Top Chef D.C. Episode 10 Recap

It seems like the tables are starting to turn. The early frontrunners are losing steam while those who started in the middle of the pack are starting to pull ahead. Most of the chefs were shaken up my Alpha Male’s early departure, yet they didn’t step up their game at all. Most of the dishes were uninspired and lacked creativity – except for our girl Tiffany’s dishes, of course. Last night proved she’s in it to win it.

The QFC really threw the chefs for a loop. They were presented with four mystery boxes filled with ingredients that they must incorporate into a dish. Jicama, hominy, black garlic, fava beans, and ramp were just a few of the strange ingredients they had to work with. Professional sideburn grower molecular gastronomy expert Wylie Dufrense was the guest judge.

Sure, we’ve seen the chefs run around like chickens with their heads cut off before, but never like this. Angelo was so stressed out that he was sweating into his food. Gross! Alex had a ping-pong match going on in his head. Amanda was slicing things up, throwing them in a pot, and hoping for a miracle. By the looks of the chefs at the end of the challenge, you would have thought they had just completed the Ironman.

Chops wasn’t a fan of Alex’s fava bean puree or Amanda’s crispy striped bass. He liked Kevin’s pan seared fish but thought Tiffany’s fish stew was the best. She sure knows which Quick Fires to win – this was the second time she’s snagged 10,000 bucks. She says her fiancée will be thrilled. Angelo is bummed that his fiancée will have to stay in Russia a little longer. (Speaking of, why has he withheld this little nugget of information for so long?)

This week’s elimination challenge was a “case of national security.” The chefs must disguise a classic dish. The twist? Their creations will be served to CIA officers! On a side note, I was disappointed to find that the secret agents weren’t dressed in all black and wearing sunglasses.  Sad. Anyways, they drew knives to see which traditional dish they would be disguising.

The point was simple: keep the flavors the same but change its look. Yet, some of the chefs couldn’t quite figure this out. Amanda turned French onion soup into, well, soup. Kevin did the same with his cobb salad. Ed’s idea of a “disguise” was to serve his chicken cordon bleu inside out. They had so much room to be creative but none of them went for it. This isn’t the time to play it safe!

Those who tried to get creative didn’t have much luck either. Angelo thought his idea to serve beef wellington pizza was brilliant. He didn’t even think twice about buying frozen puff pastries for the crust, even though that is exactly what sent Crazy Dreadlock Guy home in the first episode.  Alex decided to serve his veal parmesan in a tortellini. He had the right idea but executed it poorly.

The judges liked Tiffany’s deconstructed gyro. Eric Ripert said it was the most elegant gyro he’s ever eaten in his life. One of the CIA guys said he would order it anywhere. Although Ed’s chicken cordon bleu wasn’t disguised, they thought every component was executed perfectly. They also liked that Kelly thought outside of the box. Her kung pow shrimp soup was balanced perfectly. Our girl Tiffany’s gyro won the judges over in the end. She went two for two again! And she’ll be taking a trip to Paris with her fiancée!

The judges thought that Angelo, Amanda, and Alex “disguised themselves as really poor cooks.” Ouch! They were disappointed that Angelo didn’t push the envelope. They also weren’t pleased that he used store-bought puff pastries. No surprise there. I was surprised, however, that Angelo didn’t shine in this challenge – it seemed right up his alley. They called Amanda out for not disguising her soup at all. And while they liked Alex’s idea, they couldn’t get past the toughness of the veal.

I was worried the judges might make the wrong decision and send Angelo packing, just like they did last week with Alpha Male. Luckily, they came to their senses and finally sent Alex home. It’s about time!

One comment on “Top Chef D.C. Episode 10 Recap

  1. I love Top Chef and have watched every episode every season. They have finally whittled it down to the ones I think who actually have a shot at winning it. Go Tiffany, and that little engine that could Amanada.