Top Chef Recap: Advantage Chef
|Written by Lauren Cheal|
|Saturday, 08 January 2011 14:34|
After last week’s double elimination, the chefs head out to a bar to kick off this week’s episode. People are very sad that Dale L. is gone, but no one mentions Stephen (he seemed out of his league for this show).
Quickfire: (45 minutes)
The special guest for the quickfire is Italian chef Tony Mantuano. This is not someone I have heard of before. The chefs have to make stuffing for the challenge, and Tiffani points out that stuffing is very regional and is even more specific than that, as it comes down to the household making it. The show lamely calls this the “Swanson Chicken Broth Great Stuffing Debate”. Each chef must convince Padma and Tony that their stuffing is the best. For an added twist, the chefs will not get to use knives or kitchen tools. I am envisioning lots of hammering at foods with hands, but we’ll see what happens. The winner will receive immunity AND $20,000. That is pretty awesome for a quickfire challenge.
The innovative ways we see chefs making food with out tools include Richard using a can lid as a spoon (how did he separate the lid from the can, I wonder?), and Fabio grating cheese on a rack that holds pots and pans. There is a lot of banging things with pots and Carla uses a celery stalk to stir something. Other chefs are trying to slice things with the edges of plates and it is fairly ineffective.
Spike: Spike goes for a stuffed quail with herbs and raisins…it sounds rather traditional.
Jaime: Stuffing Crepinette with Pork, Lemon Oil, Broth. This one looks like a sausage, I guess.
Tre: Southwestern stuffing with bacon, cheddar, bell pepper and chili powder.
Dale T.: Spanish influenced stuffing with crab, oysters, chili lemon aioli, grapes, olives.
Richard: Pressure cooked onion with nitro fried fennel, raisins and pine nuts. That does not sound appetizing, and the dish kind of looks like a slug.
Marcel: Marcel went with a “whole squab (aka pidgeon, just if you weren’t sure), with a raisin brioche, cherries, currants, and other stuff in there stuffing. To long on the names, as always, Marcel!
Fabio: Polenta bread, vegetables, smoked bacon and parmesan. I don’t know if Fabio has ever had traditional stuffing, but this doesn’t sound anything like it.
Tiffani: Soy maple stuffing with quail, grilled mushrooms and quartered grapes. We have an early candidate for Noise of the Week with this soy maple thing, but I am hesitant to hand it out this early. We will have to see.
Casey: Casey goes for an asian take on stuffing with her Mushrooms with Crispy Chicken Liver, Miso Cake and Mushroom Dashi.
Hootie (Carla): Thai Vegetable Stuffing with Quinoa- Carla knows that her quinoa is undercooked right out of the gate.
The three chefs that got left out of the quickfire rundown are Tiffany, Angelo and Mike. I guess they were neither good nor bad.
Bottom 3: Carla (undercooked quinoa), Tiffani (way too sweet), and Casey (hers didn’t come off as a stuffing at all).
Top 2: Tre, and Marcel are the only two who get called into the top this week.
Tre wins it! He tells us that he has two daughters and that anyone who has girls knows how expensive they are. My parents would agree (and I thank them for the awesome Christmas again!). Tre freaks out like Miss America winning the big tiara, and it is fun to see how excited he is.
Elimination Challenge: The cheftestants will be cooking at the U.S. Open and they are split into two teams by pulling different colored tennis balls out of Top Chef tennis ball cans. The teams will serve dishes fir for the athletes (high energy, healthy) back and forth and each round will have a winner. There is apparently strategy involved.
Orange Team: Carla, Richard, Antonia, Dale, Mike, Marcel, Fabio
Carla chops off a good chunk of her finger during the prep stages, but continues working. There are many comments from other chefs about how Jamie left in the second episode to get her finger stitched up
Yellow Team: Tiffany, Tiffani, Angelo, Tre, Spike, Jamie, Casey
Spike and his ridiculous hair decide to put their weakest dish up first against the Orange team’s (presumably) strongest dish. In all of her interviews, Jamie seems very over being there and when there is drama about who should go first, she just doesn’t want to go at all because her chickpeas aren’t cooked right.
I will break down the head to head matchups below.
Fabio: Whole Wheat Gnocchi with Pork Loin, Ragout etc
Casey: Grilled Pork Tenderloin Salad with Farro (if it weren’t for the title cards I would have called this “Pharroh”, such is its pronunciation), Cherries etc.
Fabio takes this one with his lighter take on gnocchi. Casey’s is accused of being heavy.
Dale: Edamame Dumpling, Spicy Carrot Froth etc
Tiffani: Sashimi of Black Bass, Avocado and Ponzu Vinaigrette
Tiffani’s lighter bass takes it, but both are strong dishes.
Marcel: Cauliflower Couscous with pomegranate seeds, golden raisins and tuna
Angelo: Smoked Tuna, Yuzu Gelee (god bless you!), Red Onions and Capers
The judges say that Marcel’s dish got overpowered with cream and give the win to Angelo. Marcel snittily (but humorously) comments about how it is ridiculous it is that Angelo plates everything on a damn spoon. Point, Marcel.
Antonia: Scallop, Indian Lentil Puree, Mint, Dandilion Greens, Cilantro and Chives
Tiffany: Spiced Tuna with Fennel, Peppercorns, Coriander Seeds and Lentil Salad
It is a fairly close race, but Antonia wins in the end.
Richard: “Thai-Bouleh” with Lamb, Herbs and Yogurt.
Spike: Tomato tamarind soup, olive oil poached shrimp, pineapple, tomatoes, dill.
Spike is really annoying during this episode. He talks a ton about his team’s stupid strategy, and then blames people not following that strategy for their loss. He also lets Angelo add some of his Yuzu Gelee to Spike’s dish, but then claims that he didn’t actually want to do that (the footage doesn’t show him disagreeing or anything).
Richard wins in a unanimous vote, and the critcism of Spike’s dish is just that the shrimp is not good (nothing to do with the Yuzu Gelee Angelo added).
Carla: African Groundnut Soup, with Baked Sweet Potatoes, Adzuki Beans and Peanuts.
Tre: Coho Salmon, Parsnip Puree, Olive Oil Sauce with Citrus, Tomatoes and Olives.
Carla wins for her spicy soup—and the Orange Team wins the match.
Top 4: Fabio, Carla, Richard, Antonia
The winner will get a trip to Italy, which is pretty awesome. The top four all get high praise, and Carla comes out as the winner (for a soup that her team had no confidence in). She also wins a gigantic bottle of white wine, which is hilarious.
Bottom 4: Spike, Tiffany, Tre, Casey
Spike gives a bunch of excuses for his dish not being great, but the judges just say that his shrimp sucked. Tiffany’s dish had no finish, Tre’s fish was oily (and he kind of phoned it in, they think). Casey’s dish is criticized for being heavy, and she gets a little bit up in Padma’s face to say that it was supposed to be hearty.
Going home is…..Spike.
I am not too broken up about that one, it did seem like maybe Jaime should have gone home, but the team didn’t force her to go up, and she wasn’t up for elimination. Spike and his many excuses and his ridiculous hair is the next best thing.