Top Chef

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Kim: C+ | Grade It Now!
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Three Courses, No Waiting

Padma asks Tom to detail which dishes he found disappointing. Tom thought Tim overcooked the lamb, so his adult dish wasn't great. He also didn't like Alex's puree, because the dill was too strong and it was kind of watery. Padma didn't like Kevin's dish because there was a pool of blood sitting under the duck, and she thought Kelly's food was bland.

Now to the favorites. Tom liked Lynne's dish, which had good flavors and was well-seasoned, and he liked Tamesha's food because the puree had some texture and he loved the licorice oil. Padma liked Angelo's food because his baby food looked elegant and special. And that's what babies care about. They want to feel fancy while strapped into a high chair wearing a plastic bib. Sometimes I dress my guys in miniature tuxedos, top hats, and monocles. Just to add a little class to dinnertime. Padma also liked Kenny's food, because he made it flavorful but nothing that a baby couldn't handle. Okay, when did Padma become an expert on feeding babies? At least Tom has some experience in this area. They needed a guest judge on this one, I think. Or wait until next season to do it. So who won? Tom chooses Tamesha. He really loved that licorice oil. Padma chooses Kenny's dish, who is happy because he wants to stay on the judges' minds. Tamesha interviews, "Holy shit balls. I won ten thousand smackaroos." That's the first sign of personality we've seen from Tamesha, and I like it.

With that out of the way, Padma introduces Beth Scott, who works in the restaurants for Hilton Hotels. Beth explains that Hilton is looking for a signature dish that is easy to execute, sophisticated, and will work for dining in the restaurant but also for room service. Padma explains that the chefs will have to cook breakfast, lunch, and dinner dishes that meet these criteria, and the winner will have dish on the Hilton menu. Tom explains how the competition will work, and it's kind of confusing, so let's just explain as we go along, shall we? The upshot is that it's a tournament where they compete with a partner, and the team that is judged to have the worst dinner dish will go home. Yes, that means two cheftestants will be leaving. Thank God, because we need to whittle down these numbers. The cheftestants get to choose their own partners. Amanda and Stephen get stuck together because no one else wants to partner with them. Heh. So Amanda hopes that they will win and prove themselves.

They head to the store. Tiffany and Tim are paired up, and Tiffany interviews that she's a bit worried because Tim has been on the bottom a lot lately. She decides to take the lead on the food, so that if she goes home, it's because of her own mistake, not because Tim did something and she was along for the ride. Smart. And much easier to defend to the judges than, "I don't know, I just let him do whatever and hoped for the best." Judges like it when you stand behind your dish or at least can explain your rationale, and they don't like it when you coast or deflect blame.

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Top Chef

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