It’s ‘purée-gate’ on ‘Top Chef D.C.’
July 29th, 2010
01:12 PM ET

It’s ‘purée-gate’ on ‘Top Chef D.C.’

On last night's 'Top Chef,' there were claims of thievery in the kitchen. And with all of the trash talking, allegations of backstabbing and power grabs, it seemed like the chefs have really adapted to their surroundings.

Enter guest judge and politician, Illinois' 18th District Republican representative Aaron Schock. Schock will also now be referred to as congressman ‘McBoring.’ The most thrilling part about him is that he is the youngest congressman serving – that, and his ugly pastel shirt.

Schock introduced himself and filled the chefs in on the day’s Quickfire challenge. Being a congressman, he’s required to know professional ethics, with one rule being the congressional ‘toothpick rule.’

So, in true D.C. style, the chefs made hors d’oeuvers served on toothpicks, an homage to the rule allowing congressmen free food, as long as it’s on a toothpick.

While you might think less food equals less work, you'd be wrong. And to make matters worse, this challenge was a high-stakes Quickfire, with $20,000 and immunity on the line.

Landing in the top three was Kevin and his grilled pork and mushroom kabob; Angelo with his cucumber cup with spiced shrimp and cashew; and Stephen with his scallop and beef with crispy potato béarnaise sauce. In the bottom three, there was Alex and his scallops with crispy bacon; Ed and his duo of tuna; as well as Kelly, who also had scallops, but with watermelon and watermelon vinaigrette.

Did anyone catch Stephen’s eye-popping reaction to the judges? Right now, he’s my least favorite thus far. His constant chatter and blind optimism is grating – no pun intended. But perhaps being positive does work; Stephen made the top three in the Quickfire. Then again, he also lost $20,000 and immunity to Angelo’s winning cucumber cup with spiced shrimp, so… maybe not.

Now if being too positive is Stephen’s problem, Kevin is the exact opposite. If looks could kill, it’d be capitol murder for Kevin. Those side glances towards Angelo could’ve set the room on fire.

But there wasn't time for fighting as the cheftestants learned they would be making power-lunches at the iconic Palm restaurant in Washington, D.C the next day.

It was off to the market for the chefs - time to pick up some proteins, grab some veggies and to pontificate to the camera. Kevin, Kenny and Stephen let us know that they were going to win…which usually means they won’t.

And now for a list of things you should never say while being filmed for a reality show, inspired by Stephen: “I’ve got this,” “I’m going to win” and “this might be my day.” If reality TV was a cemetery and castoffs were dead, those lines would cover rows of tombstones.

But let’s move on to the elimination challenge, which was to create a power lunch for regulars at the Palm restaurant. This is also where our episode went from friendly to fierce.

As the chefs prepared their meals, Ed realized his English pea purée was missing, and the camera panned to Alex, who mysteriously had a ‘silky-smooth’ - as one chef described it - English pea purée.

Now, I’m not saying Alex took Ed’s pea purée. That would be silly. I didn’t see it, and we all know how reality TV can portray things… but something smelled fishy in that kitchen, and it wasn’t the salmon.

Nevertheless, Ed recovered and nearly made it big with his .Poached lobster ballotine eggplant caviar and English pea-asparagus fricassee. He was in the top three, along with Tiffany and her swordfish with olive-raisin tapenade and Alex, who made applewood smoked salmon to go with his English pea puree - and also ended up taking the win.

On to the bottom three, which included Andrea with her pan-seared swordfish; Kelly and her porterhouse with crispy potato and arugula salad; and Kevin with his double-cut lamb chops with olive and goat cheese.

While we may never know the fate of his pea purée, things shook out alright for Ed. What do you think? Did Ed just forget to pack his purée or did Alex take it? We know Alex is a liar for saying he didn’t know Ed made a pea purée, but is he a thief?

Also, who likes Dallas chef Tiffany Derry? She’s flown under the radar for a bit… do you think she could make it all the way? Who are your favorites to win?

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Filed under: television • Top Chef • TV recaps

soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. LD

    so funny that you make fun of Schock...calling him names.... i am sure you are a liberal who does not like him because he is a republican....he was much better than that horse face pelosi who is on later show.... i mean really, at least schock did not include a provision in the minimum wage bill that excluded US samoa from the raise in wages...why? because Samoa is the leading tuna processing and canning place and ironically pelosi's husband is a major investor in the tuna business....hummmm never hear of these things from the liberal i would rather have a boring guy with ethics than a 2faced, horse faced it november yet?.... oh and i am pulling for Ed. been to his restaurant and his food is amazing, not a sandwich shop like angelo.....

    August 25, 2010 at 7:43 pm | Report abuse |
  2. bryanD

    "Is there any footage of Alex making a pea puree the day before, or at the luncheon?"-Nedra

    Yes. At apx 28 minutes into the episode, Alex is mixing a pan of PARTIALLY pureed peas. Also, the PRE-pureed peas are seen on a stovetop at The Palm. (Ed's peas were supposedly pureed the day before. End of controversy)

    "And where is Ed's pea puree??"-Nedra

    I don't know. That would be akin to proving a negative proposition. I would guess that Ed eventually found them were he left them and maybe poured them in the trash and put a bunch of paper towels on top of them and rinsed the pan out real sneaky-like. Just a possibility.

    Also, think of it like this: Bravo likes drama. What is more dramatic: a pea puree mystery or Alex being busted and expelled from the show (or having to apologize to Ed on bended knee by order of Angry Tom?

    August 8, 2010 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  3. mike

    Any show that rewards dishonesty is not worth watching. I have lost respect for this show and will no longer be watching.

    August 7, 2010 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Nedra ?

    The night before Alex said he had no idea what to do with his salmon. Is there any footage of Alex making a pea puree the day before, or at the luncheon? And where is Ed's pea puree??

    August 1, 2010 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Inga

    It appears that someone did cook peas, as we did see on the footage. But, the issue is that Ed made his puree the day before, while Alex didn't make any puree the day before, as he just had his English peas. Alex stole the puree, and Ed wound up cooking plain English peas that Alex had intended to puree. Alex stole the puree and its all flying under the radar, which gave him and undeserved win off the back of Ed

    July 31, 2010 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
  6. sherry

    if you watch the footage – right after kenny talks about his lamb chops and right before they show angelo's cut finger, you see a pot with peas on the stove. So unless someone else made peas on the show – it looks like Alex did cook his peas and the puree them.

    July 30, 2010 at 11:59 pm | Report abuse |
  7. mickeba

    I am surprised Stephen is doing so poorly. Seablue, his restaurant at MGM Grand in Las Vegas is a classy, strong restaurant. I thought he'd be a top performer, as Vegas is such a great culinary city.


    July 30, 2010 at 11:15 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Annie

    I liked Andrea with her crooked face,she tried hard but just could not make a big impression. Maybe being on this show will generate business for her restaurant in Florida..Enjoying the show.

    July 30, 2010 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
  9. Frank

    The thing that is so greviously riddiculous with the "did he" or "didn't he" steal the puree idea is that the show's producers obviously know. They have cameras filming everything, they know what happened to it. But fanning controversy and stoking either rage or doubt out of its viewers is 100% manipulative story-telling. They know what happened, but they are going to tell the story the way they want to tell it, and it probably includes a good arc about this alex guy yet to play out.
    The whole over produced show is starting to grate on me.

    July 30, 2010 at 1:27 am | Report abuse |
    • JJ

      The show was definitely edited to infer that Alex stole the pea puree. My guess is that the issue will only be addressed in the reunion show after the season is finished.

      July 30, 2010 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
  10. Teresa

    Karma will come back to bite Alex in the butt if he really did steal the puree.

    July 29, 2010 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse |
  11. topcheffan

    I know the show occasionally tries to throw us, the viewer, a curveball - but I honestly thought Alex stole it. Alex had no idea what his dish was all about even after the first day prep. For him to not to have mentioned anything having to do with peas in the first half, and then magically have some puree already prepared and ready to go? I really think that if he stole it, he should be disqualified, or at the bare minimum, give back the win for that dish since the the judges raved mainly about the puree.

    If looks could kill, Alex would be one dead duck with all of the death-glares the other chefs were giving him! Especially after that win....

    July 29, 2010 at 7:43 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jim

    I do not think that the word "respect" belongs in the same sentence as "Senator"..

    July 29, 2010 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Lee D.

    Generally, in past top Chef seasons, when a contestant leaves something in the kitchen, they take a shot of it in the kitchen (as a "Uh-oh" moment.) They didn't take a shot of it, and they even went as so far to replay a lie that Alex said (about him not knowing he even made a puree.)

    Honestly, I think the Pea Puree was stolen.

    July 29, 2010 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
  14. jon

    I'll bet they failed to mention Mark Warner becasue the slob was seen talking with his mouth open!!

    July 29, 2010 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kellyb

      Have you ever tried talking WITHOUT opening your mouth? It's rather difficult...

      July 29, 2010 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
  15. WWJ

    You should probably – out of respect and proper etiquette – note that the man on the left of the photo at the top is Senator Mark Warner (D-VA). He was also a guest judge.

    July 29, 2010 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |

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