After another tough elimination last week, the final four enter the kitchen to a bit of a surprise. Padma announces that there will be no Quickfire Challenge this week. There will also be no elimination this week. Instead, the winner of the challenge will go straight into the finale in Mexico!
Each cheftestant is responsible for both an appetizer and an entrée. Because of the extra work, each receives a sous chef in the form of a family member– Melissa gets her mom, Alice; Gregory gets his sister, Jessica; George gets his dad, Mr. Tony; and Mei gets her brother, Harly. The family member is in charge of the appetizer and the chefs can’t touch it!
The challenge makes me long for summer, as they head to Island Creek Oyster Farm in Duxbury. They dredge up some oysters and also get some other beautiful seafood options provided by Island Creek. Then they head to this gorgeous house in Gloucester where the spend the night before the challenge.
The chefs talk about the challenges their families create. George used to work for his father and is unsure how the role reversal will go. Mei, a self-professed control freak, is very apprehensive about having to work with her brother. There are some really nice moments too. Melissa’s mom Alice is really the star of the episode. “No Sesame Street, always cooking shows,” she says of her daughter fondly, “That’s not a normal child!” She jokes further about asking Melissa where she wanted to go to college. When Melissa replied not college, CIA, Alice asked, like James Bond?! Too cute. Having said her father is not supportive, Melissa is lucky to have this awesome mom. Mei confesses that both her parents are like Melissa’s dad.
The next day, against a gorgeous seaside backdrop, the chefs and families serve up their dishes to a table including judges Richard Blais, Padma, and Tom. Here’s what they make:
Gregory paid more attention to his sister’s dish than his own and wasn’t happy with the cook of his fish.
Melissa’s mom made a fantastic custard and was even ahead of schedule. Melissa’s dish was raved about, saying it was the best lobster ever and the veggies were the star.
Mr. Tony was able to take direction from his son, but maintained his pride. When Tom asked how he prepared his dish, he says that he prepared it, but in George’s way. Hah!
Mei and her brother ended up working together well and both dishes came out great!
The top two are Mei & Melissa, and the winner, headed straight to the finale is Melissa! Her mom is elated and through tears proclaims, “I just had such a good time!”
I cried too. It was lovely!
But it’s back to fierce competition next week at a new time! (Yup, Top Chef is moving to 9 pm Eastern! Thank goodness; I’m so tired.) Who do you think will join Melissa in Mexico?!