Top Chef
Manhattan Project

Episode Report Card
Keckler: C+ | Grade It Now!
Sara's Told To Cheese Off
The cheftestants retire to their rooms in Flatotel, which I think is the twee-est name for a hotel since THEhotel. One day, there's going to be an A Hotel. "Where are you staying?" "Oh, I'm staying at A Hotel." Stupid, stupid, stupid. Dale tells us that being on the show is humbling and adds, "You know, you sit on the couch, watching the show and be like, 'Oh, I can do that shit.' Well, you know what? Most of you? You can't!" Has Dale been reading TWoP Chef? Hung folds his clothes in his room and tells us that it would mean so much to him to make it to the finals in Aspen because he's an immigrant. He says, "I'm doing this to show all the immigrants in America that it takes hard work, and a dream, and dedication and you'll get whatever you strive for."* (*Offer not available in Mexico) The cheftestants go to bed.

The next day, the cheftestants arrive at the French Culinary Institute. Padma tells them that the Elimination Challenge was created by the deans and master chefs of the FCI. They created a challenge that they feel is the ultimate French culinary test. "They consider working with these ingredients to be the ultimate test of skill, technique, and creativity," Padma says. She whips the lid off a silver plate to reveal chicken, potatoes, and onions on a bed of parsley. Brian tells us, "Our very last and final Elimination is chicken, a russet potato, and a yellow onion." And a stick of butter. Hung brags, "Those are perfect flavor combinations, classics. Score for me." Given all his lip about "average" palates, Hung never struck me as the type that would cotton to a classic challenge. Are we going to get another lecture from him about how people have been roasting chicken and mashing potatoes for thousands of years? Padma explains, "The deans and master chefs believe that the simpler the ingredients, the greater the test of the chefs skill and imagination. You must take these basics and make them no less than sublime." Hung, as the Quickfire winner, will get an extra thirty minutes to cook and also gets to serve first.

The cheftestants shop at the Greenmarket in Union Square. The Brians talk about making a shepherd's pie using just the three ingredients provided, but then he gets excited over artisanal pheasant sausage. ["Well, who doesn't?" -- Miss Alli] Sara stops at a cheese booth and talks to the purveyor about her stinky wares. Sara tells us that she's trying to open her own cheese dairy, and if she wins Top Chef, she's going back to Jamaica and use the prize money for a farm. Dale and Casey shop together. Dale tells us that he and Casey have gotten really close. Uh-oh, does that mean Dale will be the next to be struck by the Casey Curse and get sent home tonight? Dale tells Casey he's going "balls out" on his dish. Casey exclaims over ramps and tells us she's pretty certain she's going to make coq au vin the way her French grandmother made it. Didn't your French grandmother also teach you that it's pronounced "coq au van" not "coq au von"? And also that "coq" means "cock," not chicken?

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Top Chef




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