Top Chef
Who Deserves To Be Here

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Keckler: C- | Grade It Now!
Who Deserves To Be Here?
The Blue Group cooks. Harold promises that the guy who flubbed the Quickfire is not the real him. I don't know Harold, I really wonder if you've got the balls to last this entire competition. Oh, what the hell is Stephen saying now? He's searing a rack of lamb "to the fourth power"? "Four different searing methods," Stephen explains, going on about flavor components and how they work with his Spanish tempranillo wine. "Due to the fact that I am," he reminds us, "a sommelier." FISHHOOK! Cynthia says that Stephen "knows his stuff" in the wine world and is "very much, uh, full of himself." "Stephen is a sommelier, so he's a professional bullshitter," Lee Ann interviews. Love her. "The meal is not complete without the wine," Stephen says, tipping back a tiny taste. I might agree with that on principle but still, HATING him. Tiffani beefs out that she's all focused and intent and zoned and shit when she's cooking: "It's not playtime for me." Is it ever playtime for you, Tiffani? Cynthia dithers and swears and swears and dithers. Harold says that watching Cynthia cook is like watching utter chaos. Cynthia swears and forgets what she needs and then hysterically asks Stephen, "How you doing there, Brian?" Stephen twings and replies, "Stephen?" and knock me down with a feather because he doesn't add, "The sommelier?" Cynthia tells Colicchio that she's not quite sure what she's doing, but she's going with lamb steak and "crazy rice." Colicchio asks what's so crazy about it. You mean, other than that Cynthia's making it? Cynthia says, "Well, you know, it's got all kinds of stuff going on -- it's got the black shit, it's got the's got the, you know." Yeah, she's a bit batshit. Although, to be fair, when I'm at my worst I tend to communicate that way. I'm all, "I have to do that thing with the stuff, you know?" My husband stares at me and says, "Yeah, I'm gonna need a few nouns."

The Blue Group starts plating. Stephen peddles some shit about how it had been more than three hours, so in his opinion everyone should have been more than ready. Brian can't believe that Cynthia is still figuring things out in the last few seconds. Yeah, Cynthia doesn't know what's going on. At the Judges' Table, The Katie Leebot taunts that the last group "had a lot to say about their dishes." Stephen presents his threesome of Colorado lamb with his bottle of wine. He's got a braised short rib, and next to that his lamb "seared to the fourth power." It's a rack rib seared in rock salt, then mirin rice wine, then soy sauce, then white miso dressing. His third in the lamb trio is a demitasse cup of lamb sausage and fava bean soup. His whole dish is lined up on a long, narrow, rectangular plate, which is so Jean-Georges 1999. Stephen presents his wine, which he says adds "tannins and acidity and balance" to his dish. Aaaand you can pretty much say that about any good wine. Fucker. Lisa and Gail observe this flourish in raised-eyebrow disbelief. Next, Tiffani presents her pumpkin-stuffed orange and sage pasta baked in a mini-pumpkin, topped with Parmigiano-Reggiano, and garnished with golden raisins in an apple gastrique. Harold presents his steamed Thai snapper with Brussels sprout leaves, rock shrimp, chanterelles, and fall squash sauce. Yum! Lee Ann unveils a cold smoked sturgeon salad with saffron fingerling potatoes, lemon confit and balsamic reduction. Double yum! Crazy Cynthia presents her "Crazy Rice with Lamb," which she says isn't finished because someone stole her pomegranate. "Oh, wait, I lost it," Cynthia corrects herself... sarcastically? She may be right, she may be crazy, but it just might be a lunatic they're looking for. Cynthia also explains that she made it surf and turf, but it's lamb -- another crazy line of thought I don't follow -- and says, "What the hell, good night!" Oookay. Brian arrives with his char-grilled jerked breast of chicken with coconut mashed potatoes and mango-papaya relish. He thinks they'll find it succulent. All these presentations look pretty good. Even Cynthia's plate seems to have a method to the madness.

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