Top Chef 5/28 Live Blog

Quickfire Challenge:

So our chefs get taken right into Allen Brothers which does meat. The chefs were long bone dry aged ribeyes. So it is obvious this is going to have to do with the quickfire. They all got a whole ribeye and were to cut individual chops and they have to be frenched. They had 20 minutes to get out 7 chops. One perfectly done chop was passed around before they began so the chefs got to see what was expected. Then they pack up the steaks and take them back to the Top Chef kitchen. When they arrived Padma and Rick Tramonto were waiting for them. To finish the last leg of the challenge they are to prepare a medium rare tomahawk steak. They had 30 minutes. The bottom set was Stephanie and Richard. Lisa, Spike and Antonia were on the top with Spike winning.

Elimination Challenge:

The 5 chefs were to take over Tramonto’s restaurant. They each had to be responsible for an appetizer and an entree. They can create these dishes from what they find in the restaurant. Spike’s reward was to pick ingredients first (or 5 minutes to choose). So Spike chose tomahawk and frozen scallops. They had 3 hours to create the menu. During prep Lisa says that she quit her job to do this. Spike realizes that all the scallops are torn and soaked so it will take a lot to drain them. I think that Spike made a big mistake at this level in the game but saved everyone else from making it. While scallops are a classic fancy appetizer, poor quality won’t help. Then Lisa with these Peanut Butter Mashed Potatoes. Wasn’t she on the team with the Butter Scotch Scallops that were disgusting? It didn’t help then and I don’t think these are a good idea either.

At an hour left before go time Tom tells them that he is going to expedite for them and he wants apps out in 10 minutes.

Antonia: Appetizer – Warm Mushroom Salad with Artichokes and a Poached Egg with a Bacon Vinegrette
Entree – Bone in RibEye with a Caramelized Shallot Gratin
Lisa: Appetizer – Grilled and Chilled Shrimp
Entree – New York Strip with Spicy Apple Caramel and Peanut Butter Mashed Potatoes
Richard: Appetizer – Hamachi with Sweetbreads
Entree – Beef Tenderloin with Potatoes and Turnips in Red Wine
Stephanie: Appetizer – Crisp Veal Sweetbreads with Golden Raisins and Pine Nuts
Entree – Beef Tenderloin with Wild Mushrooms and Apple Sauce
Spike: Appetizer – Seared Scallop with Hearts of Palms and Mushrooms
Entree – Tomahawk Chop with Sweet Potato puree.

Tom introduces the “VIPs” who are the previous winners Harold, Elan and Huang. Now for a moment to harsh on the former winners. The guys were all sitting at their table when the rest of the judges walked up, specifically Padma and Gayle. Not one of those young men got up, I am very disappointed (and yes I am really only 32). Apparently it was a shock to the chefs that they would have to do 6 tasting portions for the judges. Huang thought that Lisa’s appetizer need more sugar and Rick said he loved the lemon. They seemed to love Richard’s appetizer. No one seemed real happy with Spike’s Appetizer. Harold liked Stephanie’s appetizer but would have liked to see the pine nuts toasted. Who doesn’t toast pine nuts?? Every recipe or use I have seen for them says toast first. Gayle thought Antonia’s wasn’t impressive and everyone else seemed a little disappointed. Richard was taking a while in entrees. Rick liked the mash and there seemed to be overall disappointed with the meat. Elan liked the meat on Spike’s plate but nothing else. It seemed everyone loved Stephanie’s entree. Elan loved the fattiness of Antonia’s meat and Rick liked it the best.

Judging Table:

Before we get to the judging. In the waiting room there are only 5 chefs left but I think I saw 4 bottles of wine and Lisa was drinking a beer. That is a lot of alcohol. So they bring in everyone at once. They loved Richard’s appetizer but Rick would have liked more sweetbread. They felt Richard’s entree was uneven as far as doneness at the table. Tom said that he liked how even keel Stephanie was. Rick liked her appetizer. Gayle liked Lisa’s lemon but wished it was warm. Rick liked her entree if the skill would have been better. Tom liked the Antonia’s entree. Gayle liked Spike’s meat. Tom and Rick thought Spike’s willingness to use the frozen scallop was his mistake. That he should have changed direction when he saw they were frozen because chefs have to make these kind of quality decisions. Then Spike said that if they were bad quality they shouldn’t have been in the walk in to begin with. Rick said he would take the shot that he had them in the cooler but Spike had to take the shot for using them. Then as they walked out Spike went and shook Rick’s hand and said it was an honor and Tom looked a bit disgusted.

Then the judges were left alone to talk. Spike was shocked that he said that walk in comment. Rick thought that Stephanie was the most well rounded and Gayle said that Stephanie showed something new. Gayle said that Richard’s app was the best dish of the night. Over all everyone likes Antonia and the food. Spike was a disappointment with the scallops. Tom thinks that Lisa is apathetic and Padma thinks she focuses more on flavor than technique. Tom points out you can’t have flavor with out technique. It is clear that the choice for elimination is only between Lisa and Spike. The winner is Stephanie! She got Rick’s cookbook and a suite of GE Appliances that is in the Top Chef kitchen. Then they announce that Richard and Antonia are also safe and sent the top 3 out. Lisa has been at the bottom judges table 5 times and Spike 7 times. Spike was sent home.

So I will see you all back next week in Puerto Rico.

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