Quickfire Challenge: Marcus Samuelsson comes in to judge a competition where everyone has to cook an Ethiopian dish. Just about everyone cooks either lamb or goat, but Angelo has the edge because he used to work in an Ethiopian restaurant. The bottom three dishes belong to Kevin, Stephen, and Alex. The favorites are Amanda (!), Angelo, and Tiffany. Even Amanda is shocked that she was in the top three. The winner is Tiffany. Yay! Not Angelo! She gets immunity for the Elimination Challenge.
Elimination Challenge: Each cheftestants chooses a country, and has to cook that cuisine for an audience of a hundred diplomats, some of whom are from the countries chosen. And they won't be able to cook on-site, because they'll only have Sternos to keep the food warm. Here are the dishes:
Tiffany chooses Mexico and makes chicken tamales with queso fresco and tomatillo sauce. The judges think it looks and tastes authentic. Go, Tiffany! I'm really rooting for her now.
Kelly chooses Italy and makes beef Carpaccio with spring vegetable salad and Parmigiano-Reggiano. The judges like the simplicity.
Amanda chooses France and makes beef bourguignon with pommes fourchette and horseradish mousse. She knows when serving that it's not great. The judges wonder why she cut the beef so small, which she did because she thought the beef was overcooked.
Kenny chooses Thailand and makes tamarind-braised pork with rice noodle salad and Thai green curry. The judges think it was subtle but tasty.
Alex chooses Spain and makes braised veal with red wine sauce, olive and tomato salad, and a jamon torta. The judges think the dish is unfocused and bland.
Angelo chooses Japan and makes sashimi of tuna ribbons with avocado and candied wasabi and soy infusion. The judges think it's got good flavors but the flavor of the fish is masked.
Kevin chooses India and he makes stewed chicken with leek and parsnip puree, mango and cucumber salad, and lentils. It's the first time he's made Indian food. The judges like the flavors and the aroma.
Ed chooses China and makes tea-smoked duck breast with crispy pot stickers in Szechuan jus. He claims he knows about China because he's had Chinese girlfriends. Okay. The judges like the flavors.
Stephen gets stuck with Brazil and makes marinated flank steak in a chimichurri sauce with black beans, and rice. He fully admits he knows nothing about Brazil. The judges think the rice isn't cooked properly and aren't sure it really represents Brazil.
The top three are Kelly, Kevin and Tiffany, and the winner is Tiffany, for doing the best job representing her country. I'm glad to finally have a horse in this race who isn't Angelo or Kenny. Plus she wins $10,000. Yay!
The bottom three are Alex, Stephen and Ed. They must have had some seriously shitty food to beat Amanda out for worst dish. Utimately, Stephen is told to pack his knives and go for his poorly cooked rice and steak more than the fact that he had no clue what Brazilian cuisine entailed.
Kelly laments the loss of Andrea. Why is she so sad? Now she has a single room, right? I would be thrilled when my roommates got eliminated; first of all, that means I made it one step closer to winning, and second of all, who wants a roommate? Especially if you are over the age of 20, I think sleeping in a room with another person to whom you are not related or having sex with is tough. I'm just saying. Then again, I'm not much of a camper or a tent person or whatever. I like my bed in my bedroom with my cats and husband in it. The End. Anyway, Kelly's turn in the bottom three after "a fatal flaw" in seasoning (someone died because she used too much salt?) has inspired her to step it up. Because before, she was just half-assing it.
And what of the Pea Puree Debacle from last week? Alex is still claiming that he didn't even know Ed made a pea puree, which we know is a lie, and that he doesn't care what anyone else thinks, which is probably a lie, given how much Alex likes attention. Ed says he's more confused than angry about the whole thing, and wishes that he knew if someone stole it or threw it out or what. He claims he's Perplexed about the Possibly Purloined Pea Puree. I think we can all agree that "pea puree" is this season's scallop.
Tiffany reflects that there are only nine left out of the original seventeen, and that before coming to the show, she was getting ready for her wedding in Costa Rica. Why there? Is her fiancé from there? She just likes it? I have a thing against destination weddings, but I guess it's my issue. I just think it's shitty to force your probably broke friends and family to travel so far to your wedding. It's different if you're either rich enough to pay for their travel yourself, or if they are all far-flung and would have to travel to your wedding anyway. But if you all live a few hours drive from one another, and then you make everyone fly to the Bahamas or something, that's shitty. Anyway. I don't know if that's what Tiffany's planning or not, and I hope not, because she's one of the few remaining contestants that I like.
The cheftestants report to the kitchen and find Padma waiting with Marcus Samuelsson, winner of the most recent Top Chef Masters, who is known for his expertise in Ethiopian and Asian cuisine. Padma explains that DC is known for its diversity and global cuisine, but Ethiopian cuisine is probably most prominent. Stephen explains that he anticipated this challenge because of the large amount of Ethiopian restaurants around.
Quickfire Challenge: Make an Ethiopian-inspired dish. Marcus gives them a quick tutorial in Ethiopian cuisine. He advises them to use the berbere, a spice, and the injera, a sourdough pancake type of flat bread. He also recommends that they make a wat, which is a stew (with a protein like chickpeas, lamb, or beef) that is often eaten using the injera as a utensil. Padma explains that the winner of the challenge will get immunity in the Elimination Challenge. But is it High Stakes? It is not. Just immunity, which Tiffany points out would be awesome to have this late in the competition.