Top Chef
Into The Fire

Episode Report Card
Keckler: C+ | Grade It Now!
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Food, Fire, and Frog Legs

Marisa, the pastry chef, made a pate brisée tart shell and filled it with caramelized onion, finished it with balsamic, and added some thyme. Where are the potatoes, peanuts, and artichokes? Emily notes that Marisa used the escargot as a garnish.

Michael made shoestring potatoes with an artichoke and cheese sauce served on the side of peanut-pesto sautéed snails. Ooh, I like that peanut pesto idea! I often do walnut pesto instead of the traditional pine nuts because I like the heartier flavor, but peanuts could be awesome as well. Mia tells him right off that she didn't like the peanut pesto.

Moving onto Elia, we see a beautiful, pristine presentation. All Bravo tells us is that it is Buttery Escargot with Artichoke and American Cheese. But what we see is the natural snail shell perched on the side of a careful and creamy pile of what I think are diced potatoes, and there's a single artichoke leaf sticking up behind it. Lovely. Elia says, "I did snails with a butter, with a ginger, garlic, parsley, thyme and a little bit of nutmeg." I see -- she did a compound butter with ginger, garlic, parsley, etc. That's why we saw her putting round slices of the butter on the snail shells earlier. I really like that idea because traditional "snail butter" is parsley, garlic, and shallots, so clearly her butter is a nod to that. She also made mashed potatoes and said, "I cooked the artichokes with lime and the DELICIOUS American Cheese." Heh. Where are the peanuts? Betty loves Elia's dish.

Ted Ilan made a baked escargot dish. First he poached the escargot in white wine, then he sautéed them with ground peanuts, and he bound it all with a pomme purée (potato purée) that also had American Cheese. He then poached and deep-fried the artichokes and sliced them. It sounds like he took all of this and stuffed it in the snail shells before baking them, but I'm not entirely sure.

Suyai presents her braised potatoes and artichokes and garlic escargot with cheese sauce. It's garnished with peanuts. Suyai laughs and slaps the table after her explanation, knowing how awful the cheese sauce sounds. The Orange Group is excused while the Black Group deliberates.

Padma asks the Black Group what they think. It's sounding like Suyai and Carlos are coming out as the worst of the bunch, and the top two are Ted Ilan and Elia. Of those two, Colicchio asks which two dishes they'd be happy to shell out sixteen dollars for at a restaurant. The cheftestants ponder and don't tell us the result, although Betty tells us, "It was clear."

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