Top Chef DC: Episode 10

With the absence of Kenny shaking the house to its foundation, we have 7 cheftestants left.  Where will this take us?  Is there another stupid government related pun to be had?  You know the producers of the show too well … the other 9 episodes are here

Pregame: Well, what did YOU think it would be?  Alex is the talk of the house – even if he doesn’t get it.  Kenny, one of the most respected guys among the group (whether or not that is warranted – his ouster was a fair outcome) is gone while the least respected remains.

Quickfire: Padma is there, and so is Wylie Dufresne!  Wylie of course is known for molecular gastronomy and general culinary weirdness – so he asks the chefs to prepare a dish using what is in this mystery box.  Apparently to further muddy things, more mystery boxes would appear during the quickfire, and the cheftestants will need to incorporate THOSE into the dish as well.  Yup, thinking on your feet here we go.  The first box is fish, some fava beans, and … a can of hominy.  Weird!  Plus the quickfire winner gets $10,000 – Angelo says his fiancee is in Russia so this money could help bring her over.  (mail order bride?  huh??!!)  Tiffany expresses worry – and the foreshadowing monster appears – or the misdirection appears.  Who knows?

Anyway, more baskets – squid and black garlic … then ramps and passionfruit – last box jicama.  Overall, this is a very muddled basket – like Chopped but from hell.  At the end of the forty five minutes Wylie goes in and tastes.  The struggles were with Alex’s (of course) – just all over the place while Amanda, as usual, made technical mistakes.  The winner – Tiffany’s stew, which of course is a good way to mix all these weird ingredients.  She has been a rising phoenix here for sure.

Elimination: It’s too much to count on Top Chef to use DC other than a prop – the gimmick relates to the spy community – taking a classic dish and “disguise”.  They will serve at the CIA and CIA chief Leon Panetta (noted food authority, gag) – of course the CIA is at Langley, which is in … Virginia!  Sigh!  Anyway, the chefs draw knives to see what the classic dish they have is:  Tiffany – Gyro, Alex – Veal Parmesan, Angelo – Beef Wellington, Amanda – French Onion Soup, Ed – Chicken Cordon Bleu, Kevin – Cobb Salad, Kelly – Kung Pao Chicken.  So of course, we get our Whole Foods product placement and crap.  Angelo is paralyzed, like he was in the quickfire – his emotions per usual are muddled.  Kelly is worried in that she has never had Kung Pao before, so she has to manufacture a taste memory.  If you ask me, the Gyro is the easiest superstar here … the rest are meh and veal freaks me out.  The winner gets a trip to Paris.

In the kitchen there is a lot muddled about.  Angelo buys puff pastry (hey, didn’t that knock out a contestant already?) for the Wellington faux.  He really has no good frame of mind here.  Alex’s idea is actually really good, putting the parm into a tortellini.  But he always has good ideas that suck because he can’t cook.  Amanda is making a fancier soup – which seems to miss the point.  Tiffany is doing a leg of lamb.  Kelly makes her Kung Pao as a soup but with rice, but her rice ends up wildly overcooking – but Tiffany helps her out and calms her down.  Tiffany is pretty nice – willing to help wanting to win fairly and all.  Anyway …

The Service: The room in CIA land where they eat is pretty cool.  Panetta looks like a troll, and of course he has to leave for a real situation.  The judges love Tiffany’s dish, and Kelly’s soup.  Alex’s veal is good conceptually, but the tortellini is a rock and he screwed up the veal.  Other than that, great right?  Similarly, Amanda’s soup is not valued – and Angelo’s puff pastry emotional meltdown does not go without derision.

Judgment: It comes down to Tiffany and Kelly really, though Ed’s chicken was also valued.  The winner … Tiffany with her second daily double!  She is a serious contender.  As for packing their knives, it comes down to Angelo, Amanda and Alex.  Angelo seemed terrible, but somehow the body of work might survive this.  As it turns out … the veal balls cannot survive.  Alex is gone.  Six chefs left, 5 realistic win candidates, though Amanda has done positive things this season – she could shock – but I doubt it.


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