Top Chef
Sense And Sensuality

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Scalps and Scallops

The cheftestants file into the Krapmore Kitchen to meet guest judge Eric Ripert of Le Bernardin. While I don't think Ripert and his weird livery fish lips are remotely attractive, I would happily listen to him talk all day. The cheftestants drool to us about Ripert. Padmadala explains that this week's Quickfire Commercial is to use Nestlé chocolate and Calphalon cookware to create a sweet or savory dish. Marcel is distressed because he doesn't know a whole lot about chocolate. Food flurry. Ted Ilan is making something revolting with chocolate-covered sautéed chicken livers. Marcel fusses with delicate potato cannellonis. Time's up.

Elia poached some chicken and attempted some sort of mole sauce with chocolate, bastilla (pastry curls on the side), chilies, rosemary, and thyme. Ripert muses that chocolate is a very strong medium to be used against something as delicate as poached chicken. "Eeet's a Mexican tradeetion," Elia says, wrinkling her nose impishly at him. "To my knowledge, in Mexico, um it's definitely -- the chocolate is not overpowering," Ripert corrects gently. See? That's the way for a guest judge to assert his knowledge without being a total dick about it. Yakura. Interesting how Ripert is clearly head, shoulders, knees, toes over Yakura as a chef, but can still be gracious rather than condescending when judging a dish. "No, I know, I know, I know," Elia says self-consciously. Moving on, Elia explains her second dish, which is a ginger and chocolate cremeaux (mousse) with a strawberry and mint "on a crumble." What is the "crumble," Bravo? Oh, right, it's not about the food tonight. Forgive my forgetfulness. Elia says that since Padmadala was talking about sensuality earlier, her inspiration was a kiss. Hey, it's Nestlé's product placement time! Get your own cooking show pimp, Hershey. Although, quite frankly, with those caramel-filled Kisses, they really don't need one. Those babies can sell themselves. The Hugs might need more help, though. They're sorta gross. "I like the crunch," Ripert says, "It brings another element." "It's very creamy," is Padmadala's brilliant interpretation of the cremeaux. Son of Sam announces he is diabetic, so he doesn't eat a lot of chocolate. Look, I feel for the guy being a chef who is diabetic, but these caveats are getting tiresome. I really don't think he would have a disclaimer at the top of his menu saying, "The chef is diabetic, so he isn't very experienced making X, Y, and Z." Anyway, Son of Sam has sautéed shrimps sitting on top of banana slices with a dab of cilantro pesto in between them. There's also some jalapeño in there, but Sam isn't very clear about where it is or what it is doing. Then he says, "The sauces are a chocolate chipol-tay, black bean, and then a cilantro pesto." Why doesn't Padmadala correct Sam's stupid pronunciation of chipotle? LAY! LAY! LAY! Dumbass. I don't even care who I'm insulting now -- I hate them all. Except Ripert. I just feel sorry for him. Ripert is impressed by Sam's dish. Again, Ripert is too classy to be That Judge who corrects the cheftestants pronunciation. Ming.

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