Despite Richard's constant insistence that his team was going "up scale" there really wasn't that much up scale about it. The mac & cheese was on that team, as was all the BBQ--both of which are pretty much common foods. Richard would have had his paella spared from some criticism if he'd have just called it a jambalaya, which is closer to being the proper description (and is a typical fair/party/fundraiser food where I live, so I'm not sold on the up-scale nature of his dish either).
I'm still not too sure what was "dumbed down" on the losing team. Yeah, the pasta salad was unseasoned, but Tom specifically said the bean salad was good. Chicken Waldorf salad--while perhaps watery--is more of a concept than mac & cheese. Dale's Asian barbecue with pineapple looked fairly sophisticated and tasty, not to mention the individual s'mores were loved by Ted and Padma and provided entertainment.
I came away from the episode thinking Nikki should have been booted for her mac & cheese or Zoi for the pasta salad.