Top Chef Recap

By Kim Hollis and David Mumpower

August 23, 2010


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The CIA officers dig in to Angelo’s dish, and Leon Panetta easily identifies it as Beef Wellington. He also says that it was salty and the pastry was a little hard. Eric Ripert (we’re so glad he’s back) comments that it seems as though Angelo took a shortcut and that the food wasn’t very challenging. Looks like Angelo’s low point is remaining low.

Next up is Kelly’s kung pau chicken soup dish, and it’s tougher to identify. Tom Colicchio eventually gets it right. The dish receives a lot of compliments, with one of the CIA men saying it was so good he was too distracted to figure out what it was.

Tiffany serves a deconstructed gyro, and once again Panetta gets it right. Ripert says “it’s probably the most elegant gyro I have ever eaten in my life.” All of the judges and diners are nodding assent.

Ripert smells Kevin’s dish, which is pretty easily identified as Cobb Salad. Although Tom says that it hasn’t really been disguised well, he really likes the dish (and says he really loves Cobb Salad in general).

All of a sudden, Panetta is handed a note and tells the group that he has to leave. If this were live TV, we’d be a little freaked out. For the judges’ part, they do look concerned, like they’re wondering if they need to go hide somewhere. The CIA officers do say that the Director often has to dine and dash, though no one looks comforting.

With that bit of oddness over, the diners eat Amanda’s French Onion Soup, which has been turned into…French Onion Soup. One of the CIA officers notes that it was overly sweet, saying it tastes like lemon cough drops. The group thinks the marmalade she uses in the dish is a good idea, but clearly the taste is off.

Alex has made veal parmesan, which immediately causes Tom to say, “Oh my God,” and not in a good way. “The veal is as tough as pulling a post in Yemen,” Colicchio says. All of the CIA people laugh. Wylie does say it was well disguised, but Eric Ripert says he’d have rather seen less disguise and a better dish.

The final dish is Ed’s Chicken Cordon Bleu, which receives high praise even if it isn’t well disguised. However, it seems like good taste is more important than creating a fabulous disguise.


At Judges Table, the top three are Kelly, Ed and Tiffany. Ripert says he loved Tiffany’s broth and thinks that the rice did a nice job of counteracting the spiciness. Wylie enjoys that Tiffany made a dish that is normally eaten with the hands and turned to something more elegant. For Ed, Ripert tells him that every element was executed perfectly, and Wylie compliments the chicken. The winner, of course, is Tiffany, who now has a honeymoon trip on top of all the money she has won. It’s starting to be as surprising when Tiffany wins as it is when Albert Pujols finishes strongly in the MLB MVP race.

The bottom three are Alex, Angelo and Amanda (the three As!). It’s pretty easy to figure out where Kevin placed. Really, though, there was no suspense about who would be in the group of potential evictees. We’re feeling like Angelo will get a slap on the wrist, which means it’s between the other two. Let’s be honest, though. Alex is going home. We all know it.

Wylie tells Amanda that her dish could have been more challenging (which is polite). Tom is more blunt, saying that turning soup into soup is incredibly disappointing. He also notes that dish was simply too sweet, so she has also ruined the dish.

As for Angelo, he owns up to having had a really bad day. The judges admit to having had high hopes for his dish, but it just didn’t live up to his promise. This is a circumstance where they all know he’s one of the strongest chefs still remaining, and their expectations for him exceed those of the other two candidates. It’s not enough to send him home, though.

They close out with Alex, and Wylie tells him, “Your disguise was really poor execution.” He created a dish that was difficult to identify, but Tom notes that he has had better tasting fried mozzarella at street fairs, and the veal was tough. It sounds like his food was awful.

For the judges’ part, the decision to send Alex home seems all too easy. He should have gone home five episodes ago, frankly. At least we don’t have to listen to his weirdness and watch him beat superior contestants any longer.

Sorry, Kenny.

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