Last night marked the second installment of the Bahamian finale extravaganza. As a testament to the beautiful Caribbean setting, the episode involved sand, sun, yachting, conch, and Padma in a bikini. Padma in a bikini!
And then there were four. After the tragic elimination of Carla last week, the air of competition between the chefs has intensified exponentially. Remember how it was not so long ago that we all were laughing and joking about Antonia and Jersey Mikey being cousins? Remember Elmo? Those carefree days are over. No more Mr. Nice Blais. In last night's quickfire challenge, the chefs were split into pairs - girls versus boys, naturally - and evaluated on their consistency. Each team had to prepare a full restaurant service, and Padma and guest judge Lorena Garcia each picked two plates at random to sample. Mike and Richard prepared a pasta bolognese, which they felt extremely confident about, because, according to Mike, "making pasta from scratch in an hour is practically unheard of." Antonia and Tiffany made a beef tenderloin salad with chimichurri sauce, which, although it had several different components, Mike considered to be child's play compared to the miracle pasta he just whipped up.
And guess who they gave the win to? "Are you serious?" said an exasperated Jersey Mikey. "A beef salad wins? Pfft. WHATEVER." Mike and Richard - sour grapes, salty losers.
After the tense quickfire, Mike was feeling dejected. It was his hubris that did him in, and a dark cloud of culinary failure blanketed the once beautiful Bahamian Islands. But oh! What is that ray of sunshine, that beautiful, tanned, toned, busty ray of sunshine creeping up over the horizon? Twas Padma, in a bikini. And Jersey Mikey, enraptured by her beauty, could only say "Good morning!" as he feasted his eyes upon her angelic figure. Good morning, indeed.
For the elimination challenge, the chefs were taken by Captain Sammy Hagar to a "deserted island" to prepare a luncheon for the Nassau Yacht Club. On the island, they found crates with spiny lobster, grouper, snapper, and local fresh fruits and vegetables. But where was the conch? Conch - that big shell that you stick your ear against to "hear the ocean" - is a signature Bahamian dish, and the focus of the day's challenge. But, instead of conch in a labeled crate, there were snorkeling masks. This is reality TV! Things need to be unnecessarily difficult! So, the chefs went diving for conch in the ocean, and we were all treated to the site of Mike shirtless - like a plump Poseidon, the waves of his fat mimicking the rolling tides of the sea. Let's go back to Padma in a bikini, please!
Let's be honest: it was Tiffany's time to go. For this challenge, she made a coconut conch chowder with conch ceviche. But she mixed the ceviche in the chowder! Isn't chowder supposed to be hot, while ceviche is rather cold? Wouldn't that make the dish just a lukewarm mess? Yep, that's exactly what happened. Not to mention the dish was a bit too sweet, and the flavors hadn't developed enough. Her dish wasn't a disaster like other losing dishes this season, but it was clear that she was being outcooked, especially by Richard - who made "linguine and clams a la Bahamas" with sweet potatoes brilliantly serving as the "pasta" and conch filling in for the clams - and Mike - who made a banana-wrapped fish with an intriguing savory pineapple component.
So, goodbye, Tiffany. Your sunny optimism will be missed. Your high-pitched shrieks? Maybe not.