Sit and stew — With
service over, the chefs enter their new, Puerto Rican Stew Room. Seriously,
Bravo can’t afford anything better than folding chairs?
At Judges’ Table, the panel confers. Guest judge Wilo says
he saw originality and well-executed classics. Tom says Richard’s pork belly
and Stephanie’s salad were the highlights. He says Antonia and Lisa had some
dishes that weren’t as strong as their competitors.
Back in the waiting area, Lisa asks how everyone feels.
Richard says there were no fatal flaws.
Antonia: No, my
peas were …
Richard: Your peas were undercooked.
Well, a fine lot of good it does telling her that after the
Padma appears at the doorway like a Greek goddess. No,
really, she is wearing an off-the-shoulder goddess gown. Let’s all take a
moment, shall we.
She asks for Richard and Stephanie. Antonia and Lisa know
what that means.
Richard and Stephanie are the judges’ favorite. Tom praises
Richard’s self-editing in his dishes. Wilo says he loved the flavor of Stephanie’s
satays. She makes no mention of her near-disastrous spoiled pork debacle. It’s
another classy move. Maybe nice gals don’t have to finish last.
Wilo gets to announce the winner. He said it was a unanimous
decision as well as the crowd’s favorite. And the winner is … Richard. Tell him
what he’s won, Padma. It’s a brand new car!
It’s a brand new 2009 Toyota Corolla, to be exact. Product
Richard’s response is “holy smokes” and “wow.”
I half expect a “golly gee willikers” to follow. Did he win his car
on Leave It to Beaver?
Two become one — Then
it’s Antonia and Lisa’s turn to face the music. Padma asks Lisa if she is
surprised to be there. She says she thought her dishes were strong, but she tasted
Stephanie and Richard’s dishes and they were strong, too.
Tom says he is surprised she chose to go with Latin food
when she is known for her Asian food. She says she lived in South
Florida for six years and is familiar with those flavors.