Top Chef

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Kim: B+ | Grade It Now!
The Big Apple

It's the day of the elimination challenge. The cheftestants wake up. Stefan is pleased that Patrick made him café con leche. Eugene is going through recipes in his head, because he's never cooked Indian before. Ariane and Carla discuss how they've been getting to know one another, but it's nothing like cooking with someone, which will bring out the best and worst in people. Ariane says that she's not one to put herself out there, and she doesn't take praise well, so that's one of the reasons she got into the competition -- to force herself to learn to do both those things.

The shopping trips begin! Richard and Jamie (two-thirds of Team Rainbow) are competing in Astoria/Greek food. Jamie collects an assortment of olives, and plans a fish dish. Hosea and Carla have Brighton Beach/Russian. While they shop, Hosea jokes that he can't read any of the labels because presumably they are in Russian. He's never cooked Russian food, so he's trying to use smoked fish, sour cream, potatoes, crème fraiche, and caviar. Carla asks a counterperson if something is "the yummy yummiest." I'm assuming she was trying to overcome a language barrier, but that doesn't mean she's talking to a five-year-old. Carla interviews that she's looking for inspiration from her "spirit guides." That's how she cooks. I wish her spirit guides could take corporeal form so that they could also be interviewed. I imagine they would say, "This bitch is crazy. What do we know from Russian cooking?" And they would be in the form of centaurs, but with a unicorn horn.

Ariane and Stefan are cooking Long Island City/Middle Eastern. Ariane doesn't know Middle Eastern, so she's concerned. I can understand, I guess, never having cooked a particular region's foods, but I don't understand how you could not even be familiar with them. Have you ever read a restaurant review, or watched a television show, or God forbid, ate at a new kind of restaurant? I live in the sticks and I know where I could go to get all kind of types of food. It might not be great, but it's available. Jeff and Fabio are competing in Ozone Park/Latin. Jeff is confident that, living in Miami, he knows Latin, while Fabio is from Italy, so he might not know the Latin cuisine as well. I'm not sure I agree with his reasoning, but okay. Radhika and Jill have Jamaica/Caribbean. Jill is thinking of tropical fruits and rum.

Leah and Melissa are cooking Italian. Leah has lived in Little Italy and works in an Italian restaurant. Melissa is "a country mouse" and has no experience in Italian cuisine. I can understand not knowing modern Italian, but who doesn't at least have some clue about Italian food beyond chicken parm or whatever? Patrick and Daniel are cooking Chinese food. Patrick took a course in Asian cuisine, so he decides to cook black rice noodles, even though he's never worked with them before. Daniel is shocked that Patrick is telling him his food plans, since they are competing. Alex and Eugene are cooking Indian. Alex is shocked at the number of spices available. Eugene has never cooked Indian food, so he's nervous, but he's going to use his style of cooking with Indian ingredients. The pairs finish their shopping and head to the kitchen.

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Top Chef




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