Top Chef

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Grease Fire Is The Word

I don't know what is happening with Michael Voltaggio's hair. It's a problem. It's way too long in front, and he's got it swept to one side like a bad comb-over. Although I suppose there aren't any good comb-overs. Anyway, Volt is trying to use a kitchen blowtorch with limited success. Isabella laughs that Volt was trying to use every piece of equipment he had available. Blais is running around like a crazy person, sweating it up, and he's worried about everything, which pretty much describes his behavior in every challenge this season. Antonia is having a problem keeping her burner on, and Carla has the same problem. This means that Antonia's veal isn't braising properly, because the heat keeps going out. Carla can't get her rice cooked, so she puts it in with her stew, because that burner is working. She knows it's a bad idea, and she does it anyway. The problem is that now, if the rice doesn't get cooked, she can't really separate it out from her stew. She would have been better off waiting to add the rice until the last minute, and if it didn't get cooked, skip it. Better a dish missing an ingredient than a dish with uncooked rice in it, I think. Anyway, Carla hopes that Hosea totally screws up, because that's her only chance at winning. From what I remember about Hosea, there's always a chance he will totally screw up. The judges return, and time is up.

The first matchup to be judged is Tiffany vs. Kevin. Kevin made barbecue pork with cilantro, celery, shaved onion, and citrus salad. It doesn't look great - the pork seems fatty and pale, and the garnish is more yellow than green. Tiffany made pork stew with potatoes, peppers, citrus, and allspice. It looks very orange and greasy. Neither dish looks that impressive to me. Colicchio thinks they are both good dishes, but he votes for Tiffany, as do Ripert and Padma. We don't get to hear much about why her dish was better, but Tiffany does admit that it's her first win of the season, and it's giving her confidence.

Next up: Hosea vs. Carla. Hosea made braised lamb in red chili broth with olives and mint, goat cheese, and rosemary polenta. It looks pretty good. Carla made jollof rice with harissa lamb with peppers, onions, and lime. It looks great, although the lamb looks a little dry. The problem is if the rice is uncooked, since it makes up easily half of the dish. Carla admits that she can't even talk her way out of the undercooked rice, and all three judges vote for Hosea.

Stephanie's dish has to go up against both Blais and Antonia. She made veal scallopini with tapenade and poached egg. Too bad Bourdain isn't a judge; we know he loves a runny egg. I don't know about veal and eggs, though. That seems a little weird. Antonia made roasted veal, leek and almonds puree with sautéed mushrooms, arugula, and raisins. Colicchio says that Antonia's veal is tough, but Stephanie's dish has too much going on. He doesn't really want to vote for either dish, but he picks Antonia. Ripert doesn't like the egg on the veal, but Antonia's dish was dry, so he picks Stephanie. Padma also picks Stephanie, so she wins, and she laughs that she won with a crappy dish. So the bar is lowered for Blais. He made seared veal loin and braised veal cap with raisins, carrots, potatoes, and mushrooms. Ripert likes the balanced flavors and Colicchio says that he's the hands-down winner. Blais thinks he has an "intimidation factor" after winning. Calm down there, Hulkster. You beat a crappy dish. That's not very intimidating.

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Top Chef

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