Top Chef

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The Big Apple

Leah and Melissa present their Italian food. Leah admits that she knows the area well. She created a farro risotto with seared snapper and mushrooms. Note that her risotto is the same that Ariane attempted, so it's not impossible to do in the time they had. Melissa cooked a seared rib eye steak, with an arugula salad, fried mushrooms, and tomato sauce. I find Melissa's dish to be very unappealing on the plate -- it looks like a slab of meat with some greasy fried stuff on top. Tom likes that Leah married fish and more earthy ingredients, and all the judges think that Melissa needed a little more seasoning for it to be a big hit. Leah wins.

Daniel and Patrick went to Chinatown. Daniel made a poached chicken salad with bok choy, shitake mushrooms, and fried wontons. He also brought back my old friend, foam. I do not get foam. I understand that it would be kind of cool to study molecular gastronomy, and it's kind of cool that you can make foam. I just don't want to eat it. It reminds me of frog's eggs that you see floating on top of a pond. Anyway, Patrick made seared salmon, bok choy, and black rice noodles. Okay, first of all, I could totally make this dish and I am not a culinary student. In fact, I do make this dish all the time, minus the bok choy and plus something more appetizing than black noodles. Anyway, setting aside the simplicity of the dish, the presentation is terrible. He has a lump of noodles (maybe he's trying to hide them) beneath a chunk of bok choy, and then a giant slab of salmon balanced on top. As soon as I saw this one, I knew Patrick was in trouble. Patrick interviews that Jean-Georges will call him out because Asian is his specialty. Patrick admits to the judges that didn't know what he was doing with the noodles. Tom thinks the flavor is "one-note," and not sophisticated enough. Moving on to Daniel, the judges think his salad is too wet, and Tom points out that Wolfgang Puck's been making the same salad for many years, so it wasn't innovative and it wasn't well-executed. Gail wasn't inspired by either dish, but the judges can agree that Daniel's dish had more flavor, so Daniel wins.

Alex and Eugene present their Indian food. Alex made grilled lamb chops with a spicy ragout and basmati rice. Eugene made masala rub lamb rack with basmati macadamia nut tzatziki. Eugene admits that he's never cooked Indian food before. Alex thinks his Latin experience translates to Indian. I'm not sure about that, other than the spices. The judges think Alex's dish is well seasoned. Padma says that Eugene has accidentally created a classic Indian dish called curds and rice, and the judges are very impressed. Eugene wins.

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Top Chef

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