The next morning, upon entering the Top Chef GE Conveyor Belt Kitchen, the six remaining cheftestants find Padma standing with regular judge Emeril Lagasse and this episode's guest judge Cat Cora. Cat is there for one reason only: to plug her upcoming Bravo show, Around the World in 80 Plates. Her co-star will be creepy Aussie Curtis Stone, so it's a safe bet I will not be watching that hot mess. Anyhoo...once they get the plug in, the challenge begins.
And what's with Padma's...dress? She looks to be wearing one of Larry the Cable Guy's shirts.
On to the Elimination Challenge. Padma immediately breaks up the teams and tells them they will now be competing head-to-head. Or as they say in Spanish, cabeza a cabeza. Not to be confused with calabaza a calabaza, although, some cheftestants' heads are, at times, quite indistinguishable from pumpkins.
Each pair will choose a dish appropriate to serve to 200 people at a block party and each half of that pair will prepare his or her own version of that dish. The chefs pow-wow and Ed and Paul decide to make Korean short ribs, or kal bi. Lindsay and Sarah settle on meatballs. And Squints and Grayson go for chicken salad. And then Padma throws them a twist - they have to make diet versions of their chosen dish, because this challenge is sponsored by
Groans all around, mostly from me.
The chefs get 2.5 hours to prep their dishes at the Culinary Institute of America kitchen. Squinty reveals that he's making a tofu-based sauce for his salad, and people will never believe it's not mayonnaise! And I'll never believe that statement! Paul is using ground turkey for his kal bi, which he will be serving ssam style with lettuce wraps. Ed, for some odd reason, despite this being a Healthy Choice challenge, is going with traditional beef short ribs. Now, we all know that the whole reason short ribs are so delicious is because they are fatty and full of cholesterol. Instead of the traditional rice accompaniment, full of empty calories, he's making...steamed buns. But hey! They're homemade steamed buns! And...steamed buns are so trendy! That's using your calabaza!
Ed, I'm thinking you know as much about healthy food as Paula Deen. Allow me to enlighten you. The packaged low-cal food industry would have us believe that "healthy" food involves boneless skinless chicken breast, Special K, no salt, and a lot of onion powder - guaranteed to stink up the microwave in your workplace kitchenette without adding any actual flavor to the dish.
After packing up their shit, the cheftestants head to their outdoor venue, which is 105F in the shade and infested with bees. Squinty no like bees and says if a couple of them zap him, he'll swell up like the Sta-Puft Marshmallow Man. Part of me wants to see that. Part of me is also terrified of bees.
The judges do the rounds and declare Paul's lettuce-wrapped turkey to be simply delicious, and impressive in that he built layers of flavor without using fat. Ed's meat, on the other hand, was tough and chewy. [Insert joke here.] The chicken salad chefs were meh and more meh. Grayson's didn't have a lot of flavor, but she did make her sandwiches to order, while Squinty's bread had dried out from sitting in the heat and his tofu mayo didn't impress anyone. Plus, his sandwiches were covered in bee poop. Then the Meatball Girls came up to bat. Lucky for them, both Lindsay's and Sarah's balls o' ground protein were fine and dandy. Predictably, Cat Cora raved over Lindsay's Greek-ish balls.
Bet he'll have lots of date offers when he gets back home.
Posted on Minxeats.com.
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