‘Top Chef’: Who pocketed the pea puree?


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Things were off to a normal start on Wednesday night’s ‘Top Chef’ (well, normal for a competitive reality TV show at least). The contestants gathered ‘round to meet guest judge Aaron Schock, a strapping young congressman from Illinois who explained that due to ethics laws, mixers between lobbyists and congressional representatives are only allowed to have little nibbles served on toothpicks so that the power players aren’t swayed by lavish meals. The chefs were tasked with making small bites somewhat akin to an amuse bouche or canape served on a stick, packing as much flavor and ingenuity into one skewered morsel as possible.

The young judge liked Kevin’s grilled pork and mushroom kabob with sherry vinegar and Steven’s surf and turf on a stick, but Angelo took first in finger food with his cucumber cup with spiced shrimp and cashew, even though he thought the cuke element was out-of-date. Being a high-stakes challenge, he won $20,000 and immunity for the elimination.


The quickfire may have been based on ethics, but that didn’t seem to carry over into the elimination round.

The chefs were to make a power lunch at the Palm, where they were paired off and assigned different proteins. Angelo and Ed plucked knives that assigned them lobsters the size of small children, and Ed decided to craft a pea puree to spoon alongside the seafood. Chaos ensued when the chefs were shuttled to the Palm’s kitchen and Ed’s puree went missing in action.

He should have minded his peas, because it appeared that Alex snapped them up. Suddenly, the L.A. chef, who had no game plan for his salmon the day before, had a beautiful pea puree in hand. No one knows for sure what happened, but the editing insinuated foul play.

Making the scene even more dramatic, Alex and Ed end up in the top three alongside Tiffany. Turns out Art Smith and the gang thought the pea puree was worth a win, giving Alex and his applewood smoked salmon with black forbidden rice and English pea puree an edge up. His dish won a spot on the Palms menu, as well as a painted caricature of his mug on the wall -- snazzy glasses and all.

Kevin, Kelly and Andrea ended up on the bottom. Even though Kelly’s porterhouse with crispy potato arugula salad and roasted shallot demi-glace was violently over-salted, Andrea’s pan-seared swordfish with gooey couscous, asparagus and overly saccharine vanilla/mustard beurre blanc was the weakest link. She now has to do the walk of shame back to Miami, which rival Michelle Bernstien should get a kick out of.

But the question still remains: Was Alex being honest? The editing left that up to viewers. It’s fairly safe to say that after that episode, those two won’t be getting along like two peas in a pod.


-- Krista Simmons

Follow me on Twitter @kristasimmons