Top Chef

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The Big Apple

Hosea is freaked out by how awesome the kitchen is. After some more product placement praise, they get down to cooking. They have two hours until service. Hosea is sweaty and clearly needs a headband. Jeff feels like he has a lot of time, so he decides to increase the amount of garnishes he'll be using. Stefan asks Ariane if he can use a burner and she says she's not using it yet. This will be important later. She had dibs on a burner but said she didn't need it. Ariane notes that Stefan is really confident, while she always second-guesses himself. I'm skipping all the dish descriptions now because I'll go into detail when the dishes are served. Carla tries to fillet a trout, and Hosea wonders why she didn't just buy fillets and save herself the time and effort, which is what he did. Carla seems to be wondering the same thing. Richard likes to chit chat while he's cooking, but Jamie doesn't. They both seem okay with that, although Jamie seems kind of annoyed. As time runs down, Ariane is trying to finish her farro, a wheat grain, which isn't fully cooked. She keeps stirring and tasting -- maybe if she left it alone for a while and covered the pan it would cook faster. Just a thought. Patrick is also having trouble with his black rice noodles, because they are gummy and stuck together. He doesn't have time to redo them, it seems. Jeff did a bad job managing his time, and barely has enough time to plate everything. He's just sprinting around the kitchen with pots and pans and ends up not getting all of his garnishes and sides on there.

The judges enter the kitchen. Stefan is impressed that Jean-Georges Vongerichten is one of the judges, as Stefan (and many others) considers him to be one of the best chefs in the country. Padma gets everyone's attention and introduces Jean-Georges. Carla interviews that "it's heavy" to be judged by someone so well-respected. I haven't heard "heavy" used as an adjective to describe something not physically weighty since 1975, so that threw me. Padma says that Tom and Gail will be judging as usual. Gail's dress is... not my favorite. It makes her look boxy and it's ugly colors. But that doesn't really affect her palate, so... moving on.

The first pairing is Stefan and Ariane. Ariane confesses that she doesn't know much about Middle Eastern cuisine, but she made "a cous cous and gremolata crusted rack of lamb", with a farro risotto with dried dates and chickpeas. Stefan made a duo: lamb chops with tabouli salad, and a beef onion skewer. Jean-Georges asks about his spices, and Stefan says it's fennel and cinnamon. Gail thought Ariane's lamb was well-cooked, but the risotto was not. Everyone has great things to say about Stefan's dish, so he wins the pairing.

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Top Chef

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