Top Chef

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Wild Blue Yonder
crap. As Jen checks in with one of the Voltaggios about his dish, she overhears Hector telling Jesse some bullshit story about a brewery. You can tell Jessie is only half-listening and also trying to figure out when she's going to cook her chowder. Jen walks over and tells Hector to focus on cooking and have the side conversations later. Awesome. Love her.

So now Mattin is working on his b├ęchamel and Jesse needs to cook. Jen walks over and says that they can use the wok right now, and I'm not sure why they can't reduce their cream in the wok, but Ron decides they can't, and they're better off waiting for the skillet. Not sure what the big difference is there, but okay. There are only thirty minutes left and everyone frantically packs up food to be transported to the dining area. Everyone finishes on time! Yay!

The cheftestants are transported via convoy to a giant hangar that looks all polished and shiny. Jen helps to figure out how to set up the buffets, and she decides on two rows that are identical to get people through the line faster. Ash and Ashley realize that they don't have a lot of complicated plating to do, so they volunteer to help with refills and utensils and whatnot.

Preeti and Invisible Laurine uncover their pasta salad and realize that the pasta is still warm and it's expanding. That also means that it's absorbing any dressing so the salad is going to dry out more quickly, and the pasta is going to be mushy and overcooked. And the flavors will be really strong. That's why you're supposed to shock the pasta in cold water after cooking; so that the pasta stops cooking and won't get all mushy. Preeti and Invisible Laurine don't seem all that concerned. Well, Laurine looks mildly concerned and Preeti seems to think it's an advantage. She interviews that she is worried that their dish is too simple compared to the others.

Eli expresses some concern that Ron and Jesse are serving chowder on such a hot day. Mike V. has to go show Mike I. how to plate his dish, since it involves putting a piece of pork in a romaine lettuce leaf. Jen suggests building the "taco" in advance, but Mike V. doesn't want that and explains exactly what he does want. Since it's his dish, they all just kind of agree with him.

The judges arrive with Colonel Belote and Mark Peel, and then the troops arrive. I don't know what Padma is wearing. It's a leopard print mini-dress that would seem more appropriate for the cocktail lounge than a noon luncheon in a hangar. Oh, Padma. Incapable of just wearing casual Friday clothes, apparently.

The troops start heading through the line, and apparently their family members have been invited as well as there are people out of uniform and kids and whatnot. There are a few more various speeches about what an honor it is to serve this group. Finally the judges start going through the line, and we get a list of dishes as follows:

Mike I. (I'm listing him alone because they didn't really work as a team): Greek salad with cucumbers, chickpeas, olives, and olive-oil poached shrimp

Preeti and Laurine: Pasta salad with broccoli, peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, and artichoke hearts

Jesse and Ron: New England clam chowder with roasted corn

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Top Chef

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