Top Chef Recap
By Kim Hollis and David Mumpower
July 15, 2010
Eric deems Andrea's garlic and five spice-rubbed grilled pork loin with shallot-apple balsamic jus to be delicious, and Padma notes that Kelly's five spice-roasted apples and roasted beets compliment it perfectly.
Moving on to Angelo and Tamesha's partnership, the judges generally like Angelo's ginger grilled duck breast with oregano honey. There's not a lot of flavor in Tamesha's cherry compote, red wine balsamic vinaigrette and grilled asparagus salad, though.
Alex has served up provencal beef tenderloin with ratatouille (Remy!) and although Eric finds the quality of the meat to be exceptional, Eric doesn't like that they stuffed the meat with the ratatouille. Finally, Kelly's "extra credit" dessert of strawberry rhubarb crisp with basil scented whipped cream is terrific, and admire that she took a chance by even making the dish. The easiest way to tell that the crisp is yummy? Eric Ripert cleaned his entire plate.
At Judges Table, Padma asks to see Kenny, Kevin, Andrea and Kelly. They were the judges' favorite dishes of the evening. Tom asks Kevin if he was happy working with vegetables or if he would have rather worked with a protein, and Kevin says that he appreciated the challenge presented by working with vegetables exclusively. Padma compliments Kenny's curry, saying it had a nice spike. Tom points out that Padma's opinion on this topic is a huge, big deal because she's a bit of a connoisseur of curries.
Andrea and Kelly's pork tenderloin is called a rustic, pleasant surprise, and once again, the judges give kudos to Kelly for doing the dessert.
Patrick gets to announce the winner, and he says the dish that takes the prize is striking in its clarity and balanced with its accompanying dish. Kenny's eggplant is the winner, and Kenny takes this moment to a call himself "the Beast" (note: Beast in the Kitchen t-shirts now available for sale in the Bravo store). We enjoy watching Angelo's face way too much here.
How is it stacking up between these two frontrunners so far? Angelo has won one Quickfire on his own, won one with Tracy (so it was like winning one on his own), and one Elimination Challenge. Kenny has won one Quickfire Challenge on his own, was a co-winner along with Tamesha, and has won one Elimination Challenge. The only other person with multiple wins is Kelly, although she has been part of a team in both instances. The only remaining contestants to win something on their own are...well, Ed. The editing this season may have overplayed the Angelo/Kenny feud to date, but the performances almost justify it. It's the equivalent of the Boston Rob/Russell feud on Survivor, right down to having a hero and a villain (yes, we know that Rob was a "villain" too).
The bottom three candidates are Tim, Amanda and Stephen. Tim says he had wanted to do a mouseline with his turnips, but talked himself out of it. Eric tells TImothy that the turnips and asparagus were cut so tiny and it was hard to taste the turnips. Also, the seasoning was lacking. Patrick tells Stephen that a bowl is the worst way to serve a salad, and criticize the way that the apple croutons were cut too large. Amanda seems to not really know what a minestrone is. Eric asks her if she doesn't think that a minestrone should include pasta, and she replies that she's only ever made it with chili beans. Tom nails her for not cutting her veggies uniformly, which means they also did not cook uniformly. Padma says it was amateurish, while Patrick says, "it was grandmotherly, as a grandmother might have done it with her ax. It didn't quite have the polish that you would expect from a chef."
An honest evaluation is that any of these three deserve to go home. We're spoiled by last season, but the Washington, D.C. chefs are simply not a deep group of talent. All the people up for elimination tonight are subpar. We're inclined to think that the harshest criticism went to Amanda, but we think part of that is because she rubs people the wrong way.
Ulimately, Tim is selected to pack his knives and go, but he's a great sport about it. He does lament that he went out on turnips and potatoes rather than lamb or some other savory dish that requires more cooking skill. It's pretty clear that everyone likes him and he considers all his fellow chefs to be friends.
Editor's note: We do expect Jason to return next week, but there is a chance that you'll be stuck with us for the rest of July. Boom!