Now that we went through a pretty painful Restaurant Wars, it’s time to make the remaining chefs cry. Sara went home, which was the right move but I’m not happy about it because she had a pretty good personality. Travis, who had a rough start, is starting to feel like he’s one of the guys now. He’s not the only gay chef in the house, but being gay is one of his many things.
The chefs rolled into the kitchen to see Hubert Keller, a renowned French chef. He’s a big deal, particularly in the Top Chef world. Padma says that for this challenge, it’s time for a cup of Joe… Top Chef style. Oh, so it’s a Dunkin’ Donuts sponsored challenge. For this one, the chefs will use Dunkin’ Donuts coffee as the featured ingredient in their dishes. The winner gets $10,000 for practically no reason at all?!
The chefs charge toward the coffee and start crafting their dishes. We learn that it’s important to balance the coffee when making savory dishes with it. Visions of hundos dance in their heads as they grind and reduce the beans. Stephanie is not good at Quickfires, and this dish is no exception. Brian is making a risotto, which is a cursed dish on this show and any cooking show that I can think of. Nina thinks her biggest competition is Nicholas. And with that, the thirty minutes is up.
Travis’s dish is first. He made salmon with coffee mushrooms or something. Carrie made a coffee custard with candied coffee beans and cocoa nibs. Brian made the dreaded risotto with sausage and coffee in there somewhere. Carlos made a sponge cake with coffee mascarpone. His sounded the best. The next dish belongs to Nicholas, who made a sockeye salmon with a hazelnut, coffee, and white chocolate emulsion. Padma tells Nick there’s a lot of coffee in there.
Shirley works the Asian angle with a coffee crusted tenderloin with a garlic puree. Stephanie crafted a sweet potato and goat cheese sauce on a coffee crepe with a bacon and coffee ham-jam. They deem it "interesting." Hubert says that Brian’s doomed risotto and Nicholas’s coffee-heavy emulsion are on the bottom. Shirley’s surprising coffee-garlic pairing, Carrie’s custard, and Stephanie’s weird crepe come out on top. Shirley is the winner of this challenge and way too much money for a tenderloin.
Padma moves things right along and says for the elimination challenge, going home is a good thing. She brings out actor and New Orleans native Anthony Mackie, who says he loves to eat in New Orleans. Great tie-in, guys. This challenge is to make a dish inspired by what they crave when they go home. The chefs will be serving their hometown dishes at Dooky Chase for Anthony Mackie and Leah Chase.