Top Chef Recap
By David Mumpower and Kim Hollis
July 14, 2010
The novel contestant this year is Lynne, for two reasons. The first is that she is a teacher at the Culinary Institute of America. Because of this, you figure she's one of the toughest contestants since it's likely that she trains people like the ones we see on the show. She's also 51, which is tough since this show generally is a showcase for younger chefs.
Of course, the real story this season, is Angelo, who won the first three challenges on the show, establishing himself as the clear frontrunner. Along the way, he also has developed a feud with Kenny, as every great hero needs a villain. Angelo actually sandbagged an elimination challenge in a sloppy attempt to get Kenny voted out. This was in Episode 2 of a 14 episode season. He's just that brash. Angelo reminds us of previous winner Hung, except Hung at least had the excuse of being very young. At the age of 34, Angelo just seems like a jerk.
Just as time runs out, Kevin is unable to complete his dish. He's terribly disappointed, because he has a baby on the way himself and really wanted to excel in the challenge. Also troublesome is Tom's obvious disgust when he sees that Kevin couldn't finish the dish.
As far as disappointing dishes, Tom mentions that Timothy overcooked his lamb (for the adults). At this point, Timothy appears to be a middling contestant, and possibly near the bottom, with regards to this year's contenders. Also, there will be no hookers for Alex, as his puree is just too herbaceous and watery. Padma's recent pregnancy has her being much more picky than in previous seasons, and anything less than appetizing seems to agitate her more than it had in the past. She confirms that Kevin is in the bottom group, with a pool of blood that grosses her out. Then, she mentions Kelly's dish, which was flavorless - not a good thing for a chef. Also, Padma found a lemon seed in Kelly's baby food, an unpardonable dish.
At the top are Lynne, who had a well-flavored dish that also broke down nicely for baby food. Tom also likes Tamesha's dishes, which had a baby puree with texture and really tasty licorice oil. Tamesha had commented that she had some experience cooking for a younger sibling, and it translated to this competition. Padma chooses Angelo, who uses something called fenugreek, which, we won't lie, we had to google. Apparently, fenugreek significantly increases the volume of breast milk, making it a genius move on his part. She also likes Kenny's dish, which incorporated bulgar wheat and translated nicely to baby food. Kenny's disgust at Angelo being at the top with him quickly dissipates when Kenny is selected as one of the two winners, along with Tamesha (chosen by Padma and Tom, respectively).
The contestants move quickly on to the Elimination Challenge, which has them designing healthy dishes that would fit well on the menu o the Hilton Hotel. The winning dish will appear on the menu of the D.C. hotel. This challenge is highly unusual in that it is a tiered, tournament-style competition. The contestants are divided into pairs, and they have to start by creating a breakfast dish. Two teams will be safe after that round, and the remaining teams go on to the "lunch" portion of the contest. Again, two contestants will be chosen as "safe" once lunch is complete. Finally, three teams will cook for their lives for the dinner portion of the competition, and one team will be eliminated. That's right. Two people are going home on tonight's episode. Frankly, this seems like a good thing as the contestants are rough enough this season that the show could afford to get rid of some lower level folks.