Monday, July 12, 2010

Top Chef DC Recap 4: Double Trouble

So far we've seen the consensus "worst chef in the competition" get eliminated, but this week we have a (dun-dun-dun) Double Elimination episode. Garth is hoping he keeps the rest of his team safe, lest his entire fantasy chef season go up in smoke.


Quickfire Challenge

As you may or may not know, both Tom and Padma have recently had children. This is also the reason that Padma is looking extremely, uh, bouncy this season. Apparently the producers have run out of ideas already this season, and decided to use the two co-hosts recent spawning as inspiration. The chefs are to make a dish with two versions: one for Mum and Dad, and one for junior. Um, sure! Padma and Tom will both pick their favorites, and those two people will each earn $10k. Arnold announces that he will donate the money to AIDs babies (seriously), while Alex announces that he will use the money on hookers and blow (seriously).

Quickfire Losers

Tim (Garthmeister J., -0.5): Garth must be seriously questioning his selection of Tim in the first round. Right now Tim has been nothing but an over-promising points sink. This time he overcooks his lamb, which is enough to earn a reprimand.

Alex (Saunter, -0.5): Alex, clearly excited about the prospect of spending ten grand on obtaining some feminine comfort as well as some Colombian Marching Powder to allow him to forget the pain and drudgery of his existence, has too much of a heavy hand with the spices. Sorry, Saunter.

Kevin (Saunter, -0.5): Saunter has a second team member betray her, and like Garth, it's her alleged top chef. Kevin's culinary crime was garnishing his dish with a nice pool of duck blood, which is considered unseemly by the judges.

Kelly (Garthmeister J., -0.5): Saunter isn't the only fantasy owner to be failed by two chefs in the Quickfire Challenge, as Garth is let down by both his first and second round draft picks. Kelly's pork is too bland, so I suppose she and Alex should have pooled their resources. Hell, they could have shared the blow.

Quickfire Finalists

Lynne (Gracie, +1): Despite moaning about her lack of offspring, making her feel ill-prepared for the challenge, Lynne wins points for her chicken breast with fruit compote, striking a blow for childless old people everywhere.

Angelo (All-Star, +1): No surprise to see Angelo on the podium, with his fenugreek-infused broth with seared tuna. He goes overboard with the presentation of the babyfood, cleverly taking advantage of the fact that babies love well presented purees. Wait, no they don't, that's insane. Nonetheless, his pandering to the judges pays off, once again. No, I'm not bitter at all.

Quickfire Winners

Tamesha (Daddy, +3): Finally Daddy's second round pick surfaces, impressing with her salmon and vegetable chowder. Perhaps Tamesha is yet to make some noise in this competition, despire her initial quiet.

Kenny (Gracie, +3): Another contestant used to the winner's circle, Kenny takes down $10,00 with his curried chicken with mango salad. More bragging rights in the continuing Kenny/Angelo feud, no doubt, though Gracie can be proud of her team's performance in the challenge.

Elimination Challenge

After lacking inspiration in the first challenge, the producers have a brainwave for the Elimination Challenge. The chefs divide themselves into pairs, and have to cook three dishes. The top two pairs at each point pass the challenge and stop cooking, while the bottom team after all three rounds (both chefs) will be eliminated. The first dish is breakfast, the second dish is lunch, and the third lunch is dinner... with the twist that it is meant to be targeted at Hilton guests (thankyou sponsors!). Featuring amongst the judges are DC-area locals (and former Top Chef contestants) Spike, Brian Voltaggio, and Mike I. There is a quick frenzy to pick partners, and with that, we're off!

Due to the slightly different format of the competition, we will be awarding 2 points to each chef who is part of a winning pair, 6 points to each chef who is part of the winning dish, and -1 point to each chef in one of the final bottom pairs, whether they were eliminated or not. Got that? No? Too bad!

Elimination Challenge Finalists: 1st Round

Stephen (Gracie, +2) and Amanda (All-Star, +2): Stephen and Amanda appeared to be chefs no one wanted to pair with. When I saw Amanda paired with Stephen, my first thought was "kiss of death", having no faith in that man's ability to cook. Was I wrong? Absolutely, as the underdogs come out swinging, being one of the first pairs to be released for their tasty breakfast. Will this be a springboard for Stephen for further greatness? I say no.

Tiffany (Saunter, +2) and Tim (Garthmeister J., +2): Should Garth take solace from this effort by Tim? No. Pretty clearly Tiffany regarded Tim as the weak link in the pair, and she needed to pull him through. She was successful in her efforts, but this does not look good for Garth. Saunter can be encouraged that though her top two picks have been disappointing, she may have a genuine sleeper in Tiffany.

Elimination Challenge Finalists: 2nd Round

Angelo (All-Star, +2) and Tamesha (Daddy, +2): The only shock with this pair was that they weren't on top in the first round. Another thing to watch was that Angelo chose Tamesha as his partner. It seems that Angelo wouldn't mind sharing his secret sauce with the young chef, but I find it hard to believe that lust alone would make Angelo choose a weak chef to pair with.

Alex (Saunter, +2) and Ed (Daddy, +2): OK, how did this team come together? Previously in this season Ed has sounded off on Alex, so I can only imagine that that footage was taken after this challenge. They managed to screw the pooch royally in the first round, not getting their hollandaise to the plate, and also forgetting to plate a major component of their brekky. Despite these mis-steps these kitchen bitches hug it out, metaphorically at least, and save their own bacon at lunch.

Elimination Challenge Winners

Kelly (Garthmeister J., +6) and Andrea (Daddy, +6): These two ladies get their act together, and avoid going home. Despite underperforming in the first two rounds their Braised beef short rib, chevre-scented polenta, roasted shiitake mushrooms and citrus gremolata was enough for them to take down top honours for the Elimination Challenge.

Elimination Challenge Losers

Kenny (Gracie, -1) and Kevin (Saunter, -1): I am not sure how Kenny wasn't able to muscle his way through earlier. Of interest was that we saw a lot of footage of Kenny and Kevin adding horseradish to their braised beef short rib. Kevin was complaining that Kenny kept adding horseradish to the dish though he thought there was enough. The judges' main complaint? Not enough horseradish. Sorry Saunter, Kevin sucks.


Arnold (All-Star, -1) and Lynne (Gracie, -1): Arnold. Arnold, Arnold, Arnold. This promising chef is finally taken down by Lynne, from the Culinary Institute. Lynne claims to know how to cook fresh pasta, despite Arnold's repeated pleading for them to get it cooking. Alas it fell on deaf ears, and pineapple red curry mussels with squid ink pasta is the last dish they serve in this competition. All-Star must be gutted, know that his sleeper has gone out in such ignominious fashion.


Points Table

Daddy: 14.5 (+13)
All-Star: 14 (+4)
Gracie: 8 (+5)
Garth: 5.5 (+7)
Saunter: 0.5 (+2)

Daddy has a monster week, striking big with all three of his chefs, and is staking his claim to the title. Garth also did well, with Kelly doing all the heavy-lifting, but unless Tim lifts his game, he is going to be in trouble. Gracie lost one of her weaker chefs, and right now her hopes lie with Kenny. All-Star still has two quality chefs, but lost his looming sleeper. Saunter has all three chefs remaining, and maybe looking to Tiffany to bring her glory. These next few weeks are going to be important, as the competition starts to sort itself out. Stay hungry, my friends!


  • I have to say while I do not watch the show I REALLY like your recaps of the contest. Excellent writing.

    By Blogger SirFWALGMan, at 12:20 PM  

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