As we begin this week’s episode of “Top Chef,” I have to ask: Did anyone really miss Beverly? Over the past few weeks I had rooted for her because I love an underdog, but let’s be real: The woman was annoying.
This week the final six, or top six as Lindsay points out, are ready for the tough challenges. So bring it on!
With every season of “Top Chef” there are a few staple Quickfire competitions. There is the cooking with junk food and the taste-test challenge (which I am still waiting for!). Tonight, the cheftestants are hit with the speed Quickfire.
Padma, along with Emeril Lagasse and Cat Cora, the host of Bravo’s new show “Around the World in 80 Plates,” greets the chefs and separates them into teams of two.
Grayson and Chris J. are team Green, Sarah and Lindsay are team Red, and Paul and Ed are team White. In 40 minutes the chefs must make their own fettuccini from scratch, peel, de-vein, and butterfly shrimp, and shuck and grate corn from the cob. Oh and then, you know, cook a delicious dish with the remaining time. Say what?!
Sarah and Lindsay speed through the Quickfire and gloat about how amazing their fettuccini with corn milk shrimp, tarragon and parsley tastes. It's so good that Sarah says she would eat it every day.
Even though the Green and White team struggle through their prep, they each have a solid 10 minutes of cooking, which leaves them flustered. Paul is so flustered that he forgets to put the shrimp on the plate, disqualifying the White team.
In a head-to-head between the Green and Red teams, Cat Cora announces that Grayson and Chris win the Quickfire because, much like Schmidt from “New Girl,” Sarah needs to learn that there is such a thing as too much tarragon.
In a typical reality-TV twist, Padma lets the chefs know that their ally during the Quickfire is now their direct opponent.
The pair have to choose a dish that they will each make for 200 people at a block party furnished by Healthy Choice. They'll go head-to-head, and the guests will vote for the better of the two dishes. Sarah and Lindsay choose meatballs, Grayson and Chris J. choose chicken salad sandwiches, and Ed and Paul choose Asian beef barbecue.
Padma loves their choices, but oh, hey, she forgot to tell them that they need to make healthy versions of your dish!
I feel so bad for Chris and Grayson, because there is almost no way a chicken salad sandwich can be good for you! Seriously, the chicken salad sandwich is what people order that are pretending to be on a diet. Scrap chicken? Check. Mayonnaise? Check. Salt? Check. Bread? Check. Delicious? Check! That is totally going to help your blood pressure go down!
Chris J. uses a crazy tofu paste to hold his salad together. He manages to bring the caloric intake way down, but he also strips the sandwich of its flavor. To save time as well, he makes his sandwiches before they get to the venue, which dries out the chicken and makes the bread soggy.
Grayson’s sandwich isn’t the most healthful choice, but it is tasty. She makes all of her sandwiches to order, which keeps everything fresh.
The Asian showdown -- Paul’s words not mine -- decide to cook Kalbi sandwiches. Ed goes the traditional route and uses short rib for his dish, but cuts off all the fat which, and this goes for every dish ever, is the best tasting part of the meat. He bakes his own bread but does not really make a great effort to stay away from the unhealthy aspects of Kalbi.
Paul, the man who basically reserved a spot in the finale weeks ago, hits his dish out over the Mexican border. He makes turkey Kalbi with grilled eggplant wrapped in a romaine lettuce leaf that somehow remains crisp and fresh in 105 degrees. Whenever someone asks him what his dish’s unhealthy origin is like, he points to Ed and says it tastes like his. Burn brought to you by Paul.
The ladies each make standout healthful meatball dishes. Sarah’s turkey and whole wheat meatball impresses the judges, especially Emeril, because wheat usually dries out meat, yet she is able to keep her balls juicy … Schweddy, some might say.
Lindsay strays from the standard Italian meatball and makes a Greek lamb-and-veal ball that is topped with Greek yogurt instead of marinara. The judges thoroughly enjoy her interpretation.
Lindsay and Sarah are the only pairing without a distinct winner by the time the Judges’ Table comes around.
Much to no one's surprise Paul, Grayson, and Lindsay are called to the Judges’ Table because their dishes were the best of the day.
Tom, inquisitive as ever, questions Grayson’s choice to cook chicken salad sandwiches because it is such a simple endeavor. The exchange is classic:
Tom: “You have to win this against dishes that are potentially much more exciting than a chicken salad sandwich.”
Grayson: “Like a meatball?”
Grayson is ballsy and I like it! I bet men fear her in the kitchen.
Shocker, shocker, Paul wins the challenge and $15,000 bring his grand total to $45,000 this season. Who needs that $100,000 in the finale, right?
As the winners return to the stew room for much-needed libations, Ed, Sarah, and Chris face the judges.
Though Sarah and Ed had bumps, the judges could not get over Chris J.’s sandwich. The samurai chef from Chicago got the boot over a chicken salad sandwich. He is so pissed at himself that I fear he may perform seppuku! Stay strong, young sensei.
So, Top Cheffers, what do you think? I know that with time counting down, people we learned to love will be sent home, but that doesn’t make losing Chris any easier. Do you think that havingPee-Wee Hermanas the guest judge next week might ease the pain of a Chris J-less episode? Leave your comments below!
PS: Padma’s romper was a little too “I’m on spring break in Cancun!” for someone with a child to wear, right?
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