Guest chef judge Norman Van Aken explains the art of combining the freshest fish from the Casablanca fish market with local ingredients to create inspired dishes.
Katie frantically tries to extinguish her fish dish gone ablaze.
Matthew takes with him his happy memories and, of course, his 86 pan.
|THE FINALISTS' JOURNALS|
Read more about this episode in the finalists' own words.
86'd in this episode
Guest Chef Judge: Norman Van Aken, Norman's Restaurant in Miami
In Miami the final five contestants meet Norman Van Aken, the chef named "Florida's finest" by the New York Times. Norman brings them to the Casablanca fish market to introduce them to the freshest local fish, such as yellowtail, mutton snapper, and lobster with no claws. He advises them that when going to a fish market, they should buy what's fresh instead of having a specific recipe in mind. After bagging up some choice line snappers, a local fish he's chosen for them to work with, Norman brings them back to his restaurant. There, he introduces some exotic local ingredients to inspire them to cook food that tells the story of the local area. The contestants are given their challenge: one hour, one fish, three different dishes. Each preparation needs to be distinguishable and executed perfectly. To add to the pressure of this difficult challenge, the contestants will enter the kitchen one after the other in ten-minute intervals. After exactly one hour in the kitchen, each will be judged for ten minutes until the next contestant's hour is up.
The atmosphere in the kitchen is intense, and weaknesses of the contestants are revealed. Sara's botched fish butchering reveals her lack of experience. The heat is too much for Katie, whose third dish literally goes up in flames just seconds before her time is up, which forces her to serve only two dishes. Matt takes his time to carefully crisp the skin of one of his dishes, but serves it in a bamboo steamer, which turns his creation to slime. After one of three bones in Matt's first dish gets stuck in Norman's throat, Matt and Katie are called out as the two weakest of the day. The judges call Katie's failure to follow the assignment of three dishes a "fatal mistake," but recognize her brave call to never serve substandard food. They also can't deny the fact that her food was the best of the day. So, unable to ignore the bone still stuck in Norman's throat, Matt is stuck with the 86 pan. He packs up his things and his fond memories to go home to his wife and baby.