July 8th, 2010
12:15 PM ET
In the grand tradition of reality TV, you can go from top of the pack to the bottom of the heap in a flash.
So with a double elimination on the horizon, all of the cheftestants knew it was either aim for that top spot or risk getting the boot.
But aside from a double elimination, “Top Chef” got personal this week. A Quickfire challenge focused on hosts Tom and Padma’s new infants had the chefs cooking up great food and then pureeing it into baby mush.
We also got some personal stories from the chefs. Kevin has a baby on the way; Angelo has a young son at home; and on the sad side, we find out that Kenny was left to raise his daughter after his wife was killed in a car crash. Oh, and Lynne has no idea what babies like.
But nerves be damned, it’s a high-stakes Quickfire with two winners and $10,000 dollars for each on the line.
The top four boiled down to Lynne, Angelo, Tamesha and Kenny, but in the end it was Tamesha’s salmon with vegetable chowder and lobster stock, Thai basil and licorice oil that earned a win, with the second going to Kenny for his curried chicken, mango salad and butternut squash confit with maitake mushrooms.
Timothy and his sauteed lamb with mushrooms and shallots; Kelly’s roast pork loin with grilled peaches and ginger; and Alex’s duck with spinach, basil and mushroom all ended up on the bottom, along with Kevin.
For all of his talk, Kevin can never seem to produce the dish he wants. In the Quickfire, Padma said she could hardly eat his pan-seared duck with baby carrots with all of the duck-blood pooling at the bottom of his plate.
But in fact, most of these chefs talk a lot of smack, and are having trouble backing it up. The usual suspects are Kevin and Steven, Lynne, Alex and Tim, but I’m going to leave out smack-talkers Kenny and Angelo, because those guys can cook.
Right after the Quickfire, it was time for the elimination round and oddly, the Top Chef knife block wasn't there for this doubles challenge.
The chefs were tasked with creating breakfast, lunch and dinner courses for the Hilton menu, and had to battle it out in three rounds. All teams had to cook a breakfast, but two winning teams from each meal got to sit out subsequent rounds, whittling down the competition until the losing teams were facing off in the last round.
The chefs also had to cook for former cheftestants and judges Mike Isabell, Bryan Voltaggio, Spike Mendelsohn, who were joined by Beth Scott of Hilton Hotels, Nora Pouillon of restaurant nora, Tom, Padma and returning judge Eric Ripert.
Team Amanda and Steven put together a breakfast that kept them out of the lunch round, and Tiffany and Tim also pulled off a winning combination with their crab cake eggs benedict and asparagus and bacon potato hash.
In the lunch round, Alex and Ed’s sea scallops with ricotta gnudi and broccoli rabe earned them a win, and Angelo and Tamesha were also safe with their slivers of beef with a jicama-asian pear salad.
The dinner round was the elimination round, which Andrea and Kelly ended up winning after the judges loved their glazed short ribs.
It seems the handmade squid ink pasta that Lynne kept saying had to be cooked just right was not cooked “just right,” and that’s what ultimately sent her and Arnold packing.
Anyone besides me think Lynne threw Arnold under the bus? Shouldn’t a cooking instructor know how to cook pasta? Discuss!
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