Top Chef

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Brilliant Disguise

Judges' Table. The cheftestants sit in the Stew Room and discuss their dishes. Angelo is sure that he hit the concept right on, in terms of disguising his dish. He kind of sounds like he's trying to convince himself more than anything else. Padma comes in and asks to see Tiffany, Kelly, and Ed. Once they file out, Padma congratulates them for having the winning dishes in this challenge. First, Kelly says that she was trying to think outside the box and make her dish into something different. Ripert tells her that he liked the broth, and also that the rice counteracted the spiciness. Colicchio says that she captured the flavors of her assigned dish and also disguised the dish well.

They move on to Tiffany. Wylie, who's been kind of a non-entity this week, says that he liked Tiffany's dish because she took something that is normally eaten with your hands and made it a dish. Ripert enjoyed it and says that it reminded him of a gyro immediately. Finally, Ed says that he turned his dish inside-out. Ripert tells him that all of the parts of his dish were perfectly executed, and Wylie says that he knows how to cook chicken. Those are two big compliments coming from those two people. So who was the winner? Tiffany! She jumps up and down, and proclaims that she now has a honeymoon. Okay, I like Tiffany but this is about the last week I want to hear about her wedding. Thanks.

Now comes the hard part where they have to call back some of their colleagues. They call back the A-Team: Alex, Amanda, and Angelo. I will not be sad to see any of these three go. Amanda starts out by saying that she was aware that her dish was not disguised, but she was going more for flavor. Wylie wanted more disguise, since her dish gave her a lot of opportunities. Tom gives her some ideas, and concludes, "You took a soup and made a soup!" He also tells her that her marmalade was way too sweet.

So why is Angelo there. Tom says that they immediately knew it was beef Wellington, and there really wasn't anything interesting about it. Angelo thinks he should have pushed the envelope, and Tom tells him that the pastry was dried out and obviously store bought, when he didn't even have to include puff pastry in the dish. Wylie tells him that even his plating was sloppy. Ripert was surprised that Angelo didn't put more creativity into it. And finally, what's Alex's problem? Wylie says that Alex's plate was the first one where he couldn't tell what the dish was immediately, but his "disguise was merely poor execution." Ouch. Alex admits that his execution totally failed. Wylie tells him that this late in the competition is not the time to experiment. Tom lays down the death knell when he says that the meat was tough, he's had better mozzarella at a street fair, and better frozen tortellinis out of a box. Damn. How did Alex screw up that badly? How do you mess up tortellinis? Was his dough bad? Did he cook them too long? Was the filling not up to snuff? Tom thinks that these three have done their worst work to date this week, and he wonders if they each want to go home and be seventh best.

Back in the Stew Room, Amanda says that it's an embarrassment. Wouldn't you be embarrassed to be in the bottom this many times? Doesn't she feel outclassed? Angelo bitches that he knows he did poorly and he knows he should go home. He's kind of waiting for someone to go, "No, dude! You are awesome!" No one does. Kelly interviews that she doesn't feel bad for Angelo because she wants to win, and if he goes home, that puts her one step closer to the end.

The judges discuss the food. Padma thinks that all three of them failed on two levels: they didn't do a good disguise, and their food sucked. Ripert thinks that Alex put a lot of time into his dish. Tom thinks that Alex had a good idea but couldn't execute. Wylie thinks that Alex should have gone with what he knows at this point. Amanda just failed all over the place. Ripert wonders what she did with her four hours. Good question, dude. Ripert thinks Angelo was uninspired, and Wylie adds that he must have froze, because he can do better. Ripert thinks anyone could do better. Ouch. I wonder how it feels for the cheftestants to watch this back. It probably depends on how far they got in the competition.

The bottom three are called back in. Tom tells each of them why he or she is there, harshly telling them that their only disguise was that of a poor cook. Is that an insult really? He's saying that they are really good cooks, disguised as poor cooks. Right? Anyway, Padma tells Alex to get the hell out. Thank God. Alex interviews that there is no margin of error at this point. He holds no grudges about the pea puree conspiracy or Restaurant Wars, which is actually classy. That was a nice exit from a weird guy.

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