Top Chef

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The Theft of the Pea Purée

Tiffany: swordfish with olive and raisin tapenade, broccolini with bacon. The judges note that she overcooked the fish, but think that her dish is unique in a good way. Tiffany notes in an interview that she knows she overcooked the dish and she's pissed because she's made it many times before and it should have been perfect.

Andrea: pan-seared swordfish with "risotto style" couscous, asparagus, and vanilla bean mustard buerre blanc.The diners think the sauce is really sweet and rich, and Art Smith worries about what it will do to him. He lost a ton of weight recently, right? So he knows how to avoid calories. People are split on whether the addition of vanilla was a good idea.

Stephen and Alex are plating their food while the diners discuss which burger is their favorite.

Stephen presents pan-seared salmon with warm vegetable salad and Worcestershire vinaigrette. The dish is too heavy and messy, which is actually a good description of Stephen himself.

Alex: applewood smoke salmon with black forbidden rice and English pea puree. The pea puree is singled out as a great addition, and Art Smith says that he likes the sweetness coming from peas instead of squeezing lemon on top. Another diner points out that the portion is great for lunch, because you feel satisfied and not gross.

Ed and Angelo are rushing to get their food ready. Ed, in particular, is scrambling. Kenny is saucing something -- not sure if he's helping Angelo or Ed. But all of the plates go out on time.

Angelo: butter-poached lobster with lobster froth and jicama, arugula, and pear salad. Gail says she has "a chewing issue" because the lobster is tough. The non-culinary diners are put off by the foam, which thank you! I've been saying since Marcel that foam is weird and no one but other chefs and food snobs thinks that it's a good idea. Maybe this is my country showing, but it always just looks like frog or fish eggs to me, and not in a caviar kind of way.

Ed: poached lobster ballantine, eggplant caviar, and English pea-asparagus fricassee. The lobster and eggplant are great and flavorful, but the judges ironically find the peas unnecessary.

With little introduction, Kenny serves peppered lamb, fig-pistachio bread pudding, and vanilla-morel demi-glace. The diners are intrigued by the sauce, which is kind of sweet. They think the lamb is great, but felt it needed some greens somehow.

Kevin: broiled double-cut lamb chops with olive and goat cheese rissole, mache, and tomato concasse. His lamb is overcooked (maybe because it was cooked twice) and tough, and all of the flavors are too strong to work together. Gail calls it "a silky smooth puree of fire," indicating that it's too spicy even for her.

Tom joins the other judges (Gail, Padma, and Art Smith) to hash things out a bit before meeting with the cheftestants. Tom says that it was kind of chaotic in the kitchen, with things being thrown about and lots of running around. I'm not sure if their kitchen behavior is being included in the judging; it's an interesting idea. Can someone be chaotic in the kitchen and still produce a good plate? Art Smith has to bring up his bullshit "food is love" thing which bugs me. I mean, I love to serve food to the people I love, and I get what he's saying about food having soul, but to judge people in a made-up cooking competition over whether or not their food was served with love is ridiculous.

In the kitchen, Ed is still trying to figure out who took his puree. Kevin walks over to find out what they're whispering about, and Tiffany tries to put him off because she's smart enough to stay out of the drama, but Ed just says he wants to know who stole the puree. Kevin interviews that no one knows for sure, but it's clear everyone thinks Alex took it. The judges, meanwhile, have made their preliminary decisions and are heading to Judges' Table.

Weird interstital thing. In the Stew Room, Stephen delivers a sarcastic seminar about how to be on the bottom. The clips we see are not all that hysterical, but the cheftestants are all laughing pretty hard, so either they're drunk or he's funny.

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