I think I finally put my finger on why this season is so "meh" to me.
There's a fine balance between adding twists and games to the competition, and just throwing a challenge at the cheftestants and saying "have at it."
The Brunch mash-up challenge seemed to be so rushed, with no clear parameter beyond "Oh look, it's the Cronut guy." While it can be gimmicky, this episode would have been so much better if the chefs had to spin the wheel or draw knives to combine ingredients or themes. They just seemed to flounder with the concept.