Top Chef

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The Theft of the Pea Purée

Back in the Stew Room, Andrea and Kelly are gossiping with Kenny and Kevin about the Case of the Purloined Pea Puree. Alex interviews that he knows people think he took Ed's pea puree, but he claims it was all a coincidence, and he didn't even know that Ed was making a pea puree. Cut to footage of Kenny telling Alex that Ed was making a pea puree. Heh. Good job, editors. On first viewing, I totally forgot that Alex was told that. I really have to believe that, while the camera people didn't get Alex on film taking the puree, they knew that he did take it. Maybe they saw him, or the evidence was overwhelming or whatever. If they had doubts, the producers would not have put that footage of Alex outright lying into the show. And also, Ed lied about not having any peas. And also, I have to believe that pot they showed of peas in water on Day Two belonged to Alex, since Ed made his puree the night before, and no one else served peas.

Padma enters and asks to see Tiffany, Alex, and Ed. I thought maybe they were going to get to the bottom of this puree thing, but no. They are actually the top three! They are all incredibly relieved when Padma tells them. Tiffany actually cries, because she thought she was on the bottom because her fish was overcooked. Tom tells her that the fish wasn't dried out and Gail adds that everything she added to the fish had moisture, which helped. I love Tiffany.

Moving on to Ed, who makes the judges laugh by referring to the lobsters as being the size of Volkswagens. Art Smith tells him that he knows Ed was challenged, but it didn't show on the plate. Alex says he's surprised to be there, because he had such a hard time deciding what to do with the salmon in the first place. Art Smith can't stop praising the pea puree, and they cut to a hilarious shot of Tiffany crossing her arms with an expression like, "Uh uh. No, he didn't." Ed looks like he wants to say something, but knows it's not a good idea without hard proof. Alex just accepts the praise, and then Art names him the winner. Ed and Tiffany look bemused and kind of annoyed. Can you blame them? Ugh, and now they have to put Alex's gross face on the wall at the Palm. Even if he didn't steal the peas, his remarks this season have been grody.

The cheftestants walk back into the Stew Room and announce that Alex won, and everyone looks kind of shocked. There's a smattering of applause. Kenny interviews that the judges were really impressed with the pea puree, but meanwhile, Alex had not nearly enough time to make it. I still can't get over that shot of the peas in a pot. Who did those belong to? If they belonged to Alex, how did Ed not find them and ask about them, when Alex presumably had the puree already plated? So many questions. But this isn't Law and Order: Pea Puree, unfortunately, so the bottom three must be named, and they are Kelly, Andrea, and Kevin.

The bottom three head out to face the judges. Gail starts out by asking Kevin about his tomato concasse, which had red chili flakes and was way too hot. Kevin says he did taste it and thought it was fine. Tom asks about the overcooked lamb chops. Kevin says he prefers his lamb medium instead of med-rare. Art Smith points out that the bones on the lamb weren't properly cleaned, and that's NOT LOVE. Shut up, Art Smith.

Moving on to Andrea, she explains that she doesn't make swordfish much and it's not her favorite. Art Smith says that they could tell, and her couscous was "kind of gloopy." Tom tells her that there was way too much vanilla and it hurt the dish. Andrea says that she's made that sauce before and it was successful. Gail points out that if they wanted to taste what she makes every day, they would come to her restaurant. That critique makes no sense. So the cheftestants are supposed to cook all new food and flavors on the show? I'm usually with Gail, but that was dumb. Andrea has this sort of Carmela Soprano pursed-lip look that appears condescending, as if she's thinking, "I'm listening to you but I think you're full of shit." She may want to work on her poker face.

Finally, they talk to Kelly, who says she wanted to pay homage to traditional steakhouse flavors. Tom asks if she knows why she's there, since she succeeded at her stated goal. Kelly knows that her food was probably too salty. Tom says that she nailed it. Since she knows what it was, there's not much for the judges to say.

Back in the Stew Room, Kelly breaks down talking about how she ended up on the bottom. Of course, dumb Amanda thinks it's because Kelly wouldn't share her salt. Yes, that's exactly why she oversalted her dish. She used all the salt so you couldn't have any. Dummy. Kelly says that they told her on the Quickfire that her food was too bland, so she was trying for bold flavors on this one. First of all, the judge of the Quickfire was an idiot. And second, is "salty" a bold flavor? I think she needs to cook her own food, to quote the cliché.

The judges discuss the food. Tom reveals that Andrea's swordfish sat under the heat lamp for eight minutes, which explains a lot. Art points out that her excuse about not liking swordfish was lame. Gail moves on to say that she understands the concept behind Kevin's dish, but it didn't hold together, and Art generously adds that he thinks Kevin had a good idea but didn't pull it off. Tom is less kind, claiming that Kevin made "common sense mistakes" like cooking the lamb sous vide and then essentially cooking it again so that it was overdone. Gail sums it all up by saying that all of the bottom three were sloppy, especially Kelly with her oversalting. Art says the saltiness makes him question Kelly's palate. Back in the Stew Room, Kelly is still whimpering about how "they" wanted aggressive flavors, but she usually cooks with very delicate flavors. I think she's so up in her head right now that she's just making things up. They complimented the dessert she made; did that have aggressive flavors? Anyway, the judges have made their call, but we will have to wait until after the commercial break to find the results.

Once the bottom three are back, Tom has to say this horrible line about how they were supposed to make a power lunch but their dishes made the judges want to take a power nap. BOOOOOO! Bad times. Tom tells Kevin that there was no reason to overcook his lamb, tells Kelly that her food was overly salted which ruined the dish, and tells Andrea that her dish was unfocused and the vanilla ruined it. So who's going home? Padma tells Andrea to pack her knives and go. Kelly and Kevin both clearly thought it was going to be them, as they nearly collapse and cry in relief. Andrea seems to think they're upset that she's leaving, when really they're just happy it's not them. In her exit interview, Andrea says that she respects the judges, but she also thinks that she makes awesome food but made mental errors. She vows to move on. I don't think she has a choice, does she? It would be kind of awesome if someone refused to leave and just kept showing up for competitions like, "What?" Get on that, Bravo.

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