Top Chef

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Food With Jazz Hands

Weird interstitial. Marcel claims that some of Wylie Dufresne's sous chefs accused Marcel of stealing a dish for his own restaurant. And now he has to cook in Wylie's restaurant. Marcel finds the whole thing really amusing and interesting; no one else really cares.

Over at WD-50, Dale T. explains that he's making a sunny side up egg dumpling and braised pork belly. He's not even trying to get all molecular gastronomy; he knows it's not his bag, and he will fail. But he is making a kind of unusual dish with good flavors, so it does fit the menu. Tiffani is making something that involves freezing melons with liquid nitrogen. She admits that she kind of knew it was a bad idea, but for some reason she's unable to pull the trigger and remove that element from her dish. Marcel thinks that Tiffani is using techniques just to use them, not to enhance her dish. And Marcel would know, Mr. Foam For No Reason.

The judges arrive and the final group serves its food. Dale T. made the aforementioned sunny-side up egg dumpling, braised pork belly, and milk ramen with bacon, beef, and pork. Tiffani has broken summer heirloom melons (she froze them and shattered them), with powdered ham and taleggio. Carla offers poached shrimp, grits, and okra chips. Marcel prepared vadouvan lamb, tzatziki, pickled red onion, and anti flatbread. Isn't that just bread? It looks like a hunk of bread.

The judges immediately think that Tiffani's dish needed to be edited, just as she feared. They especially think that the melon was overpowering and didn't need to be there. Bourdain thinks that Dale's dish is awesome, and Colicchio comments that the broth "tastes like breakfast." They love it. When tasting Carla's food, the judges don't find anything wrong, but also think it's pretty safe. I think that's probably smart for Carla; while I would like to see her do something more outstanding, I think this probably wasn't her challenge, and she knew it, so she just decided to make something that tasted good and was done well from a technical standpoint. It's not like what Jamie did in that it was a complex dish. It just wasn't a Wylie Dufresne dish. The judges are surprised by how timid Marcel's dish was, and Tom even calls it bland. Wylie levels the same criticism at Marcel that Marcel lobbied at Tiffani: that he used the techniques, but they didn't add to the dish at all.

Judges' Table. The cheftestants arrive in the Stew Room and the wine is poured. Carla makes fun of herself for using the molecular gastronomy equipment and everyone laughs. I really love her. Padma enters and asks to see Dale T., Antonia, Angelo, and Tre. They are the top four. Colicchio tells them that the chef owners were impressed, and Padma adds that the challenge winner gets a six-night trip to New Zealand. Not even sponsored by anyone? Wow. Bourdain praises Antonia for her playful take on a classic dish. Kate Krader specifically mentions Angelo's addition of white chocolate and Angelo does his faux humility thing that bugs the crap out of me where he smiles and bows his head. Ugh. He is gross. Tre talks about his dish, and says that he tried to make the fish the star of his dish. Colicchio says that he succeeded. Bourdain refers to Wylie as "an egg slut" (and anyone who has watched past seasons of this show knows that), and Dale says he knew it, but admits that he didn't use any of Wylie's crazy techniques to make his dish. Bourdain says he didn't need to, and was smart to practice restraint. So who's the winner? Kate says it's the chef who did well representing his kitchen, and that was Dale. Whoa, Dale! I would not have picked him out early on as someone who would win an Elimination Challenge. This really is kind of anyone's game. Except Stephen. But I'm getting to that.

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Top Chef

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