Only six of the cheftestants are still around, so it’s getting more cutthroat by the second. And we don’t even have Muppets to soften the blows this week! How will the cheftestants make it through “For the Gulf” on their own? Sigh…

Anyway, as always we begin with reflection on last week’s elimination. Everyone, including Tiffany, thought Tiffany was going to go. Mike might not get over the shock anytime soon. Poor lost bromance… Richard takes solace in planning. Everyone else takes solace in teasing Tiffany. Except for Tiffany who’s worried about getting eliminated at the same point this season as last season.

It’s time for the Quickfire Challenge! And the cheftestants wander in to find… Paula Deen! The excitement brings Tiffany quickly to shrieks. The challenge, fittingly, is to impress Paula Deen with a deep-fried dish. The winner gets $5000. For fried stuff. This had better be good.

  • Antonia has Fried Avocado, Shrimp & Jalapeno, Grilled Corn, Tomatoes & Fried Herbs.
  • Dale has Fried Steak Wrapped Oyster with Egg Yolk Omelet, Parsley Tips & Chives.
  • Richard has Fried Bacon with Fried Mayonnaise, Tomato & Cucumber.
  • Tiffany has Fried Chicken & Pickles, Honey Mustard Sauce with Cilantro & Cumin Salad.
  • Carla has Catfish with Dijon Mustard, Hush Puppies, Coleslaw with Mayo, Hot Sauce & Mint.
  • Mike has Fried Chicken Oysters with Mustard Gravy & Oyster Liquor.

Richard is a little irritated that Mike has basically made one of Richard’s dishes. Carla is apologetic for her less-than-perfect food. Antonia thinks she’s an idiot for only making one plate.

Paula’s least favorites were Dale (no wowing flavors) and Carla (spitball-like hushpuppies). Her absolute favorite dish was Antonia’s, but Paula is upset about the lack of separate plates. She also likes Richard’s flavors and Mike’s presentation. Antonia would have won, but Mike wins on the technicality.

Then John Besh, some crazy-amazing New Orleans chef walks in to announce the Elimination Challenge. The show is getting all socially conscious — now the cheftestants will provide Gulf Coast seafood for a Gulf of Mexico benefit. And we get the eliminated cheftestants to help out! The remaining chefs aren’t so thrilled about this.

Mike picks Tiffany and the brown shrimp. Richard picks Fabio and the snapper. Carla goes with Tre and the red grouper. Tiffany decides on the white shrimp and accepts Marcel in the process. This leaves Antonia with Spike and the crabs and Dale with Angelo’s amberjack.

With a total of $700 for buying food and two-and-a-half hours to prep and cook. Everyone breaks into pairs to plan their dishes for the challenge. Then they go shopping in the Costco of restaurant-supply stores before heading home to be really, really stressed. No one is OK with Mike stealing the idea earlier. Oh, the karma hit!

It’s time to cook and the busy kitchen takes hold. It’s kind of busy with 12 of them in there. Mike heckles everyone. Marcel hounds Tiffany about using the shrimp head. A lot. They’re all pushing it at the end. Things fall. Liquid nitrogen steams all over. I pity those who have to clean up the kitchens on this show.

At the venue, they only have 30 minutes to get everything out and ready. And then the hungry (but stylish!) hordes descend upon the dining room. The judges show up and pretend to care about the charity being dealt with tonight.

  • Mike has a Grit-Crusted Gulf Shrimp, Sour Cream & Chive Potatoes with Pork & Lobster Sauce.
  • Richard has Crispy Gulf Snapper with Pulled Pork & Citrus Grits.
  • Carla has Fried Grouper with Collard Greens & Chow-Chow Pico.
  • Tiffany has Honey Glazed Shrimp, Grits with Jalapeno & Cheese, Shellfish Sauce.
  • Dale has Amberjack Stew with Andouille Sausage & Potatoes, Creole Mustard Crouton.
  • Antonia has a Blue Crab Cake, Corn, Jalapeno & Andouille Relish with Crab Broth.

It’s pretty obvious from the comments who’s on top and who’s on the bottom. But first the cheftestants have to say good-bye to their sous-chefs. Then, it’s time yet again for the Storage Closet of Doom! This time, at least, they found beer.

Antonia, Richard and Mike get called out first. Let the praise begin! They liked Richard’s restraint and mixture of flavors. With Mike’s dish, Paula just praises every single ingredient effusively. Antonia’s balance, with a hint of spice, makes hers a favorite. And the winner is… Richard!

Alas, now everyone else has to go out and face the executioners while Antonia objects to Mike’s personal habits.

Tiffany points out that Marcel cooked the shrimp. The tastes and heightened expectations didn’t help. Dale’s potatoes were undercooked, which disappoints the judges. And the mustard crouton is described as “taste warfare.” Carla admits to buckling under the pressure. The judges don’t understand her choice to douse all in hot sauce, while the tastes didn’t make sense.

With many insults, the judges come to their decision. And… Dale is packing his knives to go home! So it really does take only one bad dish? Awww… Dale is reduced to tears and suddenly reclaims the humanity he’d tried so hide to mask in a sea of jerkiness. Poor Dale!

Did the right cheftestant go home? What do you think was Dale’s downfall? How much longer can Tiffany keep surviving right above the bottom? And will Antonia ever win a cash prize? Leave us a comment below with your opinion!

(Image courtesy of Bravo)

Laurel Brown

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

Laurel grew up in Mamaroneck, NY, Grosse Pointe, MI and Bellevue WA. She then went on to live in places like Boston, Tucson, Houston, Wales, Tanzania, Prince Edward Island and New York City before heading back to Seattle. Ever since early childhood, when she became addicted to The Muppet Show, Laurel has watched far too much TV. Current favorites include ChuckModern FamilySupernaturalMad Men and Community. Laurel received a BA in Astrophysics (yes, that is possible) from Colgate University and a PhD in Middle Eastern Studies and History of Science from Columbia University before she realized that television is much better than studying.