Top Chef

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Pros and Conch

Mike and Blais decide to make pasta. Mike is making fresh pasta and Blais is making a pork Bolognese. That seems like cheating. When I make pasta, I make (as my dad would say) enough to feed the Chinese army by default. I am incapable of cooking less than an entire box of pasta for some reason. We eat leftovers for days. Granted, I am not making fresh pasta, but it does seem like the kind of thing that is easy to expand, and it takes only a few minutes to cook. The Bolognese will be fine, although I would imagine it would taste better if it cooked for more than an hour, but Blais knows how to fake the flavors. It's smart to make something easy, but I don't know if it will pay off at judging time. Blais wants to win this one to build some momentum and "spread intimidation." He is big on that intimidation thing. Doesn't he think that the other cheftestants already know what he's capable of? Does he feel underestimated? Because I feel like everyone has already acknowledged that he's the clear favorite to win.

Tiffany and Antonia are doing seared beef tenderloin with salad, which also seems like a bit of a copout. I mean, I don't know why you would CHOOSE to do something complicated and end up with inconsistent plates. Like if you tried to poach a hundred eggs or something, which could be a disaster. And I do think the ladies' dish is tougher to make consistent, since it's not basically a one-pot dish. Tiffany explains that they have four components, so their dish is more complicated to plate. Blais doesn't agree: he thinks protein plus salad is a fallback dish, not a winning dish. Both teams race to the finish, but they do finish before time runs out.

Time to eat! The judges pick out two plates for each dish, and the rest go out to the waiting diners. Blais introduces their dish: pork Bolognese with fresh macaroni and pecorino cheese. It's basically an upscale version of what my mom used to call goulash: brown some ground beef, throw in a jar of sauce, boil up some elbows, throw it all together and top with shaky cheese (i.e. Parmesan in a can). Yes, I did grow up eating gourmet. Padma thinks the presentation looks the same on both dishes, and Lorena thinks the pasta was consistently cooked. The diners thought it was tasty.

Antonia and Tiffany made beef tenderloin salad with cilantro, mint basil, and chimichurri sauce. Padma is impressed by the plating. Lorena points out that the meat is portioned consistently, and also notes that they had four components, which made things more complicated in plating. Mike claims that he could have made their dish by himself and sent Blais to the store for a six-pack. It's a funny line, if anyone but Mike had said it, because I can't stand him. The diners also think it's tasty. They must not have had great comments from the diners, because we barely see their reactions, even though there are nearly a hundred of them.

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Top Chef

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