Top Chef
Manhattan Project

Episode Report Card
Keckler: C+ | Grade It Now!
Sara's Told To Cheese Off

As Casey singsongingly sends the next cheftestant to the kitchen, Hung asks how it went and whether she got thumbs-up from the judges. I think Casey should tell him that she can't reveal that. Dale tells us that in his opinion, Casey is the one to beat, and it's killing Hung. I would like to see a Casey-Hung face-off for the finale, and I'd like to see Casey beat the pants off Hung. Dale goes on that Hung is the best technical cook: "But in my world, the best food has heart, and when you don't have one, it doesn't taste good." That's such a Dave "Town Cryer" Martin thing to say. Of course, he's another Big Gay Chef.

Sara is the last cheftestant to cook. She asks about the dishwashing station, but the Executive Sous tells her not to worry about it and relieves her of her dishes. Sara says she was very nervous because she didn't know where anything was and she thought she was inconveniencing the Le Cirque chefs, who were in the middle of service. Sara tells us that she couldn't find the sauté pans and got behind on cooking the fish. When time is called, Sara knows her fish is raw. The way they make this QF look is that when Padma calls "TIME!" Sara's fish is still in the pan, unplated. I have never been completely certain that the timed segment is only for cooking the dish, giving them extra time to plate, or if the dish has to be fully plated and garnished when time is called. It's a mystery. Sara serves her dish, and Maccioni and Padma cluck over the bald rawness of the fish.

Sara rejoins the other cheftestants and tells them she didn't have time to cook the fish completely. She sort of makes excuses by saying, "I started my fish six minutes out, and I guess my fish was thicker." "It was raw?" Hung wants to clarify. "It was raw in the middle," Sara says. Hung tells us, "This challenge is going to demoralize my competitors. A little bit." I'm curious as how you demoralize "a little bit." Isn't that sort of like being "a little bit pregnant"? With Padma bogarting Maccioni's arm, the two judges arrive to announce the winner and losers. Maccioni congratulates all of the cheftestants for their efforts, acknowledging that the dish is not an easy one to replicate. Tell that to Hung. When Padma asks which of the dishes was most unlike his dish, Maccioni just says, "You," dismissively in Sara's general direction. Maccioni states that her fish was not cooked. For the winners, Maccioni liked both Hung's and Casey's dishes. Maccioni -- charmingly or insultingly, depending on how you wish to view this -- says that because Casey is so attractive, he'd like to name her the winner, but really it's Hung. What was Casey saying earlier about how hard it is to get respect as a chick chef?

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