Top Chef

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Three Courses, No Waiting

Kelly and Andrea are up next. Kelly thinks their dish is awesome, and if she goes home for this dish, the judges don't know what they're talking about. The dish is braised beef short rib, polenta, shiitake mushrooms, and citrus gremolata. The judges think it has good flavor, even if the polenta is a little stiff.

Arnold talks a mile a minute in his interview as he explains that he knows the judges will either think he's crazy to serve a plate of spaghetti, or they will think he's being more creative than his peers. Lynne and Arnold serve, and Arnold explains that the dish is pineapple red curry mussels with squid ink pasta and focaccia. It all looks kind of sad and brown and drowning in sauce. The judges immediately note that the pasta is undercooked. Would this travel well? Wouldn't the pasta soak up all the juice?

Back in the Stew Room, the final three teams talk to the other cheftestants about how they did. Padma comes in and calls all three teams out to talk to the judges. She explains that one team had the best dish of the day and one team will be eliminated. This is another problem. One team didn't have the best dish of the day. One team had two bad dishes, and then managed to make a better dish than the bottom two. So it's really like the third worst dish of the day. Bah.

Nora (who got like no screen time as the guest judge) explains that the winning team had the best flavors, and that was Kelly and Andrea. They are incredibly relieved. They get their dish on the Hilton menu, but they also get a trip to either Spain or Italy. This takes up so much time, but it's part of the product placement. It just stands out in an episode that felt rushed due to the volume of dishes presented.

So now the other two teams have to face the music. Lynne is asked if she was happy with the dish. Lynne says she was, but she thinks the pasta was undercooked. Arnold is like, "Girl, what?" She apparently never shared that observation with him. Arnold goes on and on about how awesome their dish was, and clearly it wasn't, or they would have won, so he might show a bit of self-awareness here. Lynne is a Grumpy Gus, going on and on about what was wrong with the dish. I'm not sure which approach is better.

Kenny and Kevin are asked why they didn't include more glaze, and Kenny says that they didn't want to add more sodium to the dish. Tom forces them to say whether they thought it had enough glaze, and Kenny says that he thought it did. Strike one. Eric asks about the flavor, and explains that he couldn't taste the horseradish. Strike two. Tom asks about their concept, and Kevin says that they thought guests would like it, it was delicious, and just made sense. I think they do have that on their sides; more people would order short ribs than black pasta with black mussels, generally. So no strike three.

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Top Chef

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