Top Chef

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Pros and Conch

Now that all the conch is out, the cheftestants pour water over their tables to try to eliminate sand. Mike complains that he can't get the grill very hot. Antonia says that she really likes her dish this time, unlike in the last challenge, as she makes a conch tartare and a lobster nage (which means she's going to poach the lobster in flavored broth, then thicken it). Tiffany wants to do something different, so she plans conch and coconut chowder. She's using the coconut a lot of a different ways, and adding conch ceviche on top. Blais thinks the conditions are getting to him, as he feels sore and old and tired and dehydrated. Mike is trying to be inspired by local ingredients. Blais is making a dish that isn't Caribbean. He was inspired by the inside of the conch shell to make pasta out of sweet potatoes by slicing them really thin (with a slicer) and cooking them like pasta. It's risky, but it looks really cool.

Everyone dons chef coats (not sure why) as they start to wrap up. Mike accuses Antonia of always doing the same food no matter what the challenge. That is rich, Mr. Always Makes Greek Lamb with Feta. He's only diverging from his usual MO here because he trained exclusively for this Caribbean finale. Antonia is having trouble with her wood-burning grill, specifically getting the fish cooked the same. Mike is also having some problems, although he claims he learned from cooking over open fires in the desert on his first season. Antonia notes that the guests are arriving, and she still can't get her fire hot enough.

The guests are all wearing white. Is this heaven? Or Ancient Greece? Also, they totally didn't have to swim to shore; the boat pulled up into the shallows and they waded in water that was ankle-deep. That's bullshit. Tiffany is finishing up. She explains that she likes dishes with two different temperatures, like soups with a cool finish, which is why she is putting the ceviche on top of the hot chowder. Won't that cook the ceviche, if it sits there? What do I know?

Padma and Tom make small talk with the Commander and the Ex-Commander of the Yacht Club as they wait for their food. Because it's almost time to serve, that means it's also time for Blais to have his nervous breakdown. He notes that everyone else is cooking a Caribbean dish, and he totally didn't. He interviews that he hates everything he does after it's done. He really needs therapy or something. That can't be healthy.

Blais serves first, and Padma introduces the Commodore and his wife, along with Gail, Tom and guest judge Lorena. Blais made sweet potato linguini with conch and spiny lobster. Lorena's lobster is undercooked. The diners like the way he cooked the conch, because they normally eat it tartare, I guess. Tom goes on this whole soliloquy about how amazing it is that Blais cooked pasta on a beach, and Gail has to break the news that it was ribbons of sweet potato. Lorena was also fooled. Oh, Tom. Everyone is like, "Ooh, ahh, sweet potato."

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Top Chef

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