Top Chef
Cooking By Numbers

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Eating On The Dole

After one Corkmaster gets it straight that the cheftestants weren't required to do a dessert, and Ted Allen says something about giving them points for difficulty, Padma announces, "I'm going to start with the semifreddo." That's what you're supposed to start with, Padma. Barton G. thinks the semifreddo just tastes like "cream, frozen cream." "The upside down pineapple thing is…hideous," Colicchio decides. He's not even trying to eat anything anymore. I think he took a single bite of every dessert and gave up. "This tastes like an English dessert, which is absolutely hideous!" a Corkmaster snobs. First of all, isn't there an English guy there and isn't he going to strangle you with your pageantry? Second of all, shut the fuck up. Let's see, English desserts to love: sticky toffee pudding, trifle, bread pudding with poured Guernsey cream, and Banoffi pie. I know there are more, but those are the ones near and dear to my stomach.

To us, Dale goes off on the fact that his team, unlike the rest of the tartare-carpaccio heads, took a risk and he's proud of that. Padma thanks and excuses the Corkmasters and their pounds of chain mail.

Judges' Table. Colicchio goes on about the season's first team challenge being difficult and adds, "They had to come to a consensus to choose shrimp, or choose tuna, or choose beef, or choose pineapple, for whatever reason you would do that!" Padma laughs and ducks her head coyly. Barton G. thinks the dessert course was "one big blur." Padma announces that they should choose the strongest course and pick a winning dish. I love how they make Padma believe she has any sort of control on this show. It's sweet. Turning to Barton G., Padma encourages him to talk about Hung's dish on Team Shrimp. Barton G. thinks it tasted good, but it didn't look right, "Didn't really like that foam." On the other hand, Ted Allen did, "It was a flavorful foam, it brought a lushness to the plate." They all seemed to have liked the other two offerings as well. Looks like Team Shrimp will be the winners.

Going to the back and giving a gentle, sad smile, Padma says they'd like to see Team Shrimp. Plaudits all around but the judges decided -- not unanimously, because all three dishes were so strong, Colicchio feels the need to point out -- that Lia's olive oil-poached shrimp was the best of the three. Barton G. announces that Lia will be rewarded for her efforts with…MORE WORK! She gets to be the guest chef at a charity event he's hosting in the Hamptons! "Hey, Lia, you just won the Elimination Challenge, what are you going to do now?" "I'm gonna cook for RICH PEOPLE IN WHITE PANTSUITS!" Lia tells us she is happy to get the prize and everything, but she was most pleased with Colicchio complimenting her knifework and specifically telling her that he loved her dish. Once again, Brian (MALARKEY!) gets away with a seafood dish. This time, however, Colicchio doesn't comment on that fact.

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Top Chef

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