Top Chef

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Ho No

Stefan runs over to the alligator and whacks off the tail, which he knows has the most meat in it. He starts getting the meat out and tells Marcel that he's going to make a soup because he doesn't know what else to do.

Carla is working with the crabs and somehow gets her finger caught in one of the crab's claws. Stefan rescues her, and asks if she's okay. See? He's not always an asshole. Carla has decide to do a cold appetizer with Asian flavors and served in Chinese spoons. She interviews that thinking about the appetizer is hanging her up and taking her focus away from the rest of the meal. That's not good.

With half their time gone, everyone starts rushing around and we're treated to the recapper's favorite trope: the montage. So while nothing interesting or dramatic is going on in the kitchen, we get to find out the menus of the three cheftestants.

Hosea: Trio of sashimi, scallops and foie gras with pain perdu, and venison loin with wild mushrooms. He explains again that he's not doing a dessert because it's not his strong point, and he doesn't want a weak dessert to be the last dish he serves in the competition. Strategy! At least he's thinking about it.

Stefan: Halibut and salmon carpaccio, squab with braised red cabbage and schupfnudeln, and ice cream with chocolate mousse with vanilla syrup and lollipops. He explains that when he has a three-course meal, he wants to have dessert. Sure, but on this show, you want the dessert to have some coherence with the rest of the meal. He seems to be making his take on some traditional European dishes here, and then it all falls apart with the dessert, which seems thrown-together. But we shall see.

Carla: Seared snapper with saffron aioli on a croûton, sous-vide New York strip steak, potato rod with merlot sauce, and a cheese tart with apple coins and marmalade. The steak is just a weird choice to me, especially since Carla has been touting her French cooking background lately. And I've already registered my objections to the sous-vide. Carla explains that she's going to focus on the sauces, since they pull everything together. She's also doing cheese as her third course, since that's what is done in traditional French cooking. This makes sense to me, since Carla was known early on for her pastry crusts. She should reintroduce that in the finals; the judges always praised it. Casey steps in and suggests that they do a soufflé instead of a tart. Without, it seems, much discussion or objection, Carla hops on board. While I can see her argument that a soufflé is more traditionally French, I also think she should play to her strengths. Soufflés are known to be risky; it seems like every '70s sitcom had a subplot where someone's soufflé kept falling when the boss was coming over for dinner, and that's kind of turned me off from ever even attempting such a thing. But Carla goes for it, and we'll see how that works out.

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Top Chef

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