Top Chef
Seven

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Miss Alli: B- | Grade It Now!
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Hate the Sin, Love the Dinner

And now, we adjourn to the Kenmore Pro Kitchen for the Quickfire. Padma is there, and she "introduces" Ted Allen, who's kind of beyond introduction at this point, as the guest judge. Cliff tells us that he loves Ted. Me too. I miss the days before Queer Eye was strangled or whatever happened to it. The first thing Padma explains to the group is that from here on out, winning the Quickfire no longer gives you immunity. So much for Michael's plan to get a sick day. Padma goes on to say that cooking involves "at least four" of the five senses. Presumably, she's not sure you always hear your food, which means she's never heard M&Ms calling her, making her luckier than many of us. She says that for the challenge today, they'll each be assigned a color, and they'll design their dish "around" that color. You'll notice that she doesn't say that every single thing on the plate has to be the same color, Betty. They'll draw knives for colors. Ilan gets red. Michael gets orange, Elia white ("What am I gonna do with white?" she despairs), Sam gets yellow, Cliff gets purple (explaining to us that he's color-blind, so picking out purple things will be interesting), Betty gets green, and Marcel gets brown. He tells us he wasn't so happy about brown as a theme color. He claims that brown is not "vibrant" or "beautiful." Apparently, he knows little of chocolate. Or coffee. Or anything that's been caramelized. Okay, that's even stupider than Elia not knowing what to do with white. Betty rubs her hands together about having green, and even more about Marcel getting brown. I mean, who could fail with green, right? ["I'm always amazed that none of these people ever express reservations at the raised expectations of getting the 'easy' option. Ilan does the same thing when he draws 'gluttony' later. You're just not going to get any slack if you screw up 'green.' -- Joe R]

It begins. Ilan explains that he usually starts with the taste of food as the base, so it's kind of weird to start with the appearance. Marcel offers the insight that the speed of the Quickfires is always challenging and forces you to keep moving as fast as you can. Betty burbles that the challenge, to her, was "all about green." And you have no idea yet just how much she means this. She goes into this weird "the greener the better" thing that's just suggestive of a certain unquietness of mind. Betty's kind of gone round the bend of late, is my feeling. Cliff explains that he knows third-hand that eggplant is purple, so he's trying to match the color of the eggplant, even though purple doesn't look purple to him. One of my good friends is red-green color-blind, and I always really wonder what those colors look like to him. Do they both look gray? Do they both look like what green looks like to me? It's kind of fascinating, and I know I won't ever understand it, really, but Cliff is definitely at a disadvantage here. He implies that the eggplant looks black, so maybe red and green would both look gray? Anyway, Michael explains that he went with salmon, because while it starts out pink, it winds up orange. Which is quite true, and rather clever. He's also doing carrots. Batter-fried carrots, it sounds like. I can't say I've ever had batter-fried carrots. Padma rushes in to say there are five minutes left. Betty assures us that she was running around making this "beautiful green plate." Well, it's a plate. And it's green. So she's 66 percent dead-on.

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