Top Chef

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The Big Apple

The judges discuss the competitors overall. Tom is pleased that the food was uniformly good, and none of the dishes were so horrible that they call out the chef for being unqualified for the competition. Tom thinks both Chinatown dishes were disappointing, and Patrick's dish was amateurish. Gail points out Radhika's dish, which missed the mark texturally. Tom reminds them that Ariane's farro dish was uncooked and terrible.

As they wait to hear their fates, the cheftestants discuss what just happened. Melissa says that she was sweating so hard that sweat was running out of her pants. Ew! Carla is all manic and bug-eyed about her nervousness. You can tell Jeff wants to tell her to cram it, but he's too polite. They discuss how they all needed more salt. Padma walks in and asks for Stefan, Eugene, and Leah from the winning group, and Patrick and Ariane from the losing group. Patrick is nervous because he feels like his dish had more problems than Ariane's dish did.

Judges' Table. Padma starts with the winners, specifically Leah. Tom thinks she really captured new Italian cooking in New York. Stefan's dish was complex but didn't look complex. Jean-Georges compliments his flavors and technique. Eugene did a great job with a cuisine he didn't have experience in, and all the judges compliment him. Padma explains that in the history of the show, in all but one instance, the winner of the first challenge has gone on to win the show. I guess they have enough seasons now that they can make pronouncements like this. And the winner this time is Stefan. He interviews that he thinks it's time for a European to win the show. Leah, Eugene, and Stefan walk back to the waiting room and Carla is shrieking about how Stefan won two competitions in one day. She's going to get on my nerves. I can already tell.

Back in the judging room, Ariane and Patrick have to face the music. GONG! Padma asks Ariane to defend her dish. Ariane says that she's not familiar with Middle Eastern, and in the store she chose what she saw and hoped it would work out. Would you admit that? Tom tells her that grains and beans need to be cooked, and Leah did a similar dish that almost earned her the win. Ariane thinks that the problem was the name risotto, and Tom quickly tells her that wasn't the problem. He lectures her that, at this level of the competition, every item on the plate needs to be superb. They turn their focus to Patrick. Tom says that his dish was uninspired. Patrick wanted to highlight the clean favors. Gail says it was too similar in flavor and texture, and didn't say Chinatown. Tom thinks it was cliché, and Jean-Georges thought it needed some more ginger or scallion to elevate it. Patrick concludes that the dish wasn't his best work, but it was the best he could do with what he had. Really? Was it? Because then you're pretty much admitting that you don't belong in the competition. Tom advises both of them to get out of their comfort zones and travel and eat. Jean-Georges points out that in New York, you have access to all kinds of cuisine, and Padma reminds us that Ariane lives in New Jersey, so she could easily get to New York. Ariane thinks it's good enough to look at books, instead of going and experiencing cuisine and culture. Tom isn't happy with that remark.

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Top Chef

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