A Very Special Episode of Top Chef
Elia, with much less fanfare and much more breathing, gets her scallops out as well.
Gail, Padma, Ted Allen, and Colicchio sit at tables with the surprise judges, and Elia and Dave come out to present their dishes. Padma drops the bomb that the diners and sort-of judges, are the Season Three cheftestants. Elia tells us it's bizarre to get judged by cheftestants who haven't even gone through what they have already survived. I agree, but it should be taken for what it is: a way to launch the new season. And just think how the Onesies and Twosies can all sit back and laugh at their former critics as Season Three rolls out. Dave likewise bitches about the Threesies getting the chance to criticize their food.
Moving on to the actual food, Dave explains that he made cold-smoked scallops with a triple olive tapenade and a Meyer lemon vinaigrette. It's garnished with a light sprinkling of chopped chives. God, I could go for that right now. Where's the wine with Dave's dish? Did Stephen decide to pull all wines? Elia's duo of scallops is supposed to be one seared and one carpaccio (raw) with a citrus marmalade and endive salad, but I only see one scallop on the dish. Maybe there's a second dish somewhere. Or she stacked the seared on top of the carpaccio? I don't know, but what I do know is this dish looks very familiar. Sure that marmalade was ginger-grapefruit and the scallop was served ON the endive rather than next to it, but still. Familiar. Okay, now they've served the plates, I see there are two plates for Elia's dish. Why didn't they show us the other one? One of the Threesies answers that question as he looks down at the carpaccio and says, "This, visually, isn't appealing at all." Mixed reactions from the crowd, of course, so we don't really know who got this one. One guy likes Dave's cold-smoked scallop because it's refreshing in the heat of the day. Others really like Elia's seared scallops, but no one likes the carpaccio.
Dave dashes to the back and breathlessly tells everyone who the judges are and that the Threesies are also tasting their food. Marcel tells us that Ilan didn't have time to redice the mangoes he dropped all over the floor because he was already in the weeds "trying to figure out a dish he didn't know how to cook." Marcel quickly dices his own mangoes and plates his lobster. It's hot in the kitchen, so as soon as Marcel adds his gelee, it melts all over the lobster. Holding a whipped cream dispenser, Marcel explains his duo of lobster. The lobster tail has been sliced into medallions and one medallion has melon and tomato and the other is cilantro and mango. The cilantro and mango medallion has a vanilla gelee on it, but, as Marcel acknowledges, "It might have melted a little bit." Ew, vanilla and lobster? I don't think I would like that. Especially as a gelee. A melted gelee. Marcel adds that he has an espuma that he's going to "bust out tableside." He starts with Hung, a Threesie he waved at earlier because they know each other from way back, and explains, "This is a lobster foam."