Top Chef
Guess Who's Coming To Dinner?

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Snake Eyes

Ted starts with Stephen. Stephen explains that his dish is poached baby Manila clams with grilled sea beans. Ted praises his ridiculously abstract presentation. If I got that in a restaurant, I'd be pissed -- it's like five teeny tiny bites of nearly nothing! Stephen tells us, "I saw the cuisine as outside the boundaries, sort of taking different flavor combinations that traditionally aren't used. I love all my dishes. This one in the presentation was spectacular." It goes without saying that nearly everything that comes out of Stephen's mouth is majorly [sic]'d. Miguel presents his antipasti plate of what appears to be slices of tomato, broccoli, cauliflower, pistachios, pear slices on a slaw of some sort, and a wedge of double- or triple-cream cheese. What happened to the asparagus? Ted makes noises like he doesn't like it, but doesn't explain himself before moving on to Lee Anne. Looks like Lee Anne chose oysters as well. She did deep-fried oysters with a reduced lemon-garlic cream. It looks like the oysters might also be topped with crumbles of bacon, a tomato dice, and parsley. Ted wonders if Lee Ann is trying to seduce him. Harold explains his dish of bacon-wrapped trevisano with Gorgonzola brûlée. Ted asks if Harold added sugar to make the brûlée, but Harold just used the fat in the cheese and went at it with a blowtorch. Ted is "very partial to food made with a blow torch." Tiffani presents her take on oysters, explaining, "Instead of doing just one preparation, I really wanted to honor oysters." "Honor"? Next time I make shellfish, I'm going to announce to my guests that I wanted to serve and obey them. It will be like a bad sci-fi movie: The Mollusks That Attacked, Part II: The Pinchening. The first of Tiffani's trio is a raw oyster with a pomegranate mignonette, the next is a deep-fried oyster in the ever-present and increasingly-annoying Chinese soupspoon, and the final is an oyster poached in white wine and cream.

Ted moves on to Andrea, who tells him, "Whenever I make a meal, I like to get all flavors: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and pungent within one meal." "Wow, sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and pungent -- sounds like my co-workers!" Ted laughs. Heh -- even though I rarely manage to watch QEFTSG these days, that did crack me up. Andrea made a carrot and pear salad with a honey-mustard dressing and pocketed it in a leaf of trevisano. Ted tastes. "It'll help move ya -- you'll have a nice BM!" Andrea announces. Why do I have a feeling that if I ever cook from her cookbook, I should make sure to be within dashing distance from my bathroom? "It's been weeks, I'm so grateful," Ted laughs. Finally, we get to Dave's cumin and oregano chicken skewers, which were glazed with tangerine and honey and served with adobo honey butter. Damn, that sounds really tasty. I think it's the adobo honey butter that most attracts me. Dave tells Ted that he tends to "freak out a little bit" in the kitchen. And how. Ted's top choices were Harold, Tiffani, Lee Anne, and Stephen, but he declares Stephen the winner. Ugh. "I knew that my dish was the best -- Ted Allen explained it to me: 'extraordinary,' 'exquisite.'" Harold tells us that he and Stephen are very different in the kitchen: "I don't feel his food -- it's just doesn't feel soulful to me." I totally agree. My reaction to Stephen's food is like the way Ferris Bueller described Cameron's house: "It's very cold and you're not allowed to touch anything." Dave tells us, "It's all about presentation and it was this huge plate and literally it had six little clams on it. That's not an appetizer, that's a painting." Seriously.

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