Top Chef Recap

By Jason Lee

June 30, 2010

I think 2 pounds of sugar makes for a healthy child's diet. Otherwise, you're feeding kids gruel.

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We're back in DC for the second episode of Top Chef season 7. When we last left you, Hot Angelo had swept both the Quickfire and the Elimination Clannege of the series premiere, with the kooky, hippie John going home for a maple syrup dessert that curiously lacked any taste of maple syrup.

So who's going to step up this episode? Will Hot Angelo and Kenny merely solidify their positions as the favorites to win this season, or will someone else emerge to challenge the domination they showed?

For this Quickfire, we're joined by Sam Kass, the assistant White House chef. Padma notes that a successful government is a bi-partisan one (unlike the current climate, my boyfriend wryly notes) and as such, we're going to have a bi-partisandwich Quickfire. Much laughter ensues.

Cheftestants will be paired up by a knife draw to collaborate on a single sandwich dish. They'll have 30 minutes to create their dish . . . which leaves many cheftestants scratching their heads. That's an awful long time for two people to make one sandwich.

So, of course, there's a twist. Padma pulls out dual red-blue aprons, big enough to fit two people. Aha, each pair will be fit into a single apron, only able to use a single hand during the entire challenge. Quite the collaborative hurdle, eh?

Hot Angelo has a sandwich shop back in NYC and thinks it would be embarrassing to lose this challenge. He gets paired up with Tracy, who reminds me of Rosie O'Donnell. She confesses that she's thrilled to be paired up with Hot Angelo, getting to spend 30 minutes with her arm around him, because she has a little crush on the guy. Yeah, too bad he's gay.


For the second Top Chef episode in a row, I'm extremely uncomfortable watching the knives fly. With cheftestants pressed for time, they're trying to cut things up entirely too fast and I feel certain that I'm about to see a lost finger or two.

Finally, the pairs finish up and Sam and Padma start sampling the dishes. There don't seem to be too many out-and-out flops, but Sam identifies the pairs of Stephen/Jacqueline (who lacked creativity) and Lynn/Tiffany (unappetizing texture) as the bottom two.

On top, we have Angelo/Tracy with a flounder sandwich with sriracha, and Kenn/Ed with Korean chili-rubbed ahi tuna sandwich. Sam awards the win to Angelo/Tracy due to their bright and lively flavors. Angelo is thrilled and Kenny is utterly pissed.

On to the Elimination Challenge. The cheftestants will be taking on a cause that's extremely important to both the President and the First Lady: childhood obesity. They will be cooking nutritious (but delicious) school lunches for 50 kids, but they will only be allowed $134 total for their budget ($2.68 per child), working under the same budget constraints that typical public schools endure.

Cheftestants will work in teams of four, and will need work together to make a main course, some side dishes and a dessert. Each chef will be judged individually on the dish they make. As the winning pair, Hot Angelo and Tracy get to pick which pair they'd like to work with. After consulting with each other, they pick Kenny and Ed. With both Angelo and Kenny on the same team, there should be no reason why they end up in the bottom. On the other hand, Angelo and Tracy have immunity, so it's really only Kenny and Ed that are vulnerable…

The other chefs decide amongst themselves who they'd like to work with before heading off to Restaurant Depot to shop. Well, to budget shop. Every single team walks up to the checkout counter with WAY too many items on their cart. In particular, Jacqueline gets the short end of the stick, getting only $14 worth of ingredients for her chocolate-turned-banana pudding.

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