Top Chef
Jazz Hands

Episode Report Card
Carla Sparks: C+ | 26 USERS: C
Potluck of the Draw

Twelve chefs remain, and this is finally a manageable amount, but just barely. Cliques have started to form, like Nina, Bene, and Travis, but with Bene eliminated, things are already falling apart. Nicholas is sick as a dog, which is one of the few things chefs can't be. A medic comes in and diagnoses Nick with Strep, telling him he shouldn't be around other people or food. Nicholas crawls under a blanket with some antibiotics.

So, now there are 11 chefs at the moment. For the Quickfire Challenge, Padma introduces jazz trumpeter, vocalist, and cook, Kermit Ruffins. The challenge is about improvisation, which has to do with jazz music. I would have thought the Reynolds Wrap challenge, where they had to work with secret ingredients that Padma's mom and Gail's mom threw in a basket for them, was about improvisation but no. Kermit Ruffins tells the chefs about grabbing frogs with a net and cooking them, true improv.

The chefs have stations featuring some of Kermit's favorite ingredients and cooking tools. The chefs will start cooking at one station, then play musical chairs to Kermit's trumpet and resume cooking at the station they land on when he stops. Musical stations, non-elimination style. Kermit says it's a lot like being in a jazz band and you have to trust your bandmates. But these chefs aren't friends, so the metaphor is weak.

The chefs dance around the stations, noticing that one of them has a microwave and they don't want it. The music stops and Shirley gets the microwave station, which also features bacon and tofu. She isn't phased, since her husband cooks everything in a microwave. Sara is at the duck station and is concerned that it takes a while to render duck. There's also chicken wings and quail and flounder for the chefs to use. Nina starts out on a French redfish dish, but won't finish it. Kermit starts playing the trumpet again and the chefs dance forward, nervously.

Travis lands at Nina's station and accuses her of going French with "all these Asian ingredients." Everything is an Asian ingredient to Travis. Some of the chefs yell across the stations to each other; Brian gets confused at the frog legs station. Louis is getting more and more anxious, wanting to finish two dishes he'll never see again now. Kermit plays, and the chefs are back at their original stations. They return to see how all the chefs have messed up their original visions. They keep it going, but Kermit picks up his trumpet again to announce it's party time.

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Top Chef




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