Mainly because I would’ve lost it betting on Team Guy. But not on Daddy Dean.  I didn’t know he had actual restaurant experience, so I’m hoping next week in the diner he’ll really shine. I’m actually sorry Cornelia was the one he had to beat; she gained several points with me when she indicated she likes to go barefoot in her vegetable garden and take care of it, and I think, from the dishes shown so far, she’s probably the better vegetarian cook than Kathy.  And hey, those vegetarian cooks taught me something tonight.  I knew portobello mushrooms are often used as a substitute for meat in hamburgers and other beef dishes because of the taste, but I didn’t realize it’s actually considered a protein. And I didn’t realize eggplant is also considered a protein. I always thought vegetarians only got their proteins from beans (and eggs and cheese if they’re not vegan).  So even though I don’t particularly care for mushrooms unless they’re the canned button ones, or buried in the other pizza toppings, I admit Cornelia’s mushroom dish looked absolutely yummy and I’m tempted to try them now.

I also want to try Johnny’s chicken and water salad, Dean and Cornelia’s corn dishes, Kathy’s eggplant farm-igan, and Dean’s lamb chops and potatoes (how cool was it that he was able to execute a plan B for his potatoes and make a “deconstructed” baked potato, something I don’t always see the Top Chefs do when their menu goes to crap in the same amount of time? Of course, maybe if he’d loaded more baked potato toppings on there, no-one would’ve noticed the lack of salt. And can he just stop with deconstructing everything already?)

I was also impressed, and am glad Guy commented on, Johnny’s ability to redo the salad in the time he had. I suspect (and let’s face it, I’m hoping, because if her team loses, Dean’s guaranteed to stay another week) that Carnie’s mania in the kitchen will hinder her team in the diner challenge. But maybe the clip of her calling herself Lucille Ball is just to throw us off.

I admit I was afraid Dean had overdone it with the unnecessary garnishes, and that his use of prosciutto would give away the fact that he wasn’t the vegetarian cook, but I’m glad some of the garnishes showcased his skill and technique and that his thinking outside of the box gave him the win.

Nina Lisa