Top Chef
First Impressions

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Tastes Like Chicken

Dale wrapped a thin slice of beautifully pink beef tenderloin around blue cheese, sliced radish, and sea salt and skewered the whole thing with a rosemary sprig tied with a chive flower flourish. That looks and sounds pretty impressive. Clay and his fruit gazpacho is up next. He hollowed out a Granny Smith apple and filled it with fruit. The liquid part of the gazpacho is a Champagne flute of juice on the side. Colicchio comments that the size of Clay's gaznotcho is more in line with a first course and not an amuse bouche, which you're supposed to be able to eat in a single bite. Casey rather snobbishly backs me up, "I'm an executive chef. I know what an amuse bouche is and clearly he didn't. I mean, it's supposed to be a small bite, one bite." Sara, looking to show her Jamaican/tropical side, presents her oyster with pineapple mignonette and slivers of smoked salmon. Hmm, I'm curious as to how something as strong as smoked salmon would go with pineapple, but Colicchio gives every indication of enjoying it.

Checking in on how Hung is hanging, Colicchio and Padma sample his hamachi with creamy egg rice -- did he use the yolks of devilled eggs for that? -- crisp grapes, chili sauce, olives, and a pesto vinaigrette. A lot going on in that, but I think the grapes would be refreshing against all the other strong flavors. When describing the dish, Hung calls the olives "fresh." Now how can that be? Because unless they're straight off the tree, in which case they are inedible and bitter, they have to be cured. I know calling something "fresh" is a big selling point, but it doesn’t make sense when it's wrong. Hung brags, "It's spicy, it's salty, it's sour, it's lean," and seems crestfallen when the judges move on without any comment other than, "Thanks." Hung's ego is standing there all, "What the fuck, people? Don't you know who I AM? Don't you know what I can DO? Give me some LOVE! Ah, screw you!" We end with Tre's hamachi tartare with avocado, strawberries, and Champagne served neatly in an elongated oyster shell. There's a great shot of Clay sucking on the dregs of a Champagne bottle and shrugging as he discovers it's empty.

Colicchio compliments everyone for an overall job well done, but he has to announce both winners and losers. Starting with the losers, he thought the cheese in Dale's tenderloin wrap was too aggressive for a first bite, Clay's was too big, and Tre's needed more acid. Colicchio's top three picks are Sara, Micah, and Hung, with Micah securing the win and Immunity for the Elimination Challenge. Padma sends them back to their digs at the Fontainebleau Resort.

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Top Chef




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