Top Chef

Episode Report Card
Kim: A | 4 USERS: B+
More Than Dippin' Dots

So then Padma announces that this will be their last challenge in DC, because the final challenges will take place in Singapore. The cheftestants are amazed, probably because it's the first international finale. I know very little about Singapore; when I used to work at the corporate headquarters of a national retailer, we opened our first international store in Singapore and I had to train the marketing person. Which was interesting, since I knew nothing about the culture or anything, and she barely spoke English. And then I drove her to see one of our flagship stores and we seriously drove through a near-tornado. So that was exciting. Anyway. Padma introduces the last American-based elimination challenge: they will be visiting the Goddard Space Flight Center to do a NASA-based challenge. Kelly reveals the extent of her nerd-dom when she says that she went to Space Camp as a teen. You know, even after seeing that movie, I didn't want to go to space camp. Actually, especially after seeing that movie, I didn't want to go. What if I, too, was accidentally launched into space? It could happen! It did in that movie!

The cheftestants arrive at Goddard Space Center, which looks like every movie you've ever seen about NASA Command. There are lots of screens showing various maps and graphs and charts and it's full of computers and whatnot. Colicchio is there, and he introduces them to Head Nerd Vicki Kloeris, who's in charge of the food systems for the astronauts. Vicki is unfortunately lit from below in this scene, and if you've ever held a flashlight beneath your chin to tell a ghost story, you know what that looks like. NOT GOOD! Plus, she has braces. This is probably her one chance to be on a big cable television show, and then it was unfortunate. Poor Vicki. She throws it to two astronauts currently on the International Space Station. They extremely woodenly talk about the food that's available to them in zero gravity: coffee, scrambled eggs, and chicken fajitas. It's like a Denny's up in there. It gives new meaning to Moon Over My Hammy.

Anyway, the challenge this week is to create a dish that could be served in zero gravity, and the winning dish will actually be produced in Houston to go into space. Colicchio explains that they'll be cooking for a table of eight that will include NASA scientists, astronauts, and the judges. And the guest of honor will be Mr. Buzz Aldrin, who will show up to the opening of a supermarket these days. Yeah, yeah, national hero and whatnot. Also, desperate to make a dime, it seems. Or loves the limelight. Anyway, he's going to be there. Vicki gives them three tips about how to make a dish that will taste good after being freeze-dried and then reconstituted. She tells them not to use a lot of sugar, to avoid large pieces of ingredients, and not to be afraid of making it spicy. So keep in mind that the challenge is to make a dish that can be freeze-dried and sent into space. That seems important, since they went to all this trouble to set the challenge at NASA and whatnot.

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Top Chef




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