Top Chef

Episode Report Card
Kim: B | 3 USERS: B-
Corn or Flour?

For the Green Team, Richie made tapioca chicharron with pork carnitas. Blanca notes that it's crispy but soggy in the middle, and the judges agree. Her family members, however, find it to be very authentic. Paul made shrimp yuzu ceviche with corn salsa and yucca chips, which Tom thinks is the best of all the appetizers they had, and had the best flavors.

Now it's time for the judges to hit the buffet line, but first we see some shots of people congratulating Blanca on both the occasion and how good the food looks. One teen boy has two loaded plates and can't wait to dig in. Neither can Blanca. I love that they found a teenaged girl who is cute and happy and loves to eat. The judges head for the Pink Team's line first. Nyesha made tilapia ceviche with crispy plantain chips and spiced popcorn. Tom looks a bit confused that she used tilapia. That does seem like an odd fish to use in ceviche; it's not like it has much flavor. Chris Hollywood made choclo con chile. Keith made chicken enchiladas with salsa verde. Sarah hands out the tortillas for Ty-Lor's dish, and admits to Padma that they are store-bought. Ty-Lor's dish is carne asada with pinto beans. And finally (at least up until dessert), Sarah and Lindsay made cochinita pibil.

The judges start with Nyesha's ceviche; Tom likes the flavors but finds the texture to be a little mealy. They move on to Keith's enchilada, and Hugh immediately points out that it was a mistake for Keith to use a flour tortilla, because it absorbed all the sauce and got doughy. Good point - enchiladas are one of the tortilla-based foods that you bake in sauce, and a flour tortilla would just get mushy. Tom liked the flavors, but Hugh thinks that Keith really made a burrito. Well, a wet burrito, but again even then, you usually add the sauce after baking (unless you like your burritos mushy). The judges don't like the texture of Sarah and Lindsay's dish, with Johnny wondering what cut of meat they even used. Tom has a bigger problem; he can't understand why they used store-bought tortillas, because they taste store-bought. Padma and Tom both like Ty-Lor's carne asada (although they don't seem to ding him for the store-bought tortillas). But their favorite is Chris Hollywood's corn dish.

Moving on to the Green Team. Blanca goes first and seems delighted with all the food. The judges arrive and Edward serves his tomatillo gazpacho with watermelon, jicama, and pork rinds. Next up is Chris Moto who made green chile, mushroom, and Oaxaca cheese empanadas. Chuy the Token Mexican made braised goat birria, cabbage, red peanut salsa and handmade queso fresco. Beverly made what she calls a Korean-Mexican fusion of beef short rib asada with pina kimchi. Tom notes that it sounds like a food truck, which I think is a compliment? Grayson made chicken in ancho pepita mole with pickled red onion, crema, and lime. The judges made excited noises, so they like the sound and smell of her dish, I guess, even though she also uses store-bought tortillas.

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Top Chef




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