Top Chef

Episode Report Card
Chuck: B- | Grade It Now!
It's A Sabotage!

Now it's Sam who must answer Andrew's burning question, "Do you like burritos?" "I do," says Sam. But does he like spring rolls? Because that's essentially what Richard's done, calling them grilled tuna burritos with lentils and quinoa in a rice paper tortilla with fresh lime juice and hot sauce. Ted thinks "it tastes better than it looks, fortunately," while Colicchio digs it and one of the cops offers his opinion that it would make a lovely summer meal. Lisa walks Colicchio through her shrimp (yes, everyone knows it's just "a little bit") stir-fry with brown rice and pineapple hot sauce, fresh berries and Greek yogurt on the side. Lisa should be nervous about her rice because, no surprise, it's undercooked -- "way," grunts Sam -- but the spiciness of the hot sauce appeals to Ted and a couple of cops, one of whom looks like a very blond Jake Gyllenhaal, at least in profile.

Service wraps as Andrew does the robot and expresses hope that the judges will respect the different route he took. Dale cops to being really nervous because for once, there's neither a clear winner nor a clear loser. He just needs the editors -- they always let you know who's going to end up where. In terms of first-impression judging, Sam, who comes from a family of cops, says he liked several of the dishes and he didn't like others. Deep. Colicchio believes that the only way to get people to be healthy is to serve them food that tastes good. Deeper. And with that, they've got their favorites, and it's back to the judges' table.

Back in the stew room, Lisa's still claiming sabotage to anyone who will listen. Spike wonders if they all had to use at least one ingredient from each of the four groups, or if it was merely a suggestion, and the question seems to be resolved in favor of the former -- it was a requirement. This makes Andrew a bit wary, since he didn't (as he now tells the rest of the group) use a whole grain. Padma appears and cuts the chat short, summoning Dale and Stephanie (just two top performers this week) to the table. After it's confirmed that these two did the best, Ted wonders how their idea of a typical Chicago cop lunch informed their dishes. Dale explains that he really wanted to offer something hearty, and Colicchio, highlighting the bison's fifty-percent-less-fat-than-beef factoid, and its beefy goodness, praises Dale for making a nutritious choice that also delivers a familiar food sensation.

Stephanie's biggest challenge was using the whole grain, as she doesn't include a lot of grains on her menus and had never before used barley, but she was pleased with the final results as they left the kitchen. True, says Ted, and even better: The soup was quite well-seasoned, in a season in which a lot of the chef-testants have had trouble with, uh, seasoning. Guest judge Sam gets to choose the ultimate winner. The one who "really embodied the challenge" with a dish that was "a little bit more substantial, a little bit more unique" was Dale. Another victory (well-deserved, in my opinion) for Dale -- and it is nice to see Stephanie back on solid footing. For his troubles, Dale wins a magnum of Rutherford Hill 2002 merlot, as well as two tickets to visit the Napa Valley winery (Padma doesn't clarify if that means entry tickets to the winery, or air tickets to California). Dale doesn't want to brag, so he does -- five wins out of twenty, which is, admittedly, a pretty impressive showing.

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Top Chef




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