Top Chef DC: Episode 12

Only 3 episodes left.  The past can be found here.  Really at this point, with Amanda’s ouster an episode ago, the last true unjustifiable choice is gone.  Really the Top 5 can all win this.  To wit, a quick run through:

Angelo: The chefs all see him as the big threat.  He is the most talented and refined chef – his best is THE best in the competition, especially in the fancy pants ways that foodies love.  Of course, he is totally insane, capable of folding when any sort of adversity strikes – and did I say he is serially weird?

Ed: Ah, the Masshole.  He has had a couple of great days.  He is a very solid choice, and has shown a lot of versatility.  He is steady where Angelo is completely loopy – his ceiling is a little lower, but he is the probability guy here.

Tiffany: We love her.  Great personality, food has been good, and she wants to win the right way (helping others who  are struggling and whatnot).  She and Ed are whom I got the pom poms out for.

Kelly: We like seeing women win in general in such a patriarchal profession.  Kelly has been solid – not a favorite, she has not won as much as the others.  She has even been in trouble on occasion – but she is clearly one of the Top 5 here.

Kevin: A bit more refined than Kelly.  He got off to a slow start too, but he deserves to be here.  He has had trouble getting to the top, but he has done a solid job avoiding the bottom.

The Quickfire: Admirably gimmick free this time – they have a series of wines, they pick one and try to cook something that creates a strong pair.  This is blocking and tackling I’d think – though Tiffany seemed a little worried.  Anyway – Kevin and Kelly have issues (Kevin with the pairing, Kelly with the dish) and Angelo gets the victory.  Really this was not memorable aside from the winner getting a trip to London.

Elimination: Theme is NASA and they’ll serve at Goddard.  The winning meal would be frozen as a space meal (or adapted in some form or another) – and the prize is a .  The chefs really have no gimmicky limitations.  This is sort of their chance to put their best foot forward, as the final four qualify for the finale in … Singapore.  Buzz Aldrin – the opposite of Neil Armstrong in terms of fame hogging – is the guest of honor.  The prep is fairly standard, with cooking, shopping, Chef Tom dropping by, Kelly describing her love of Space Camp.  The only worry is Tiffany, wanting to use mussels in her sauce, freezes the mussels for the next day and then discovering they froze solid and thus unusable.  A fridge malfunction!

Service: The guest judge this week is the great Anthony Bourdain, who besides being a World Traveler (yes, they said that under his name on the graphic) has a serious bromance going with Eric Ripert.  Alas, those who know him for his bluntness and fire and brimstone would be disappointed.  Mostly this was due to the fact that the 5 chefs all did really really well.  Everything got plaudits except for Tiffany’s dish which seemed to have some small issues, with the sauce and her choice of peppers.  Bourdain is better to have earlier in the season, when some of the food is legitimately lousy.

Kelly: Pan roasted halibut with artichoke and fennel something or other … not sure how that would freeze

Ed: Yogurt marinated rack of lamb.  Wow, I almost typed lack of ramb!  Not sure how you’d deal with the bone – but Bourdain loved the flavor.  Ripert was less impressed – I was waiting for them to make out.

Kevin: NY Strip.  He wanted to do something the astronauts would be used to.  A good idea for sure, although not sure the dish would translate that well in freeze dry land.

Tiffany: Pan-seared halibut.  The sauce impresses, but the components were only received meh-ly.

Angelo: Ginger-lacquered short rib.  Always the fancypants, and the judges were impressed, though they thought it might have been a touch sweet.  Bourdain loved all the dishes, which as said above was a bummer.

The Winner: Angelo got the car – wow.  He was so worried too.

Elimination: As you can judge from above – Tiffany got the axe.  The first time I was upset at an elimination – I mean she deserved it maybe, but she was the 2nd best guy on my list of the 5 and she is not in the finale.  Ed is the only real rootable guy left.

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