Saturday, November 15, 2008


Here are this season's contestants:

Fabio Viviani (originally from Florence, Italy, now residing in Moorpark, CA)- Executive chef/owner of Cafe Firenze
Jamie Lauren (originally from NYC, now in S.F.)- Executive chef of Absinthe
Eugene (also known as Gene) Villiatora (originally from Whitmore Village, HI, now in Las Vegas)- Personal chef/consultant
Jeff McInnis (Miami, FL)- Chef de Cuisine of The Ritz-Carlton
Radhika Desai (Chicago, parents are from India)- Executive chef of Between Botique Cafe
Lauren Hope (Cincinatti)- Wife of a military husband and chef of Jag's Steak & Seafood
Ariane Duarte (Verona, NJ)- Executive chef/owner of Culinariane
Daniel Gagnon (New Hyde Park, NY)- Chef of Babylon Carriage House
Patrick Dunlea (originally from Quincy, MA, now residing in Hyde Park, NY)- Student at the Culintary Institute of America
Stefan Richter (originally from Tampere, Finland, now residing in Santa Monica, CA)- Chef and owner of Stefan's Catering
Richard Sweeney (originally from Long Island, NY, now residing in San Diego)- Executive chef of Confidential
Leah Cohen (New York)- Sous Chef of Centro Vinoteca
Alex Eusebio (originally from NYC, now residing in L.A.)- Executive chef of Restaurant 15
Hosea Rosenberg (originally from Taos, NM, now residing in Boulder, CO)- Executive chef of Jax Restaurant
Carla Hall (originally from Nashville, now residing in Washington, D.C.)- Chef/owner of Alchemy Caterers
Jill Snyder (originally from Latrobe, PA, now residing in Baltimore)- Executive chef of Red Maple
Melissa Harrison (originally from Baltimore, now residing in Boulder, CO)

QUICKFIRE CHALLENGE #1: This challenge was divided into three parts. And for the first time in history, a contestant WAS ELIMINATED IN A QUICKFIRE CHALLENGE. First, they had to cut 15 apples with a knife. The last eight to finish moved on to the second part, while the first one to finish got immunity. The winner was...

...Stefan Richter!

In the second part, the remaining eight had to brundise two cups of apples. Four would be on the bubble during the final part. Their names were...

...Lauren, Leah, Patrick and Radhika.

In the important final part, they had to create a dish using those apples within 20 minutes. The one with the worst dish was sent packing.

Lauren: Spinach salad with apples, blue cheese, bacon and balsamic vinaigrette

Patrick: Apple slaw salad with yogurt dressing, mint, cinnamon and honey

Radhika: Pan-seared pork with apple chutney, raisins and chili powder

Leah: Seared scallops with dried apples, vinegar and apple juice

I will tell you right now it came down to the two salads. The first contestant eliminated this season was...


...Lauren Hope, meaning she was going back to take care of her husband at Fort Stewart.

ELIMINATION CHALLENGE #1: The remaining 16 were divided into eight teams of two and were placed in different categories; they had to create a dish based on the ethnic neighborhood category they were given. Each pair of contestants went head-to-head; the winners were safe and the losers were in danger of being eliminated. Each duo had twenty minutes to go shopping with a $75 budget.

The guest judge was Jean-George Vongerichten, an award-winning chef and restauranteur.

Middle Eastern: Ariane vs. Stefan
Ariane: Crusted rack of lamb, Farro Risotto and dates with chickpeas
Stefan: Lamb chops with Tabouli Salad and beef onion skewer
WINNER: Stefan

Greek: Richard vs. Jamie
Richard: Lamb slider with orzo feta pasta salad
Jamie: Eggplant puree and seared black bass with wild arugula salad

Jamaica: Jill vs. Radhika
Jill: Macadamia-crusted plantain fritters and jerk spiced scallops
Radhika: Jerk rubbed halibut on three bean rice with a mango salad

Latin: Fabio vs. Jeff
Fabio: Mango and jalapeno deml-glace pork chop with mushroom and avocado salad
Jeff: Coffee seared pork tenderloin and smoked plantain with black beans and rice

Russia: Hosea vs. Carla
Hosea: Smoked fish trio with caviar, creme fraiche and apple chutney
Carla: Smoked trout and salmon cakes over potato latkes

Italian: Leah vs. Melissa
Leah: Farro Risotto with seared red snapper and mushrooms
Melissa: Seared rib-eye steak, aragula salad, fried mushrooms and tomato sauce

Chinese: Daniel vs. Patrick
Daniel: Poached chicken salad with Bok Choy, Shitake Mushrooms and fried wontons
Patrick: Seared salmon and Bok Choy with Chinese Noodles
WINNER: Daniel

Indian: Alex vs. Eugene
Alex: Grilled lamb chops and spicy ragout with Basmati Rice
Eugene: Masala-rubbed lamb with Basmati Rice and Tzatziki
WINNER: Eugene

The season's first Immunity Challenge winner was...

...Stefan! He's off to a great start this season.

In the bottom two were Ariane and Patrick, making this Patrick's second trip in a row to the Danger Zone. Did he escape elimination again?...


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