Okay, I know I have been saying for weeks that this season is boring, but the dullness reached new heights last night, as I actually FELL ASLEEP in the middle of the episode. I have never fallen asleep during Top Chef before.
The quickfire challenge was judged by Marcus Samuelsson, and it charged the chefs to create a dish inspired by Ethiopian cuisine (and Chef Samuelsson gives the contestants a quick-and-dirty lesson in the flavors of the region). As he explains injera, I can’t help but gag a little – I just hate the texture of that stuff (but I will spare you my gross nickname for it). It seems like about half the chefs have some experience with Ethiopian food, while the other half have never even eaten it. Kevin, Stephen, and Alex wind up in the bottom for various sins, and Amanda, Angelo, and Tiffany come out on top. In the end, Tiffany – who had zero experience with Ethiopian food – wins the challenge and scores immunity.
Padma and Chef Samuelsson roll out a big map, and they tell the chefs that they will be cooking a dish inspired by the country they choose (and they draw knives to make their selections). They will serve their food for various ambassadors at the Meridian House (I’ve been there!), and they won’t have any cooking equipment besides sternos. Alex takes Spain, and I just know in my heart that he is going to butcher my very favorite food culture ever. Stephen picks last and ends up with Brazil, which I think is all kinds of awesome, but he doesn’t really seem to know what to do with it. The chefs all go shopping, and Kenny grumbles about being in the middle. It must be because the judges think you’re a threat, Kenny. Stephen remembers that he’s been to a Brazilian steakhouse, so that’s the direction he’s going. Tom walks through as the contestants are prepping and cooking, and Kevin says he’s worried about the Indian ambassador eating his food. Tom responds that Kevin SHOULD be worried about what Padma thinks. Tee.
This is about the point I fell asleep, so I’ll skip ahead to judgment. The top dogs are Kevin, Kelly, and Tiffany. Tiffany wins for her tamales, and she gets $10,000. DC Central Kitchen also gets a $10,000 donation, and Jose Andres gets all sappy and adorable. I heart him so much – anyone who is not following him on Twitter needs to get on the stick, because he is hilarious.
The bottom three are Stephen, Alex, and Ed. Ed’s duck was apparently too fatty and not tea-infused enough, and Jose Andres says that Alex’s Spanish-inspired dish was “a little nightmare” (only he says it in his awesome accent and it is fabulous). Nothing about Stephen’s dish was done well, but his rice especially was mealy and overcooked. Stephen goes home, and he is incredibly gracious and calm about it, which is awesome.
Next week…RESTAURANT WARS!!! It looks like Angelo bugs out quite a bit, so it should be interesting. Here’s hoping, anyway.