Top Chef

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Grease Fire Is The Word

Mike interviews that he thinks that Tiffany and Antonia played it safe to get there, and they're still playing it safe. I might buy that with Tiffany, but I think Antonia has been cooking her food and doing it well. Also, Mike made Greek something or lamb something for at least half the challenges, so he should shuttie. They all pack their food into coolers and racks and finish up for the day.

As they are leaving, they find a police escort to take them to see royalty. Carla thinks they'll probably get to cook in some amazing kitchen. They roll up on a street festival. It looks a lot like Mardi Gras, and probably shares the same roots, says the person who is totally ignorant about the roots of Mardi Gras other than what was shown on the first season of Real World: New Orleans and Treme. Blais recognizes it as Junkanoo. Some of the dancers pull the cheftestants out of the car and encourage them to dance along, but the cheftestants are freaking out about what this means for their dishes, which were fancy and not at all appropriate for a street festival.

Colicchio comes out and introduces them to the King of Junkanoo. He explains that Junkanoo is a celebration of life in the Bahamas, and it's similar to Carnivale or Mardi Gras (see!). So this is the King for whom they will be cooking. Tiffany is psyched, because she thinks her dish is perfect for this setting, but she knows some of the others are freaking out. Antonia is one of those people because she did not plan her dish for this setting. I have to say, I don't really get why it's such a big deal. It's not like they were planning on making Beef Wellington or something. It seems like you could tweak the food a bit in terms of presentation.

Their time to cook starts, and they all spring into the tiny, outdated kitchen. I feel like in the finals, these kinds of barriers should be removed. They should have good, working equipment so that if they go home at this point, it's totally a failure of conception or execution. This kitchen has a deep fryer, a small flat top, and a microwave. No burners, and definitely no fancy sous vide or anything like that. I assume there's an oven, but I don't know that for sure.

Antonia is deep frying some plantains and she notices that the fryer next to hers is smoking. And not in a good way. In a "this oil is too hot and might burst into flames any second" kind of way. Carla tries to turn the temperature gauge down and Antonia wonders if they should say something (to production, presumably) before it bursts into flames. And then, because Antonia is magical, the oil bursts into flames. I don't know if you've ever had that happen, but it is scary. Years ago, my roommate was using my wok and he let the oil heat too high for too long and the whole thing burst into flames. Luckily, it was a wok, so he just removed it from the heat and, I don't know, dumped flour in it or something and it was fine. But you can't exactly remove a deep fryer from the heat source.

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