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Sunny Delights - June 20

On the last show, we learn that if you want to be in a cooking competition, you need to know you're cooking facts. We also learned that plating your food on time is essential. We'll see if the chefs who were the targets of these criticisms (sans the already exiled Clay) will actually learn any of this.

Brian, who was in the bottom 4 last week, knows he has to step up his game this week. Sandee tells us that she's only been in the kitchen for 3 years, but she stepped up from line cook to chef in 2 months. 'This is totally chef camp. I'm here to learn, and in 2 nights, I've learned more now than in a year'. Sandee wakes up Micah, who misses her kids and would rather have stayed in bed. Great attitude, Micah.

Howie, who was also in the bottom last week, needs to know that he has to step it up and wants people to know who they are dealing with. The best way to do that is to win the Quickfire Challenge, so you know you won't have to be eliminated. The guest this week - Chef Norman Van Aiken, who is a major South Florida Expert on cuisine.

Quickfire Challenge - create a citrus dish including Florida Citrus. You only have 30 minutes.

Sara N. wants to keep it simple, and she thinks she will have a legitimate shot to win. Micah is looking for ideas but is uninspired. Joey loves working with citrus and he thinks he has the edge. Tre doesn't think that anyone can outcook him, while Hung says that him and tre are the obvious favorites. I'm surprised that either of them could fit their head in the kitchen - which a lot more crowded now that we have 14 competitors.

Hung and Micah complain about items that are not working, while Dale is looking for a peppermill that's on the floor, spilling the spice on said floor. Sarah is looking to just cook her shrimp - and she sees that they are iced and shelled, which she has to prepare - in under 5 minutes. Uh-oh. With time being called, we get to see all 14 chefs present with a full list for the first time this season.

CJ -
Pan seared Sea Perch, Carrots, Radicchio, Oranges and Hazelnuts.
Norman notices that the orange seeds were left in the food. Oops. CJ calls himself a jackass, adding that there went his shot to win the challenge. I have to agree with that.

Casey -
Play on S'Mores with Vanilla/Tequila Cream, Blood Orange and Key Lime
Sounds like a Key Lime S'More. Yummy. Norman thought it tasted great, but wanted more focus on the citrus.

Sandee -
Trio of Citrus, Key Lime Rum Mojito, Grapefruit Brulee with Shrimp and Sea Bass, Encrusted with Orange Marmalade and Peppers
Norman says that the mint is licoricey and too overpowering.

Micah -
Spicy Avocado Citrus Soup with Red Grapefruit
Micah decides to switch it up and go cold. Bad idea. While it was cold, the avocado soup turned into a pudding-like substance, which Norm really didn't like.

Lia -
Crab Salad with Sourdough Croutons & Grapefruit Vinaigrette
Lia decided inadvertently to add shell to the salad. That won't get you a win.

Dale -
Citrus Salad with Watercress, Endive, Fennel, Lemon Poppy Seed and Goat Cheese
Norman wanted some more olive oil to counter it.

Sarah N. -
Blood Orange & Tangelo Citrus Salad with Shrimp in a Honey Tangerine Vinaigrette.
Sarah was very concerned about how critical Norman was. She did get the shrimp in place, but just barely, and she's not proud of her dish. She is right to be concerned - Norman calls her on it and wonders what exactly the dish was.

Hung -
Slow Roasted Sea Bass, Citrus Crumble Watercress and Radish Salad.
Hung, who says that he saw some 'slummy dishes' is convinced that he is definitely going to win this challenge, no matter what. Norman liked his thinking on the dish. Maybe Hung is right...

Tre -
Hot and Cold Dish. Cold - Raw King Salmon with Macadamia Nut Pesto. Hot - Coriander Seared Salmon & Full Apple Salad.
Tre is convinced that HE is going to win the challenge. Norman calls the meal clean and nice. Maybe TRE is right...

Howie -
Vanilla Butter Poached Lobster Tail and Citrus Salad
Norman likes the texture on the lobster. Now that Howie actually plated everything on time, maybe he will win some challenges.

Brian -
Alaskan Halibut with Blood Orange & Pomegranate Molasses
Norman liked the flavors of the food. This seems like a nice bounce back from Brian.

Joey -
Fennel Salad with Blood Oranges, Watermelon and Grand Marnier Shooter
Remember how Joey thought that this was his competition to lose? Norman says that he has something going on there, and he may want to add bartending to the mix. Hung's face has a disapproving scowl when he hears that.

Missing from the discussion is Sara M. and Camille. Not missing is Norm's critique, where he calls the worst dishes as Sarah N., Sandee and Micah. His Top 3 favorites are Hung, Tre and...CJ? If only CJ got rid of the seeds, then he wouldn't see the challenge winner being...Hung, who wins the challenge and who can not be eliminated. Hung is happy, Tre is not, and Hung has tied the Hung Vs. Tre' Match at 1-1. More importantly for Hung, he can not be eliminated this week. Joey, however is not happy, because he thought he should have at least been in the Top 3. I'm sort of wondering about that too, since CJ, who wound up in the Top 3 made a clear error in his dish. Hmmm...

Fast Fact - Hung is now the only chef in all 3 Challenges that is in the 'Best' Section.

Elimination Challenge - Lee Shrager will be throwing a barbecue. The mission - to create a high end barbecue food for a sexy and SOPHISTICATED crowd at the event. The chefs this time get their own meat to barbecue, but they only have a $200 budget.

Tre says that since he's from Texas, that this is his specialty. Howie thinks he has something to prove and he wants to make a good impression over Miami's socialites.

The meat section is going to get clogged up first because according to Casey, the proteins are picked first, and then the chefs work around them. Casey playfully asks CJ how many servings her meal would make, and then CJ playfully answers back that he's going the same rout and is not going to help her. They get into playful banter and Casey ends it by pushing Brian out of the way. Heh.

Brian notices that everyone is going out of their way to get meat, so Brian is going to go for seafood. So is Sandee - in the form of lobster. A lobster barbecue? Well, it is high scale. Micah, who like Sandee wound up in the bottom, is in a foul mood from missing her kid and decides to take it out on some lamb. The other person at the bottom, Sarah, goes for the ribs to make a Vietnamese barbecue.

The chefs get 2 hours of prep time. Hung, who decides that immunity doesn't matter, still wants to blow the competition away and is running like a madman. Perhaps he's running too fast - he knocks over a bottle and has to spend time to clean it up.

Brian has decided to go with some seafood sausage and is going to put himself out there. Tre' decides to go for salmon and knows how to kick up a grill. 'The people in Texas are going to have a fit with me if I can't make up some good barbecue sauce', adding that he doesn't have an ego. Sure you don't, Tre.

Sandee os going for a Lobster Panchetta, while Micah, still grumpy, is spanking that lamb. The group isn't too sure if she is upset because of her daughter - or that her Quickfire Challenge meal sucked. Hung accuses her of using her daughter as an excuse and to stop crying. he better not say that to Micah's face...

Howie commits himself to a Jamaican Jerk and wonders if it isn't upscale enough. Sarah, who realizes that her scotch bonnets are scalding hot, asks for help - and doesn't get it. That's going to suck for her, because time runs out without her completing either the bonnets or the pickled vegetables, which is going to make both inedible. That's not good for someone who was already in the bottom earlier...

It's time for the morning of the barbecue. Tre and hung do push-ups, while Sandee, who's doing some martial arts, wants to win the challenge for herself. Brian and Hung dress upscale for the event, while Sarah N doesn't want to look like an a$$hole by leaving early.

The contestants get there 2 hours before serving the food. They approach the barbecues, which are around 10 feet from the swimming pool. The pool is calming Micah, while the barbecue is doing anything but to Sarah, who has never used one before. She doesn't know anything about how much to put in or how to use it. Sarah finally gets the grill going, but she's firmly against the 8 ball.

The CJ / Casey play feud continues. CJ, 'This is the only time that I wish I was 5'3"...no offense, hon.' Casey is probably wondering if CJ is too tall to be shishkabobbed and served. Yes he is, Casey. Sorry.

Tom goes up to check out the chefs. Hung tells Tom that he's going to push hard, regardless that he has immunity, while Tre tells Tom that he could do this in his sleep. Oh Tre. Bad, bad, bad thing to say to the head judge when you have already made one trip into the bad chef section. He says that he's going to take one for Texas. Micah tells Tom that she hopes that today will be an on day.

Brian says that he's going to surprise Tom, while Joey tells him that his barbecued drumsticks, while not gourmet enough, are supposed to be fun. I don't know about that...

Tom also doesn't know about Sandee, who is poaching lobster and not utilizing the barbecue. 'I don't understand her placement right now. It's like putting lipstick on a pig'. Tom also wonders if Howie started to cook his food too soon, which will lead to his meat drying out. Sarah, who thinks that she's leaving, decides to have some fun. NOW you realize this?

Who wants to know what the chefs made? I do, I do!

Camille -
Grilled Swordfish with Chorizo & Artichoke Potato Salad
Camille is finding it hard to both cook, plate and explain what everything is to the guests.

Micah -
Lamb with chilled Halloumi and Pomegranate Sauce
Micah is also feeling overwhelmed, because she has to serve around 60 people. The people, however, love what she is making, which calms her down - a lot. It was one of Tom's favorites. Meanwhile, Micah is still thinking that she's going home. Worrywart.

Lia -
Lettuce Wrap with Grilled Shrimp & Couscous Salad
We only see one person eating her meal, but he calls it wonderful. That's a good sign.

Casey -
Strip Steak Polenta, Bacon Wrapped Shrimp with Tomato Salad
We see Tom as the only person eating her meal - and he calls it pretty good. We haven't seen Casey stressed out yet, and we probably won't see that this episode.

CJ -
N.Y. Steak with salt-baked Pineapple, Lentil Puree and Dirty Rice
His guests loved the grain of the lentil.

Sara N -
Vietnamese BBQ with Pine Nuts, Radish & Cucumber Salad
Gail, with her mouth full, calls it Yummy. Gail thought it was two perfect bites, while Tom liked it a lot. It looks like despite being a barbecue novice, Sarah pulled it off.

Brian -
Scallops, Shrimp, & Seabass Sausage with Ginger Slaw and Chili Glaze.
A jumping Brian attracts a large crowd to his grill. He also attracts Padma, who calls it a very nice sausage. Lee thought it was great sausage served very high-end.

Tre -
Peach BBQ Glazed Salmon with Crab-Avocado Salad
That doesn't really sound like something that I expect a Texan to make. Neither does the patron, who thinks its (bleeping) awful, and Tre runs to the barbecue to fix it. Padma found his meal salty, while Tom thought it was too bland. This does not bode well for Tre's return to Texas.

Sandee -
Vanilla Poached Lobster, Pancetta Wrapped Date and Truffle Slaw
That doesn't sound like something I would find barbecued either. In fact, it hasn't been barbecued at all - it's been poached, braised and grilled instead. CJ, who is wondering about the rules on the dish, is ready to call a foul. He won't have to - none of the judges liked her dish and they all wonder if it was even barbecued. This spells trouble...

Howie -
Jamaican Jerk Pork, Mango Slaw with Citrus Vinaigrette
Howie, like Tom warned earlier, was concerned about his pork drying out. Sure enough, he's also getting complaints about his food. Joey hears this and wonders if he can take advantage...

Joey -
Korean BBQ Chicken with Charred Corn, Tofu & Bean Sprout Salad
That is a real odd combination of food. The people liked it, but they felt that it was too bite-sized.

Hung -
Flank Steak with Grilled Corn Salad & Bagel Chips - with a Watermelon and Berry Shooter.

Hung says that he wanted to win first, but I don't know if that sort of dish is upscale enough for a repeat. Gail agrees with me and says that hung's was the simplest. Does the shooter sound familiar? It should - Joey made it in the Quickfire Challenge, and Hung created a simile for his meal. Joey is not a happy camper. "He's a kiss-ass...that's why they move to Vegas, because they can't hang in New York'. Hung's response - 'There's always watermelon at a barbecue. I didn't know Joey had a patent on that'. Maybe not the patent on the watermelon, but maybe a patent on the drink. Joey tells Hung to but some knee pads when they get home. Meanwhile, Casey says that Joey thinks that it's everyone's fault except his.

We don't see Sarah M or Dale's dish, so I guess they weren't either exciting enough or bad enough to be showcased.

JUDGE'S TABLE - Tom thought that everything across the board good, while Gail thought that everything was at least standard to good.

The judges call to the Happy Table...Sarah N. Brian and Micah. Sarah wanted and got clean, simple and elegant. Brian's said that it sold well, but Brian says that he has a lot of strange ideas. Norman says he likes the eccentric side, saying that sometimes his ideas doesn't work, but it works today. Micah called the lamb mandatory in her culture, and Gail loved the pomegranate. Norman was especially happy that Sarah and Micah bounced back from the last challenge, but the winner is Brian.

Unfortunately, they have to send some people to the unhappy table. Those people are Howie, Joey, Sandee and Tre. Tre was wondering about his salt portion, but Tom thought that the seasoning was uneven. Gail brought back the 'doing it in his sleep' comment Tre made earlier, and Tre thought that it could have been a bad nightmare. The nightmare is that Tre has already been in the bottom twice out of 4 times. That's not too good.

Joey went to a childhood barbecue. Joey called it too simple, and Gail called it not upstylish enough. Norman also reminded Joey that he served a very hot meal without the aid of utensils. Joey says that he failed and he'll try it again next time. Howie says that his dish may have been too simple and he sliced the pork too early. he played it too safe this time after overshooting it last time.

Sandee is shocked that she's there. Tom was wondering where the barbecue was. Norman was wondering where the lobster was, as the lemon butter and poachedness drowned out the taste of the lobster.

Joey says that he tasted Tre's and Sandee's food, but says that Howie should go because of his failure to not complete the challenge and word of mouth of the food. Howie fires back that Joey has been blaming everyone except himself, and that's not what leadership is. The escalation continues in the back, where Joey tells Howie to be a man and Howie tells Joey to stop bitching like a little girl. Howie tells Joey to do his best, because Howie will do his.

Norman says that the key to barbecue is low and slow, but she didn't follow the rules. Tre, on that same vein, was not barbecue enough, while Joey's meal was too simple. Tom has a problem with even keeping Howie around, being that he hasn't found his mark yet. The question is what's the bigger problem - not barbecue enough (Sandee) or not upscale enough (Howie)? When they bring the chefs back, the answer is....you have to follow the rules. Sandee didn't, and as a result, she is the second chef eliminated.

Sandee comes out, and everyone cheers...until she shakes her head no. The group is stunned, but Sandee explains that it wasn't barbecue enough and they understand. Everyone wanted to see Sandee stick around, and they want' to see either Joey or Howie leave. Sandee was shocked that she left quickly, but she knew that she wasn't in the upper echelon and she learned a lot when she was here. Now THAT'S the spirit of a competitor and I will miss her too.

Next week - Howie makes a move, Hung makes an oven mishap, and Brian makes a mess. Join us in 7 days to see who makes their way out of the kitchen.


FAST FACT SECTION

Quickfire Challenge Winners -

Micah - 1 (Episode 1)
Hung - 1 (Episode 2)

Elimination Challenge Winners -

Tre - 1 (Episode 1)
Brian - 1 (Episode 2)

Top Notated Chefs

Hung - 3 (Episode 1 (QF/Elim), 2 (QF))
Tre - 2 (Episode 1 (Elim), 2 (QF))
Micah - 2 (Episode 1 (QF), 2(Elim))
Sarah N. - 2 (Episode 1 (QF), 2 (Elim))
CJ - 1 (Episode 2 (QF))
Brian - 1 (Episode 2 (Elim))

Bottom Notated Chefs

Tre - 2 (Episode 1 (QF), 2 (Elim))
Howie - 2 (Episode 1 (Elim), 2 (Elim))
Dale - 2 (Episode 1 (QF/Elim))
Brian - 1 (Episode 1 (Elim))
Micah - 1 (Episode 2 (QF)
Sarah N - 1 (Episode 2 (QF)
Joey - 1 (Episode 2 (Elim)

OUT - Clay - 2 (Episode 1 (QF/Elim))
OUT - Sandee - 2 (Episode 2 (QF/Elim))

 

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