Top Chef
Manhattan Project

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Sara's Told To Cheese Off

Dale plates his dish and acknowledges that it is a very risky dish. He admits that he usually sacrifices presentation over taste, but this time, he was really going for presentation. Dale presents his duet of chicken and explains, "Underneath the confit of leg is a truffled potato and onion puree. On the other side, I have the same puree, except it does not have truffle, and a roasted chicken breast." The judges complain at the lack of jus and that the dish is so complicated that it got cold. In the back, Dale realizes that he screwed up and forgot his honey-rosemary sauce. He's pretty upset because he says his sauce "turned out fucking beautiful." Chef Torres says the concept was good but the realization is lacking.

Brian says he learned from Le Cirque that you don't need to junk up your dish with a lot of ingredients; you just have to cook them in the right way. Dale confides in us, "Brian? I'm like -- what was that big, green turd on his plate? Because it was crazy." Speaking of crazy, MALARKEY! presents his dish to the judges, "UMMM, WHAT WE'VE DONE HERE IS I'VE KIND OF DONE A SHEPHERD'S PIE OR KIND OF A PEASANT'S PIE, USING THE CHICKEN IN THE BOTTOM AND THEN I KIND OF CONFITED THE YELLOW ONIONS AND MY PARSNIP, RUSSET, RAMPS POTATO PUREE." (Someone should gently explain to MALARKEY! that "russet" and "potato" aren't two different things.) Colicchio wonders over the extreme green of Brian's purée and asks, "Is it all natural?" Is he asking if Brian used food coloring? "No, it's all ramps," Brian tells him. He leaves, and the judges eat. The judges really enjoy the dish. Chef Soltner says it's the first dish that is at the right temperature and the right seasoning. Colicchio actually goes on record as saying, "I like this dish a lot." Wow, that sort of comment from him is almost unheard of.

As Casey finishes her dish, a plate falls and breaks, but it doesn't seem to be a big deal. Casey tells us that it would be great to have a female win Top Chef. She presents her dish to the judges, calling it "a light coq au vin." Casey explains, "It's a braised chicken thigh and it's got red wine and some golden cipollini, a spring ramp on the side with some fresh asparagus." There are also whipped potatoes. The judges like the dish. They think it has lots of flavor and is unpretentious and well-done. Colicchio specifically points out to Chef Soltner, "She said it's coq au vin." Tattletale. Chef Soltner says, "She cannot do a coq au vin in two hours." "Or with a chicken," Colicchio adds and then says that if Casey had just called it "braised chicken," she would have been better off. Chef Noren says that the first dish was the most refined by far, but Chef Torres -- the chocolate-dipped cutie pie -- says, "The first dish was very interesting, but if we look just at the blind tasting and the flavor, I love that last dish. That was the best dish to me." Colicchio asks Chef Torres what his least favorite dish was. He says the "turd," but he means the third, Dale's dish, and not Brian's green turd. Other judges think Sara's dish was the worst.

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