I also think so of the challenges are stupid. Cook with one hand? Stupid. Cook with this random arse ingredient? Not stupid.
The quickfires have always had some sort of goofy element to it. The elimination challenges are usually more straightfoward.
I also wish they would let them cook things that take longer than 30 minutes or one hour
They do. Most of the elimination challenges take place over a couple of days with multiple hours of prep/cook time.
For the most part the show has remained the same, with a few new twist to keep from going stale. The only thing I didn't really care for was the finale on the last season, but Tom Colicchio has already said they won't be doing that again.