Top Chef

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Chuck: A- | Grade It Now!
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Beat This Meat

As for Stephanie, Colicchio makes a point of mentioning her unflappability -- despite the pressure, she always seems cool. "Except right now", says Gail. "Well you guys are freaking me out", she laughs, proving Colicchio right. Again, Rick gives specifics. The sweetbreads were excellent -- "They were lush in the middle, they were crispy outside". The sweet and sour worked nicely as well. Padma wonders what Stephanie thought of her entrée, and discovers that Stephanie might have upped the acidity to give the sauce more bite, and that it was a dish Stephanie has never made before. Gail, apparently a proponent of delivering good news before bad, tells Lisa that she loved the lemon in the appetizer, but that she really wished the shrimp had been warm, because the butter tasted "congealed" on the cool dish. Rick admits that he "struggled with the dish", perhaps literally, because he couldn't get his arms around it. After Padma gleans that Lisa has made her main dish in the past, Rick admits that while he wanted to hate the peanut butter potatoes, he didn't. Quick, call Nestle! You got your peanut butter in my mashed potatoes! You got your mashed potatoes in my peanut butter! With better technical execution, thinks Rick, the dish could have been really amazing (nice backhanded compliment). Whatever, Lisa's all smiles, as Colicchio adds that the piece of meat she served him was cooked more on one side than the other, which displeases a meat stickler such as himself.

Antonia cops to cooking exactly what she would want if she were eating at a steakhouse. Rick compliments her perfect egg cookery, but doesn't mention anything about the rest of her salad being a disaster. Colicchio says her entrée "looked steakhouse", with a nice chop nicely charred, and Rick gushes over her "fabulous" gratin. Which leaves Spike, who "fell in love with the tomahawk the other day", and cooked it nicely once again, at least according to Gail. The scallops, however, are another story -- Colicchio wonders why on earth, having come this far, Spike would choose frozen scallops, not to mention frozen scallops that of particularly poor quality. Rick schools him about the fact that being a good chef has a lot to do with decision-making, and that if a vendor showed up with those scallops, a good chef would refuse them and change plans. Sure, counters Spike, but "with all due respect, they were in your walk-in". Rick accepts the shot, bro, for their presence (although there's been a good deal of chatter about who, exactly, brought the scallops into the kitchen, and that they were deliberately planted by the producers as a test, which seems quite plausible, or at the very least a good spin by the Tramonto's people) but reminds Spike that "you gotta take the shot that you used them". Yes, says Spike, I used the frozen scallops, kindly clearing up the confusion since the scallops did appear to prepare themselves. "Wrong decision", pronounces Rick, before Padma sends them back to stew. As though he knows what happens next (or at least to make amends for implicating Rick in scallopgate), Spike makes a point of shaking Rick's hand on the way out.

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Top Chef

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