Top Chef
Red Hot Chili Cook Off

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Kim: B | Grade It Now!
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Totally Chili

After Keith's elimination, the cheftestants sit around outside their house and debrief. Lindsay talks about how they did bring up the shrimp issue (where Keith bought pre-cooked shrimp). Sarah adds that Keith didn't go home because he bought the wrong shrimp; he went home for using a flour tortilla which resulted in soggy enchiladas. Nyesha thinks that people's true colors are coming out and the competition has become cut throat.

The cheftestants arrive at the kitchen for the Quickfire. Padma welcomes them and introduces the guest judges: Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger. Susan was one of my favorite people on Top Chef: Masters. [Note: Fun fact: A comedy pilot based on their lives as chefs/besties is currently in the works. -- RS.] Padma explains the challenge: next to her is a table full of baskets of chilis, and each chili has been assigned a score on the Scoville scale, some high and some low, which indicates their degree of heat. The cheftestants have to create a dish highlighting one type of chili, but the twist is that the higher the score on the Scoville scale, the more money the cheftestant gets if he or she wins the challenge. So they can choose the mild poblano and potentially win $0 (but get immunity) or use the ghost chili and win $20,000 (and immunity). Mary Sue explains that it takes a lot of skill and talent to balance heat and flavor, and Susan reminds them that the judges have to eat all of their dishes, so please don't burn their taste buds off. They have thirty minutes.

Some rush to the pantry while others head right to the peppers. Beverly just starts chomping hunks of peppers to figure out which one she wants to sue, and she explains that she's going to try to make the best dish she can with a pepper she likes, and not worry about how much money is involved. Richie picked a pepper that is one higher than a jalapeno, because he's not experienced in cooking or eating spicy food and doesn't want to screw it up. Chris Moto explains that the ghost chili (the hottest one) is like swallowing fire, and while he's usually into going big, his stomach can't handle spicy foods, so he's going medium.

Heather chooses a Thai chili, which is fairly hot, but she's going to pickle it to highlight the flavor over the heat. Heather likes to pickle things. If this Top Chef thing doesn't work out, maybe she could get a gig as Snooki's personal chef. Chuy chooses the habanero because, I don't know if you've heard, but he is Mexican and he likes spicy food. He mentions that he needs the money to pay back the IRS which doesn't seem like the kind of thing you'd want to talk about on a nationally televised show. It raises questions. Did he not file one year? Underpay? Nyesha is half-Korean, so she grew up eating spicy food. She explains that she's going to triple-blanch her peppers to remove some of the spice and keep the flavor. Wow, an actual cooking tip I could use on this show? Will wonders never cease?

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