Top Chef
Sunny Delights

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Bye, Bye Birdsong

Well Hung Watermelon Mimosa

3 cups watermelon puree, seeded and strained
3 1/2 tablespoons lime juice
2 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh basil
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups sparkling wine

The Shake:
Combine the watermelon puree, lime juice, basil, and black pepper in a pitcher. Chill for 1 1/2 hours. Add the sparkling wine and stir carefully. Pour out into Collins glasses.

Makes 6 drinks.

Padma calls Norm Van Aken "the pioneer of Florida fine dining" and, gesturing over at some tables groaning with baskets of glistening Florida citrus, tells them their Quickfire will be to create a " delicious dish" using "Florida's single most important ingredient, sunshine." What if Padma left off "delicious" in her instructions? Does that mean they'd be allowed to make a bland dish? Or even a disgusting dish? In fact, could we please make that a challenge? "Make a dish that will gross me out and be disgusting." Would that be tougher for talented chefs to pull off? Would they be really hard-pressed to not cook delicious food? They could have rules like, it has to actually be food, and it can't be inedible, such as using raw chicken or spoiled meat. I think it would be fun -- whoever makes Padma throw up the largest amount wins. Crap, that would make Sandra Lee a contender for Top Chef.

Food Flurry. Sara N. thinks she can come out on top if she just keeps it simple and makes it "citrusy." Micah admits to blanking on this task even though she works with citrus every day. Joey From New York gives us a "boom!" as he tells us how he excels at blood oranges and Key limes. I want the Church of Perpetually Raised Collars to excommunicate him already. Tre repeats his opinion that no one else can outcook him, and we get a shot of Hung pulling Tre's too-hot pan off a burner. That was most neighborly of him. Hung then tells us that he thinks he and Tre are the best, but he's best of the best. I guess that makes him the Top Gun of Top Chefs. Cheftestants run around like black chickens with their heads cut off, a peppermill lands all the floor -- it's all dramatic, like there's only one peppermill in the entire kitchen -- and Sara N. curses over finding shells-on, fully veined shrimp. Time's up.

Starting with CJ, who I really like and think is the next Harold, presents his pan-seared sea perch with roasted carrots, sautéed radicchio, orange, and hazelnuts. The Bravo Graphics says "oranges," but I don't think the plural is correct because that would imply more than one whole orange. I really doubt CJ used more than a few supreme orange sections and some juice. NORM! leans over the dish and muses, "The seeds you've decided to leave in here, I see." CJ blanches. "That was your decision?" NORM! asks. "Ah, no, that one slipped by," CJ says regretfully. CJ tells us he blew it and calls himself a jackass. NORM! likes the texture of his sea perch. Dirty. Casey explains her "take on a S'more," which has chocolate graham cracker -- I think it's pulverized and sprinkled over the mass -- with a vanilla and tequila (just a hint) cream sauce and "some blood orange and some Key lime." I think I see slices of star fruit in the corner of the plate as well. NORM! says, "Great S'more, but the focus maybe should have been a little bit more on the citrus." Also, it looks rather unformed and gloppy. Not really like a S'more at all -- where's the marshmallow? Because chocolate and graham cracker do not a S'more make. In fact, didn't S'mores evolve from Girl Scouts roasting marshmallows and then figuring out ways to eat them? As a kid, I was known to leave out the chocolate altogether (it got all slippy and slidey in summer campfire heat and it irritated me) and just mash my kippered marshmallow between the graham crackers. I mean, the roasted marshmallow is the soul of the S'more and without it, you just have an empty shell of chocolate and graham crackers. Sort of like what happens when a Dementor kisses you. Ironically, to recover from a Dementor attack, you need chocolate. I gained so much weight in sympathy calories reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Finally, I think it's weird that Casey heard "citrus" and thought, "S'mores!"

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