Top Chef

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Hate the Sin, Love the Dinner

Everyone helps serve Sam's ceviche, which is appealingly presented in what look to me like pairs of dessert glasses, one with the ceviche in it and one with the popcorn. Debi finds it "fantastic." Betty, however, is back in the kitchen trying to "plate" her soups, which consists of squirting them into champagne flutes with a squirt bottle. She can't get it to work, and she's getting the insides of the glasses all gross. She should realize -- or she should have realized sooner -- that this icky look is how the glasses will immediately look once people start drinking the soups out of them. But she doesn't, of course. Everyone is helping, but the problem is that as soon as the glasses even jiggle, they slop the soups around in the glass, and it makes that gross buildup on the inside of the glass. Sam says in an interview that he didn't think this was a great idea, but he acknowledges that he didn't tell this to Betty. She explains the soups to the guests, and you know how they usually have the beauty shot of each dish to show you what it is? Even in the beauty shot, the soup looks gross, sloppy on the insides of the glasses. It just can't be done neatly. The other reason I thought this was stupid is that to me, champagne flutes exactly say "elaborate," which is the opposite of slothful, in a sense. If you were going to do this, you'd serve them in... what, rough stoneware mugs or something, right? Something that looks like you just threw it together. There's nothing lazy about crystal. It's imbued with the fact that it involves careful unpacking and careful handling and hand-washing. I don't think she could have picked a worse way to present these soups, honestly. Colicchio immediately says he doesn't like the texture, and the guest judge agrees. Ted points out that the soup wasn't strained properly, and that's part of why it's so thick and hangs on the side of the glass looking icky. Colicchio finally acknowledges that hey, at least it's lazy in its way. Ouch.

In the kitchen, Michael asks Sam to go out and introduce his dish, because Michael's face looks pretty nasty, and he thinks it will be unappetizing to look at him when you're about to eat. Sam agrees. Michael does tell us that he's really happy with the way his food turned out. But when Sam gets out there to speak for Michael, Colicchio is having none of it, and the other guests join him in demanding Michael's appearance. Michael emerges from the kitchen and explains about the tooth. He also explains that the trout is envious of the salmon. That looks really good, I have to say, with the sautéed vegetables and the lemon-thyme beurre blanc. I would eat that for sure. Everyone digs in and immediately loves it. "Our Michael did this?" Colicchio asks, and Padma confirms. "He should get his tooth pulled every day," Colicchio suggests.

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Top Chef




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