Top Chef
Bachelor/Ette Party

Episode Report Card
Angel Cohn: B+ | 1 USERS: A+
Hit Me With Your Best Shot
In a hurry? Read the recaplet for a nutshell description!

Previously: The cheftestants arrived in Las Vegas, Wolfgang Puck threw food across the room and Jen Z. was the first one eliminated. Oh, and the Quickfires now earn the winning chef some extra loot in addition to the old school immunity.

After a lot of establishing shots to remind us that we are indeed in Las Vegas, and the contestants are staying in a fabulous looking McMansion instead of the typical apartment buildings, we see Jesse and Eve discussing hair, and then Jesse rehashes her performance in the last competition. She wants a chance to redeem herself. Eve wonders if she should cook for herself, or try and cook to please the judges. Gee, ideally both, Eve, but since you are in a competition and trying to win, pleasing the judges seems like the higher priority in these early rounds. Then Bryan discusses the sibling rivalry that he has with Michael. They are both very competitive. And brothers. In case you missed that the hundred or so times it was mentioned.

Then it's time for the Quickfire Challenge and Todd English. Kevin is equally impressed by Todd and the "big ass craps table" that has been brought into the kitchen. Kevin's never actually been near a craps table before, so he's a bit skeptical. Jennifer, who is really talented but looks exhausted in her interviews, says that Todd English likes simplicity and dubs him "pretty hot."

Padma says that great chefs need to be able to make something fabulous without leaving their pantries. Is that how it works? That's how I always cook, but I typically attribute that to laziness and hatred of grocery shopping. Anyway, the contestants have to toss the dice and whatever number they roll is the number of ingredients that they have to use in the challenge. Salt, pepper and oil are the only freebies from the kitchen. Jesse does this weird hand waving thing, like she's somehow waiting for permission to speak, and then says that two ingredients would suck. It would, but I'm not sure she needed to share that with the class. I'm sure they were aware. Michael V. says that he doesn't want to roll too high a number, because he'd hate to be forced to work with too many ingredients. So I guess to each their own.

Padma then informs them that it's a high stakes Quickfire, which means that they really, really want to win this (as opposed to all the other ones that they just don't care about) because they get cash money. $15,000 to be specific. That's not too shabby. Ashley takes this opportunity to address America and to tell us folks out here that chefs do not make a lot of cash. I'm not really in that industry, so I can't attest to the validity of that statement, but there must be some chefs out there who do make a lot of cash. Maybe like the one standing in the room judging this competition for instance?

Kevin's first up and says he thinks a lot of people will be freaked out by this, but he prefers working with only a few ingredients. Naturally, he rolls a 10. Maybe he'd have done better if he spent some time bonding with the craps table. Mattin rolls a 4. One of the brothers rolls an 8. Everyone continues to step up and roll, until we get to Laurine (who has made little impression on me up to this point), who rolls a 3 and decides that simple is the way to go. With three ingredients, she doesn't have much of a choice in the matter.

After Padma tells them their time starts and they've got 30 minutes, everyone starts scrambling around the room like mad. Eve's got eight ingredients, and she's making a salad with asparagus and blue cheese. Michael's got his eye on the prize -- he's making gazpacho in a way that maybe people haven't seen before. This involves liquid nitrogen. And a lot of smoke floating around the room. Bryan interviews that his brother sometimes goes overboard on techniques, and he prefers classic techniques. He's making black cod and cooking it sous vide. Kevin is overwhelmed by his ten ingredients but literally says "fuck it" and decides to make less components with lots of ingredients. Jennifer got nine ingredients and would have preferred less, but she shrugs it off. She's making salmon and some emulsions. Jesse's got nine ingredients and immediately her mind goes to scallops. This is NOT Top Scallop! She forgets a pan to properly sear them in, so they are sort of off white looking, and she can't even fake it with butter, since that would be an extra ingredient. Then time is up and utensils are down.

Laurine had three ingredients and made an asparagus and leek soup with lemon. Jennifer had nine, and says she kept it simple and made salmon with lemon, garlic, shallot, parsley and jalapeno emulsion. Mattin put slivers of carrots in the shape of a four on top of his carrot soup with ginger to show off his number. Padma finds this clever; I find it annoying that they need to put subtitles on this guy. He was flirty with Padma. That doesn't need a special translator. Eve introduces her grilled asparagus salad with raisins, pine nuts and blue cheese. The asparagus is hanging off of the plate and my OCD just kicked in and wanted to cut them to the same length. Michael V. introduces his nitro gazpacho (which would be a fabulous name for a bar!), compressed cucumbers and toast. It looks a little disgusting, actually, no matter how good it tastes.

Kevin took his ten ingredients to make an asparagus and celery salad with fennel cream and a boiled egg. Was there a glut of asparagus in the pantry, or what? His is well presented and all on the plate though, so that makes me happy. Ashley and her eight ingredients make a grilled lamb with apricot mostarda. The lamb is bright red, and Padma comments that it is rare and just sort of pushes it around on the plate before walking off. Ashley shrugs, as if she wasn't trying to give the host food poisoning. Bryan made his packed black cod with carrot, ginger puree and daikon radish sprout. Todd comments that Bryan poached the fish very rare. Two in a row. Can they make it three? Sort of, since Jesse and her poorly cooked scallops are up next. It's the most baby food looking plate I've ever seen on this show. The info on the screen says that it is scallops with chimichurri and smashed garbanzo beans with toasted garlic, but she could have fooled me. Todd says that chimichurri seems to be the sauce of the year. Hard to tell if he just had nothing else to say to her, or he's sick of tasting it, or he liked her take on it.

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