Top Chef
Latin Lunch

Episode Report Card
Keckler: A | 1 USERS: A+
'Cuz She's Lia-ving On A Jet Plane

In the back, Hung pulls at his jean cuffs and mutters, defiantly, "I know my dish was good." Howie and Joey arrive and Joey points at Howie as the winner and then emphatically starts the applause. Howie has a little speech to make, "I just want to say that because this guy was standing next to me and he had my favorite dish there that I'm giving this bottle to him because I think he had the best dish of the day." Joey accepts the bottle and pulls Howie into a hug so Howie's next comment, "I'm sharing this with Joey" is muffled. So, is he giving him the bottle or is he sharing it with him? Or maybe he's giving him the wine and sharing the victory? Or maybe it's a one bottle, one glass, two mouths sort of thing. In recent episodes, the winner has often called the losers up but here, Joey's doing it. He admits he doesn't like performing this task, but the Judges want Casey, Sara N., Lia, and Hung. Does he take grim pleasure in naming Hung?

In front of the Judges' the losers stand, a single line. Starting with Hung, Gail asks if he knows why he's there. "I'm not sure -- was it too…classic?" Hung asks. God, that's sort of like asking, "Was it too…perfect?" Gail reminds him they were actually looking for classic Latin flavors. Colicchio asks why he went for that dish. "Because that's a very Latin dish, Arroz con Pollo," Hung shrugs defiantly. Just because you know how to pronounce it doesn't make it good. "The rice was dry and under-seasoned a little bit -- " Colicchio says. "Under-seasoned? I thought it was HIGHLY seasoned -- I was afraid I was here for HIGHLY seasoned," Hung interrupts. I thought you were afraid you were there because it was too classic -- get your story straight. Colicchio doesn't really know what else to say to Hung and just says, "Okay," and seems to dismiss him. "I don't think it was bad enough that you had to drink water and spit it out," Hung goes on. Colicchio agrees, it wasn't that bad. "That's not the level we're at," Padmahontas interjects. Colicchio agrees and reaffirms that they have a group of very talented chefs and no one is making anything that anyone is spitting out. Alluding to the Telemundians, Chef Frumkin says, "Everyone was not happy with the final Arroz con Pollo." "I understand that's…your personal decision," Hung says. Um, no, it's the personal decision of all the Telemundians who ate your dish. Colicchio compliments Hung's knife skills. Hung grins and prepares to preen. "Just one word of advice, be very careful with your knife because you almost cut Casey," Colicchio continues, "Please be careful." Hung has enough training in him to recognize a command when he hears it. "Yes, Chef," he bows and shuts up. Moving on to Casey, she knew her rice sucked, so she's not surprised to be there, but she was happy with her coffee sauce result. However, Colicchio's not sure if it was really Latin at all. Next, Lia defends her dish decisions and admits it wasn't traditional but they are on the show to stretch their creativity as chefs. Colicchio wants to know if Lia is surprised to be there. "Not…entirely," Lia hedges, but she definitely didn't think this was a dish that could send her home. Colicchio pauses for full effect, taking this in before giving a thoughtful, "Hm." Sara N. tells Padmahontes that she got the idea for her dish from a Mexican roommate she had in LA and she was doing a spin on it by adding scallops and charred corn. Sara N. admits that the dish wasn't mild, so perhaps the flavor of the scallops got lost in all of it. Padmahontes excuses them for the time being.

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