I’m so glad Dale is gone! I think Lisa’s got a piss-poor attitude most of the time, too (and she looks like the kind of person who could smite you with a withering glare, or kick your ass in a dark alley), but Dale was seriously a pain in the ass with a bad attitude.
The show’s premise is to only consider each chef’s performance on that particular occasion, so past performances theoretically don’t hinder or help contestants. I’m not even sure they consider attitude too much; more than once, I’ve seen them not dismiss a contestant on the chopping block whose attitude was just as bad as his or her cooking. Last night was the first time I’ve seen judges – and in particular guest judge Jose Andres – really favor a contestant’s (or team’s) attitude and team playing just as much as their food. That impressed me, because although I get the rules, and the best chef should win for the best cooking performance, I think how they act in the kitchen, how they treat their fellow chefs, and how they comport themselves during the interrogation (tattling and pointing fingers versus explaining themselves while accepting criticism) should be a factor in determining the winner.
Last night was also the first really balanced, impartial analysis I've seen guest head judge Tony Bourdain give, as well. I liked how well he dialed back his own attitude to give viewers and contestants alike a serious - not antagonistic - review.
All that said, I think Stephanie and Antonia – and even Richard – are particularly awesome, and it’s so cool that there are 3 women left at this stage of the contest. I even like that Stephanie's goal is just to get to the final four. I think I'm like that sometimes, too. It's okay to set a goal that isn't superstardom/winner-takes-all but is still a reach an requires an honest effort.
I would be really happy to see Stephanie or Antonia win it all, and even happier to have the final showdown between the two of them.
Next week: Lisa.
Week after: Spike.
(I can hope, right?)