Top Chef
Cooking By Numbers

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Eating On The Dole

The results are in and Jamie names off his least favorites. Starting with Joey From New York, Jamie says his dish didn't work with the cocktail because, "It was too robust, too heavy, a little bit clumsy." Sort of like Joey. Jamie also didn't like Hung's pairing, "It was just a little bit muddled -- the ingredients you had there, it should have worked with richer, stronger flavors." "So sweetness didn't go good with creaminess," Hung confirms, "Thank you." Hung tells us smugly, "I'm thinking to myself, he's confused -- that's why I called him out." That's calling him out? Wow, you could be fighting with Hung and not even know he's mad! Crazy. The pairings Jamie really liked were Tre's, Casey's, and Dale's. Casey wins it with her bold flavors and beautiful execution.

For the Elimination Challenge, the cheftestants will be dividing themselves into teams of three, and each team will create one course in a tasting menu. "Which must be a trio of the same ingredient," Padma adds. Of course it must. The following day, the cheftestants will have two hours to cook at Chef Barton G's newest restaurant. Okay, I know this guy's real name is Barton G. Weiss, but he goes by "Barton G." which can't help but remind me of Nanny G of Frasier fame or Ali G of regular fame. Sadly, this guy is neither a nymphomaniacal children's entertainer nor a confused white gang member from Staines. Padma goes on, "Attending the dinner will be ten members of the Chaine des Rotisseurs dining society. They are a group of fine-dining connoisseurs with VERY REFINED PALATES. GOOD LUCK." Someone needs to tell Padma's acting coach that volume doesn't always equal emphasis.

The cheftestants struggle to break themselves into groups. They start by dropping their names into a bucket and drawing them out -- the first three are a group, the next three are a group -- you get the gist, right? Soon, they start to argue over how many fish dishes they can have, and then the entire plan goes completely awry when the dangerously divisive subject of dessert comes up. Howie, who is trying to institute an agreed-upon progression of the tasting menu, gets under Dale's skin -- they were teammates with Casey at this point -- so Dale nominates himself off that team in order to join a dessert team. Finally, Dale, Sara M., and Camille end up on the dessert team because they all admit to some passing experience with the course. Joey From New York fills Dale's hole (ahem) on the fish course, an event that makes Casey roll her eyes and shake her head. "And there's a LOT of build up here and I KNOW this is going to be difficult. I'm aggravated," she tells us. Yeah, but the funny thing is that, contrary to what was expected, Howie and Joey From New York don't end up having a problem with each other -- they have a problem with you! Finally, the teams are settled and they all break off to decide their dishes. I have to say that with three individual dishes per team, this is about as anti-team as a teamed event could be. They're all working separately and they only thing they really have to do as a team is agree on an ingredient. Casey is already having difficulties with her team. Her suggestion of doing cheese ravioli is shot down, as is her idea of "really reach[ing] out" to do "different stuff." Howie and Joey From New York remind her that the two of them don't have Immunity, so they can't afford to take crazy risks. Joey From New York tells us, "I started to get cranky." Heh, Joey using the word "cranky" is just the beginning of how endearing he ended up being this episode.

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Top Chef

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