The QFC was a familiar one for those acquainted with Top Chef. The cheftestants were asked to choose a wine and pair a dish with it. Padma stood in as a cater waiter while Food & Wine editor-in-chief and Ed’s only Facebook friend Dana Cowin judged the chefs’ pairings.
Our girl Tiff said that wine pairing isn’t her biggest strength. She has a “wine guy” at her restaurant that handles that sort of thing. “Lawd have mercy,” she slurred. She might have had more than just a taste of the wine. Whatever it takes to get inspired, Tiff! The Lawd had enough mercy to put her in the top but not enough to give her the win. Angelo’s foie gras pairing snagged him the victory and a trip to London. Most importantly, he got his mojo back.
Kevin’s desperate attempt to save his uncooked pork belly fell short. He had a feeling that his quail and red wine pairing wouldn’t go over well with Cowin and he was right. Kelly’s bleu cheese foam took her dish off course, landing her in the bottom as well. Ed slipped through unnoticed.
In order to get a free ticket to Singapore, the chefs must create a dish that’s “out of this world.” The chefs got a mysterious note telling them that their ride to the final D.C. challenge was waiting outside. Seeing as the challenge was held at NASA, I was hoping for a rocket ship. I was disappointed to find that it was just a Toyota Avalon. I guess that’s more practical considering the winner of the challenge got to take it home.
The chefs arrived at the set of Apollo 13 where a mad scientist told them the rules of cooking space food. Dishes that are low in sugar and high in spice tend to freeze-dry well. “Shoot for the stars!” she said. They cooked for astronauts such as Buzz Aldrin, the second man to set foot on the moon. Anthony Bourdain served as guest judge.
Other than a small tiff between Ripert and Bourdain at the Judges’ Table, this challenge remained surprisingly drama free. The only mishap in the kitchen was when Tiffany’s mussels froze and she had to re-think her dish.
Kelly prepared pan-roasted halibut with a salsa verde salad. They liked the crispiness of the artichokes and thought the fish was cooked nicely. Ed decided to take a trip to Morocco and prepared a rack of lamb served with hummus and couscous. The dish was a hit but what will they do with those pesky bones? They can’t just throw them out! Kevin brought his dish “down to earth” with New York strip steak. Although the steak was perfectly cooked, Bourdain thought he played it safe. Tiffany did everything she could to make up for the lack of mussels by adding lots of flavor. It worked for the most part. Tom said it was well cooked but the tomatoes were mealy and the pepper was bitter. Angelo served up ginger lacquered short ribs. Hmm. Didn’t the mad scientist just tell them to stay away from sweet things? Apparently the fact that he “made love to his short ribs” excused him from that rule.
The judges thought all five dishes were excellent. The difference between the winner and loser was slim. They named Angelo the winner and told our girl Tiffany to pack her knives and go. Seriously?! Angelo didn’t follow the rules set forth by the mad scientist and Tiff has been in the top almost every challenge! It just doesn’t make sense.
So the four remaining chefs (Angelo, Kelly, Kevin, and Ed) are off to Singapore to battle it out in the final two challenges. Why flee the country? Did the CIA kick them out of D.C.?