Top Chef
First Impressions

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Tastes Like Chicken

The second group starts their food flurry, and Hung makes love to the camera by dramatically popping a piece of something into his mouth. Is it the black chicken breast? Tre hangs over Sara M.'s shoulder and says he's never seen a geoduck before. Dale, with his monkfish liver and alligator, says his personal challenge is creating a dish around two things he's never tasted before. Well, with one, it's pretty safe to trot out the old, "Tastes like chicken," but I'm not sure what can be divined about the monkfish liver. Loser music doo-bee-doobs while Brian plays around with his rattlesnake and eel and says he doesn't know how to butcher them. Because it tends to be dry, Sara M. tackled her black chicken by brining the breasts and braising the legs and thighs. Camille, who owns a restaurant in Brooklyn, tells us she excels at "simple food done right." She's never cooked the kangaroo and abalone she's prepping now, but she's feeling confident with her simple, clean approach.

Arriving for his second Sniff 'n' Sneer of the day -- hope he doesn't sprain his nasal passages -- Colicchio learns that Hung is going to sous vide his black chicken to prevent dryness. Checking in with Tre, who is dealing with kangaroo and abalone, Colicchio posits that Tre is someone who isn't used to losing. "You're very right, sir, that's a good observation," Tre says, proud that Colicchio has already sussed that quality out of him. Food Flurry. Hung tells Tre to tastes something of his. Tre sticks the spoon in his mouth, rolls his eyes in food ecstasy, and says, "Damn." "Three flavors -- it's awesome, huh?" Hung brags and bops happily back over to his station. Time ticks down, and the cheftestants plate their creations. Tre thinks Brian is looking flustered. Padma screams to put their utensils down and their hands up. It's like when we used to take the Benchmark tests, "Pencils down!" Brian curses. He didn't have time to plate everything.

Tre is the first of the second group to present his dish of roasted, game-spiced ostrich fillet with heirloom tomato risotto and fresh abalone sauce. The slices of deep pink ostrich are fanned attractively around the risotto. Earlier, Tre said he was going to serve his abalone raw because he thinks that's the best way to have it. Oh, bring me a drink -- here comes Brian with his whack-a-doo dish. So, it's "Hair of Medusa, Eyes with Fries" and I don't even know what part of the dish that is but it comes with a Sriracha-lime aioli. Then, Brian explains, there's the sea eel, which was supposed to be topped with "this beautiful miso and blood orange salad," but he ran out of time. But he's not done yet, he also has "the Electric Venom Soup," which is a broth he made "by combining the two and adding a little bit of Asian flair to it." I can only assume that "the two" he is referring to is the eel and rattlesnake? And he somehow made a broth with them? The best part is that there are NO Bravo graphics to accompany this dish. I think after "Hair of Medusa," they just went, "Oh, screw it!" Meanwhile, this whole whimsical dish-naming with the venom and the Medusa and the eyes has turned Brian into this year's Betty.

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Top Chef




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