>Top Chef: Around The World In Fifty-Nine Minutes

The Case Of The Missing Pea Puree still weighs heavily on the minds of the cheftestants.
Okay. Not really. Alex still denies he knew Ed was making it, and Ed just wants to move on. But, and this is just me, I hope the puree comes back to bite Alex in the ass as purees are often wont to do.

Top Chef Masters winner, Chef Marcus Samuelsson, is in the kitchen with Padma to tell our chefs that they will be going to Ethiopia, via their Quickfire dish. Ethiopian cuisine happens to be one of the biggest trends in Washington DC these days. Who knew?
So, Samuelsson goes over some basics of Ethiopian food, from berbere spices to a spongy sourdough flatbread often used as a utensil. I need to find an Ethiopian place near Smallville, as, well, I love eating with my hands. Less cleanup, you know.
Stephen gets the nonsensical edit when he says that he takes the game one challenge at a time, which, I guess, is smarter than saving them all up and doing sixteen challenges at once.
On to the food: Amanda picks goat, and seems thrilled at the idea, while Angelo tells us he’s an expert at Ethiopian cooking, though, for some reason, Ethiopian doesn’t get the Angelo Sexy Food title. Alex, of the wonky lips, naturally chooses tongue and Kenny again goes for a duo of lamb. Now, I like Kenny; he seems nice. But, come on, it doesn’t always have to be a duo and it doesn’t always have to be lamb.
Tiffany makes a stew, and doesn’t know what to call it, but I’m sensing Tiffany should call it Quickfire Winning Stew. And Kevin, who seems to know something about every single guest chef judge on the program, knows next to nothing about Ethiopian food. Note to Kevin: stop studying the chefs, and start studying the food. Just sayin
Hands up, utensils down!
Chef Samuelsson loved the heat of Kevin’s dish–as does Grande Dame De DustBunnies, DavidDust–but was noncommittal on Stephen’s lamb. Alex worried his dish might be too spicy, and Padma assured him that there was no spice at all. Kelly’s lamb–which must be an Ethiopian staple more popular than goat–had nice heat, and Amanda did a modern take on goat, whatever that means. They liked the deep flavors of Kenny’s tried-and-true-and-tired-again duo, while Samuelsson praised Angelo for being so authentic. Tiff got props for her goulash–apparently she found a name.
Kevin was dubbed bland, Stephen was dry, and Alex was less than moist so they land Bottom Three.
Angelo Of Ethiopia, Amanda of the modern day goat, and Tiffany all get top honors, but the win–and immunity–go to my girl Tiff!

The chefs must choose a country and then create a dish inspired by that country, and then prepare to serve their dish to ambassadors and diplomats from those countries.
Uh oh.
Tiffany, being from Texas, chooses Mexico, while Kelly goes to Italy. Amanda reminds us that she’s spent three years studying French cuisine so naturally she picks France. Kenny does Thai, while Alex, who’s been to Spain so he knows what he’s doing, if someone makes a dish he can steal and serve, picks Spain, while Angelo [duh] picks Japan. Kevin, who knows as much about Indian food as he did about Ethiopian food, picks India, while Ed turns Chinese and Stephen, last and least, gets Brazil.
If I had Brazil I’d pop a bowl of Brazil nuts on the table and call it a day, but maybe that’s why I’m not on Top Chef.
As the chefs tear through the kitchen, bashing Alex at every turn for being aggressive and a horrible chef, Kelly gets to utter one of those standard Reality Show Lines, #1417: “Whoever sticks through it and is consistent will win.”
Oh, see, I thought an Inconsistent Quitter might get it. Again, just me.
Amanda, of the French Cuisine Cooking Academy of Muncie Indiana, brags about her beef bourguignon, telling us it is “something often done poorly.” I’m sensing that won’t end tonight.
The best part of the cooking segment was Alex’s tumble and recovery. Sad to say, it was a Pause-Rewind-Replay moment on the DVR for about ten minutes.

Beef Bourguignon with Pommes Fourchette and Horseradish Mouuse.
She found her beef dry because, as we know, it’s often done poorly. So, she does what any great chef does, who’s studied fine cuisines from around the world, she cuts it into smaller pieces.
Dry meat always tastes better as saw dust.
As the judges taste the dish, it’s Gail who utters one of the best lines: “If you’re going to serve beef bourguignon, it should have beef.”
Gail should have been around in the 80’s to take over for that Where’s the Beef? gal, Clara Peller.

Tamarind-braised Pork, over a Cold Rice Noodle Salad with a Thai Green Curry Sauce.
My first thought: was Whole Foods out of lamb? But I digress.
Kenny played the I’m-always-in-the-middle-card, so I thought him switching from lamb to pork may have helped, but it didn’t.
Padma liked the spice, and Gail loved the curry. And most of the guests seemed to think his dish hit all the marks, but Kenny, again, sits comfortably, or uncomfortably, in the middle.
And Angelo smirks.

Ribbons of Tuna with Candied Wasabi and Soy Infusion.

Which causes me to think this:
Tuna is to Angelo as _______ is to Kenny.
Yes!~ You there! In the front row! The correct answer is: lamb.
Angelo is a Japanese one-note. Most always Asian and most always Tuna.
The judges like it, but that’s about all. Like.
Tom says that Japanese cuisine is about clean flavors. but Angelo’s dish has so much flavor that you can’t really taste the fish.
Angelo loses his smirk.

Braised Veal Cheeks–although he told Tom in the kitchen he couldn’t get cheeks, so did he steal them, too?–Jamon Torta and Tomato-Olive Salad.

Guest Chef Judge Jose Andreas was really looking forward to Alex’s Spain-inspired food and, well, he doesn’t like it.
It’s dubbed bland.
If only there had been a delicious pea puree to put on the plate, maybe Alex could have redeemed the dish.
If only.

Tea-smoked Duck Breast with Potstickers and Szechuan Jus.
I’m suddenly hungry.

And the judges seem to like it. Hell, even a Chinese diplomat thought it excellent.
But word comes that it doesn’t really represent China.
I think the Case of the Missing Pea Puree has Ed more stumped that he recognized.
I think he needs to put more men on the case.

Flank Steak with Chimichurri and Beans and Rice.
Beans and Rice? That’s a bit of a stereotype.
Padma loves that Stephen put a little coffee in the marinade, but Tom tells us that Stephen committed a Top Chef sin that has been committed time and again this season.
Sound the alarms and send out the dogs. I.Have.Had.It!

Beef Carpaccio with Spring Vegetable Salad and ParmigianoReggiano.
Kelly tells us that she used Virginia beef to make her Italy-inspired dish, and I think that’s an odd way to say it, but again…..
Not on the show, Not a judge.
See, the judges like the crisp clean flavors and the fact that she opted to serve a cold dish and didn’t fall victim to one of the Top Chef Sins this week.
Kelly, who has had a heavy hand with the salt, appears to have tamed her demon this week.

Stewed Chicken with Leek and Parsnip Puree, Cucumber-Mango Salad and Crispy Fried Lentils.

First off, i didn’t know you could crispy fry a lentil. I’m intrigued.
But also worried, because, once again, Kevin knows nothing about a cuisine he’s cooking, and Padma…..PADMA…….is one of the judges.
No, surprisingly.
While Padma didn’t rave about the dish, she also didn’t tie a sari around Kevin’s neck and hang him from a Top Chef pot rack either.

Deconstructed Chicken Tamales with Queso Fresco and Tomatillo Salsa.
Jose Andreas likes.
Tom likes.
Me like.
Apparently, Tiffany, with immunity, is “In it to win it.”
Which, as we know, is Reality Show Standard Line #51.
And I’m hoping she pulls it off.
I can’t think of too many chefs, who-with immunity–also end up Top Three and winning.
I hope Tiffany does it.
I want to hear her laugh again!

Top Three
Kevin, Kelly and Tiffany are summoned to the chambers.
The judges liked that Kevin didn’t go literal India, but still managed to convey India in his food. Again, even Padma liked it.
The judges also liked Kelly’s carpaccio for it’s simplicity and that it represented Italy.
Tiff’s Tamales win high praise from Jose Andreas, and Gail says it’s the first tamale she’s ever had that had enough meat and sauce. And Gail loves eatin‘ tamales. Insert sexual innuendo here: __________

With immunity.
Winner. And she gets $10,000!

Bottom Three
Alex’s trip to Spain, which he has taken many times is called a mishmash, or a puree if you will. The meat was dry, the sauce was watery, and for judge Jose Andrea, who we are reminded again and again, is from Spain, Alex’s dish was “a little nightmare.”
Stephen gets called out fro the Sin Of The Overcooked Rice, and for the fact that his Chimichurri was Argentina and not Brazil.
ED over-promised and under-delivered on his Chinese dinner. He mentioned sweet and sour and it was neither. There was much discussion of duck fat and rendering and crispiness, until Ed broke down into tears.
So Padma quickly announced that Alex must go.
Stephen had to Pack His Knives?
And Alex, the little nightmare, gets to stay?
Oh the humanity.

I like how the chefs stand and applaud as the loser leaves. That’s nice.
I also like that next week is restaurant and Angelo loses it.


1 Comment

Filed under Bob, Bravo, Reality TV, Top Chef, TV

One response to “>Top Chef: Around The World In Fifty-Nine Minutes

  1. >(btw – I sent your Design Star recap to my mother – on the road and missed the episode)Nooooo Stephen! We are still Team Tiffany.Crispy Fried Lentils – we wondered about that too. And since BIL is a wheat and lentil farmer – well, that has to be offered somewhere next Thanksgiving.http://uktv.co.uk/food/recipe/aid/515693Now, wth, is a curry leaf??

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