Top Chef

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Kim: A | 1 USERS: A+
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Latin and French Don't Mix
In a hurry? Read the recaplet for a nutshell description!

If you'll just indulge me for one quick second, I recently found out that this will be the 900th recap I've had published on the site, and the site itself is nearing its ten-year anniversary in a few weeks. I just want to thank all those who are still out there reading and all those who gave me the opportunity to discuss, as Homer Simpson called it, "Television -- teacher, mother, secret lover."

And on with the show. Hector makes coffee for everyone using a French press, or it might be espresso, since they all seem to be drinking shot glasses of it. Mike I. interviews that he feels like he almost gets to the top every time, and he just needs to take that extra step. Yeah, if only those useless women would get out of his way!

Meanwhile, some other chefs are sitting outside chatting and Robin is all by her lonesome. Does no one like her, or did she just want some solitude? The other chefs are talking about how many big-name chefs are in Vegas, so any one of them could show up for a challenge. Robin interviews that she's annoyed that it's been all women to go home thus far, and she doesn't want the men to get too cocky. So then everyone packs their knives and heads to Daniel Boulud's Brasserie.

They're greeted by Colicchio and Daniel Boulud. Colicchio gives him an introduction, explaining how he's a legend, but Eli sums it up by saying that "he's the baddest motherfucker there is" when it comes to French food. Colicchio says that a lot of Americans are eating French food these days, but the one French food that hasn't made the cut yet is the humble snail. Jen explains that snails are a delicate protein, and thus difficult to prepare, and she observes that "whoever thought a snail looked good to eat had to be really fucking hungry." I seriously love her more every day.

So the Quickfire Challenge is to make a dish using snails as the main protein. Boulud adds that he expects to see a dish he's never seen before. And then Colicchio drops the bomb: the winner of this Quickfire will get immunity and the loser will be going home. It's a Quickfire Elimination, y'all! Damn. And over snails! I would be so pissed if I had to go home because of snails. They have forty-five minutes to cook, and they can use whatever they can find in Boulud's kitchen and pantry.

Time starts. Kitchen clusterfuck. Ashley is already cursing like a sailor. Everyone is running around like a crazy person. Mike I. reveals that his cooking background is Greek, and snails are a delicacy in Crete, so he feels like he knows what to do, and can probably bring some different flavors, since everyone else will likely give their dishes a French flair. Kevin explains that snails don't have a lot of inherent flavor so you boost the flavor with what you add to the dish. Hector is worried since French food is totally not his thing.

Ron can't find his snails and Robin says she has some, but they belong to her. And then suddenly somehow, they are actually Ron's and Robin effed up? It's all very confusing. But I took it to mean that Robin is annoying. Mattin feels like he has an advantage, because did you know he's from France? Also, his neckerchief is bugging me, and not just because it's the same item my dog wears around his neck when he comes home from the groomer. Jesse doubts herself (like every week) and hopes to climb out of the bottom (like every week). Time's up!

This is pretty much going to be a listing of the dishes because the judges didn't make much comment, and I don't know enough about escargot to offer up any useful commentary myself. Ron made escargot Provencal with caramelized shallots, pernod, and fresh herbs. Jen made escargot with grilled ramps, Brussels sprouts, chanterelle mushrooms, and yuzu. Boulud thinks the yuzu is a nice addition. Jesse made an ELT: escargot, maché, and a fried tomato. Colicchio asks about her inspiration but she has nothing to say.

Invisible Laurine made sautéed escargot, lemon risotto, spinach, parsley pesto, and garlic butter. Hector made Caribbean escargot with pickled mushrooms. Robin made "bagels and lox": poached escargot, marmalade, gooseberries, and rye crostini.

Mattin made fava bean crostini with escargot sautéed in a piment d'Espelette (sort of like paprika) and anise. Ashley made escargot mirepoix soup and salad. The salad looks like some sprouts tossed on a plate. BORING! And a mirepoix soup doesn't sound that tasty, since mirepoix is usually the beginning of a soup, not the end result. Kevin made escargot fricassee with mushrooms, Brussels sprouts, and candied bacon jam. He smeared the jam on the plate and it just looks like a shit stain. I'm sorry, but it does. Perhaps not the best plating choice.

Bryan made escargot with red wine risotto, spinach emulsion, and Marcona almond froth. Ooh, froth. I hate that shit. It looks like someone spit on the snails. Michael Volt made escargot and chanterelle mushroom Bolognese lasagna. Mike I. made sautéed escargot over potato garlic puree, spring onion, and ouzo broth.

All of the chefs are gathered to hear the results. Boulud announces that the top three were Mike I., Kevin, and Jen. And the winner is...Kevin! Man, there is a clear division between the top and the bottom this season, and it's happening early. The bottom three were Jesse, Ashley, and Robin. But rather than decide on a snail dish, the bottom three get to go back into the kitchen and create an amuse-bouche in twenty minutes. Colicchio calls time and they sprint back into the kitchen.

Ashley interviews that the kitchen is a mess, and she can't find anything. All three are really stressed out, but Jesse says that she feels good because she has to make an amuse-bouche at her restaurant every night. And really, if they've ever watched the show before, they would know that they should have a perfect one in their back pocket for just such circumstances.

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