Top Chef Recap

By David Mumpower and Kim Hollis

July 14, 2010

They can't even get along in the picture.

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Immediately upon teaming up, the different contestants seem to start thinking about how their partner has been doing so far in the competition. Those who are linked with people who have been on the bottom, such as Tiffany is with Timothy, are paranoid from the beginning. This also makes her highly motivated and correctly insecure, making this turn of events a mixed blessing.

Remember earlier when we mentioned the greatness of the chefs from Season 6? Well, the chefs from this season walk into the kitchen to find two chefs from last season, Mike Isabella and Bryan Voltaggio, the loser of the two brothers in the finale. Also, Spike Mendelsohn , most recently seen trying to peddle himself as "Spike - like Madonna" on Iron Chef America, is present. Best of all, we have regular judge Eric Ripert, whose presence this season has been the strongest aspect of the show. As arguably the most respected chef in the Western hemisphere, his opinions are informed and his critiques are valid, yet he still manages to be oddly sweet and encouraging no matter how disappointed he is in a particular dish.

The challenge is constructed in such a way that as each round progresses, the contestants who still have to compete become more and more freaked out about whether they can win the next round or be voted out in the end. The breakfast round has Alex and Ed presenting a prosciutto potato cake, egg with lemon pancake and bellini cocktail. These two guys had a huge problem with plating, failing to add one of their ingredients and later on realizing that they also neglected to put cake on one or more of the plates. For what it's worth, Alex specifically blames Ed, fairly or not.

Angelo and Tamesha make an egg, bacon and cheddar broth. Tamesha comments that she has actually eaten a similar meal at Volt, Bryan's restaurant, and is confident she has cooked it just as he would. Immediately, the editing proves her cruelly wrong, as Bryan comments that the egg is overdone (and so do several of the other judges).


Arnold and Lynne's dish is a tortilla espanola with chorizo and bacon, along with an olive-pear salad and papas bravas. You can tell they're in a little bit of trouble when the hotel representative queries them on if they would plate it better if they had put more thought into it. The food isn't bad, but it's not overly impresive, either.

Next up are Kenny and Kevin, who have made a poached egg on herb brioche, prosciutto, manchego and Spanish olive tapenade. The dish is poorly received, with Spike saying it has no texture and Tom commenting that too much is going on. Then we have Amanda & Stephen with their poached egg, pancetta, potato rosti and grape ragout with hollandaise. Everyone seems to like their bacon. If we've learned nothing else from Top Chef, it's that the best dish you can prepare is Bacony bacon with a side of bacon.

Andrea and Kelly have made a bacon, cheddar and wheat waffle, poached egg and mango and a lime and mint yogurt smoothie. Overall, the dish has some problems, from the waffle being too heavy to the smoothie being too sweet. Tiffany and Timothy bring out a crab cake eggs benedict and asparagus and bacon potato hash in hollandaise. The judges generally like the dish, but feel it doesn't even really need the hash.

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