Top Chef

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Mobbed Up

Frankie No explains that Rao's has been in his family for four generations, and the challenge is to cook a dish inspired by Rao's, and the Italian food created by his family. Padma explains that they will be divided into three groups. The first group, antipasti, has to make a starter or an appetizer. The second group, primi, will make a pasta dish, and the third group, secondi, will make meat or fish. The groups are just to determine what each person will cook; they aren't competing within their group only, or against each other in teams.

The groups break up to talk to one of the guys from Rao's about what to make. Dale, Mike, and Tre meet with Junior to talk about the pasta course. Junior tells them that they can use dried pastas, and they do so in the restaurants. That will be important. Tre asks if risotto is cool, and it is. Mike is trying REALLY hard to let Junior know that they are both Italian. Meatballs! Sunday dinner! Kitchens! Italy! That's their conversation. Mike asks if they've evolved the traditional dishes at all, and Junior says they've very much stuck to their original menu. I kind of wish Marcel were still in the competition just to see what in the hell he would make for this challenge. I pride myself on my Italian food (especially for a non-Italian) to the point where, when my husband and I go out for Italian, he often says afterwards that he wishes we had just stayed home and I had made dinner, because it would have been better. Granted, we don't eat at Rao's, but that's something, right?

Antonia, Carla, and Tiffany are all doing the antipasti course, so they are talking to Dino, the chef. Carla learns that most of their dishes for this course are cold, except for soups. Antonia is the Mike of this group. Breaking bread! Sunday dinner! No rushing! We get it. You're Italian.

So that leaves Blais, Fabio, and Angelo to talk to Frankie No about the secondi course. Fabio dominates the conversation, talking to Frankie No about Italy and food. Finally Blais asks about Frankie's aunt, and Frankie says that she was a master of reducing recipes and making them simple, breaking them down to their essential elements. That's bad news for Angelo, the kitchen sink cook.

Shopping! Haven't missed this segment. Although we do get a few pictures of Mike and his Italian grandmother, who is adorable. It reminds me of a photo my husband has of his grandmother's family. There were like fourteen brothers and sisters, and the parents. They're all wearing black, and looking very stern and angry. And they are all nearly as wide as they are tall. They were a stout people, is what I'm saying.

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Top Chef

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