Top Chef
Manhattan Project

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Sara's Told To Cheese Off
The panel of FCI judges arrives and Colicchio introduces the cheftestants to: Dorothy Hamilton, the founder and CEO of FCI,; André Soltner, Dean of Classics Studies; Alain Sailhac, Dean Emeritus; Nils Noren, Vice President of Culinary Studies; Jacques Torres, Dean of Pastry Arts (Colicchio adds he's also known as "Mr. Chocolate"); and Cesare Casella, Dean of Italian Studies. Chef Torres calls out, "Thank you!" all excitedly when Colicchio introduces him. He's simply adorable. Colicchio admits he's humbled to be standing before all these culinary giants, so he's sure the cheftestants are as well. I doubt Hung is. Dale tells us, "It's kind of like the Last Supper. All you see is Jesus' Apostles of culinary greatness." Okay, so who's Jesus then? Hung, because he's already hung? Or maybe Sara, because she's going to get crucified?

The cheftestants finish their dishes, and Hung asks if Casey can help him plate. Casey apologizes but she just can't. Hung tells her it's okay. Yeah, Hung, you had an extra thirty minutes -- plate it your own damn self. Hung repeats his mantra, "I'm here for myself, I came here by myself, and hopefully I can win this by myself." Hung presents his dish of Sous-Vide Chicken (poached in butter), Crisped Chicken Skin Chip, Pommes Dauphine, and a salad. Underneath it all, there's egg in some form (he doesn't clarify what it's doing there) and roasted chicken jus with truffles. The judges all seem to like the dish, but Chef Soltner thinks the Pommes Dauphine should have been much, much lighter. Hung tells us that when he looks at what the other cheftestants are doing, he feels pretty confident in his dish. Leggo that ego, Hung!

Hung helps Sara plate her dish, and Sara tells us she's not classically trained in French cuisine, so it's nerve-racking to have all these great chefs as her judges. Sara's dish goes out to the judges and she follows to explain how she's Jamaican, so her fricassée chicken makes her feel "homey and warm and cozy." I'm still really not getting how fricassée is Jamaican. The whole point of fricassée is that it's all white. The chicken is cooked, but not allowed to brown (very anti-Jamaica, if you ask me) and is served in a white cream sauce with mushrooms and glazed onions. Anyway, Sara explains, "I did that with a sheep's-cheese-marinated yogurt, uh, chicken breast, seared and sliced." Wait, what? She told us earlier that she marinated it in goat's-cheese yogurt. She also did a confit of onions, a microgreens salad, and an Israeli couscous and potato risotto. After she leaves, one of the judges criticizes the confit, saying when you make confit, it's supposed to be like marmalade. Chef Noren says he's no Jamaican, but he used to have two reggae bands in Sweden (Padma giggles at this point, probably assuming he will pass the dutchie from the left-hand side) and he went to Jamaica regularly, yet he doesn't taste anything Jamaican in the dish. Colicchio agrees and adds that Sara told him she was using "some of those spices." Gail announces that her chicken is "quite undercooked," which she's "not a huge fan of." Dorothy Hamilton says the dish was overly ambitious, given the required ingredients, and she thinks that the concept was great, but Sara could use some years at the FCI.

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