Top Chef

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Gone Fishin'

The judges gather at a picnic table. They kind of wonder why Blais's team only made one dish. Padma first talks about how Marcel's beans are overcooked and mushy. Heffernan isn't sure about serving foam on a beach; it's inappropriate for the setting. Some of the other diners point out that the corn puree was good, but the rest of the components overwhelmed the fish. Moving on to the other team, Heffernan likes the texture of his taco. Is that like enjoying the cut of one's jib? In a dirty way, perhaps? Gail likes the smokiness of Carla's fish, and Heffernan compliments the dill and the pumpernickel. Heffernan thinks Tre took a big chance in sautéing his fish on the beach, but it worked, and the fish is well cooked. Was Heffernan the only one who talked about the food? Maybe Tom is drunk. Maybe that's why they showed him ordering cocktails.

Jamie is preparing for the judges' arrival. She cooks her fish but notices that the skin is sticking to the pan. To me, that says that the pan's not hot enough, but I'm no expert. The judges arrive and pick up Jamie's striped bass, watermelon salad with fresh dill, shaved radishes, and cucumber water. Cucumber water? That sounds like it would have no flavor whatsoever. It's kind of like when Jamie had to make the braised celery, which is the dish that got her eliminated. There's a subtle difference between "light" and "flavorless." Tiffani made smoked blue fish with tomato, roasted corn, and zucchini ribbon salad. Antonia made an open-faced porgy po' boy with Old Bay mayo and cabbage slaw. Tom knows the porgy has a lot of bones, and Antonia adds that means less yield, so presumably she couldn't do a filet or something.

At the final stand, the judges meet up with Tiffany, Mike, and Angelo, who collaborated on two dishes. They made pickled blue fish, spicy watermelon, shallots, red chilies, confit potato, and dill, and also striped bass with corn puree, tomato, Aleppo spice rub, and watermelon. Tiffany says "a little" before every item, and Angelo calls everything "beautiful." They might want to work on those verbal tics.

The judges eat the second team's food first. They like the fish and the smashed potatoes in their first dish, but Gail doesn't like the competing flavors in the second dish. Tom thinks the fish is cooked well, but the watermelon doesn't work. Angelo does have to put watermelon in everything, doesn't he? Then they move on to sample Jamie's dish. Tom notes that the fish isn't seasoned. Perhaps it was, but all the seasoning was on the skin? Which you wouldn't really eat anyway? Heffernan points out that cucumber water is redundant. Heffernan admires Antonia for using the porgy, but the other diners really love the dish. Padma wanted acidity in Tiffani's food, and Heffernan thinks it is crude and lacking elegance.

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Top Chef




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