
Timothy Dean, 39, from Baltimore, via DC. Chef/owner of Prime Steak House in Baltimore. The other local rocked the skills challenge, but faltered on his cooking. I question his choice of rockfish rather than fresh crabs. The show was shot during the … Cherry Blossom Festival, which is exactly when the local crabs are freshest. You would think a local guy would know that.
Tracey Bloom, 33, from Atlanta, via Rochester, NY. Exec Chef of Table 1280 in Atlanta. She is my top candidate for the season to be the one to utter my hated “I make dishes with big, bold flavors” line, because if the first dish is any indication, she clearly does not.
So, that’s a bit about each cheftestant, now let’s get into the nuts and bolts – the challenges and then some fun stuff.
Quickfire – It is the mise en scene challenge. In this form, all 17 must peel potatoes, with the bottom four getting knocked out of the next stage. The remaining 13 then must brunoise (essentially dicing) 10 cups of onions, with the bottom four eliminated. Next the remaining nine must break down four chickens into eight parts, with the top four moving on to the final round where they cook a dish based on these ingredients.
Hard to follow the skills portion with 17 chefs, but basically it was – Tweet. Check. Tweet. Check. Amanda slices her hand. Tracey wanted Kenny to fall off the building. Kenny kept beating Angelo in each leg; sadly it would be last time Angelo was stymied this episode. The four chefs who make their way to the Final Four – Kenny, Angelo, Sbarro and Timothy. Their Quickfire dishes…
Angelo – Roasted Wing and Thigh, Curried Onion Jam, Potato Noodles
Sbarro– Boneless Chicken Wing, Hot and Sour Broth, Tomatoes, Fennel, Potato and Mushroom
Tim – Garlic Roasted Chicken, Potato Galette, Oyster Mushrooms
Kenny – Duo of Chicken with Moroccan Spice, Potato Puree and Onion Confit.