Top Chef
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God Save The Hot Dish

The cheftestants shop. Brian chooses decidedly cholesterol-packed lobster tail for his cabbage wrap, and CJ hopes that the cheftestants using cheese in their dishes get smacked for using such a high-cholesterol ingredient. Do you think they're trying to make CJ out to be a narc? Although, he's not the only one to be solicited for comment, because Micah also notes the high-cholesterol lobster. Dale, who has Russian-Lithuanian blood, is going to embrace his dumpling heritage in his chicken 'n' dish. He grabs rotisserie chicken and some instant mashed potatoes. Okay, because I've seen the full episode, it's really hard for me to be unbiased here. Compared with the genuine article, instant potatoes are revolting. I was forced to eat them at a friend's house when I was a kid and they tasted just like the box they came out of. However, Dale will not be turning them into a side dish, he's dumpling-izing them, so fine. Have at it. I can see how boiling potatoes and then drying them to make a dumpling dough would be time consuming. The prepared chicken is a bit of a cheat, though, and that combined with the boxed potatoes is again treading far too close to Semi-Homemade territory for my stomach comfort. Dale claims to be buying the rotisserie chicken for his dumpling filling -- it's confusing later when we see him using a whole, uncooked chicken to make broth -- and the box is to save him a "huge" amount of time. CJ complains to us that it's bullshit for Dale to buy those two items, "He's too good a cook to be doing this -- what are you doing Dale?" It's almost as if he's irritated not that Dale is really breaking any rules -- because if he is, he will be discovered -- but more that Dale is compromising his own talents with these shortcuts and could get kicked off for it. I don't know -- I just don't see CJ as malicious.

Back in the kitchen, the cheftestants have an hour to prep and cook. We get a THESE ARE BOXED POTATOES OMIGOD HE'S USING BOXED POTATOES close-up of the instant potatoes, and Dale tells us that while potatoes -- of any shape and non-flavor -- are carb-heavy, they are cholesterol free. Here we see him pull a full un-rotisseried, herb-draped chicken out of a stockpot. He prods at the breast meat to check for doneness and lowers it back into the pot. Food Flurry. Hung tells us that he's saving fat and cholesterol by marinating the chicken in low-fat yogurt instead of buttermilk. Okay, but I'm pretty sure that buttermilk is actually low-fat…? Lia, who's on franks 'n' beans duty, thinks her dish will be liked by the Elks and notes how easy it is to prepare. Well, sure, you bought chicken sausages from the butcher -- you won't have to do much.

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