MONDAY UPDATE, ANSWERING COMMENTS:
This was indeed best challenge because we truly got to know the chefs--and they all cooked to their level. Briefly, Besh's stew with the coxcomb was the best dish of the night--very deep complex soulful flavors, beautiful dish. Coxcomb is more about texture than flavor and i was glad he got it in there. I think over all even Symon would agree that if there had to be a choice of a winner, it would have gone to Besh.
That said, Symon's two forcemeat preps were impressive, delicious and smart choices. Sausage was delicious, but too much bread so this very special creation was kind of a lost dog.
The guy to my left of Tour d'Argent was young and opinionated, that's all. I loved hearing all comments from the French--especially the residence chef next to Andrew. They enjoyed the food and were unfazed by donatella's decolleté (unlike Americans, the French have a healthy understanding of sexuality).
Most interesting was the response to Symon's float. They winced and shook their heads, but then started smiling till the last slurp. They'd never encountered a carbonated ice cream drink, it seemed. That was cool. And the dessert was delicious.
Cosentino, so sad to see him go. What a great spirit and great visceral cook! I liked his melon and booze dessert. Donatella thought it showed deceptive finesse. In the end though neither his first or second courses delivered the flavor the way Besh and Symon did.
I don't know why i didn't like eating besh's dessert--the awesome berries, the great presentation. maybe it was because he used store-bought biscuits! (we didn't find out till after judging.) Symon had a rough time in the kitchen with ovens going out and equipment failures and difficulty working with the sous. Besh was cooking really strong, and his flavors were excellent.
Andrew Knowlton has been quiet this morning over at bon appetit blog. Theory about this: Donatella I believe was actually turned on by Andrew's bizarre outburst over the lobster roll and the two were seen leaving together that night; no doubt last night's ep rekindled the smoldering, but undeniable embers.
The penultimate challenge--and one chef gets sent back to the States. Will it be Cosentino--the clear underdog judging from people's comments--or will Cosentino reach deep into his offal soul and pull off an upset? Have the producers pulled a Bachelor and only made Cosentino LOOK like an underdog? Will I continue to do nothing more than curl my lip and wince and make snotty comments about insignificant details of these great chefs' cooking? Find out Sunday at 9 on the Food Network. (And don't miss this good article on Besh, chef, restaurateur and family man, from Wednesday's Times).
Guaranteed I'll be opening my big fat mouth.
Post Show UPDATE: The battle in kitchen stadium is set. Was the result inevitable? I have my thoughts on this, but what i loved best about tonights competition was that each chef got to cook what they wanted and each chef showed exactly who they were through their cooking. Why they had to make those damned platters that gave them so much grief, I don't know. But the food was who they were.