Trouble With Toast

Top Chef D.C. – Episode 6 | July 23, 2010

Remember a couple of episodes ago, when Kenny and Tamesha each won $10,000 for cooking baby food?  Good times, right?  Well, the duo are together again in the most recent episode, which, by and large, was more interesting than the previous ones – but still, I find myself hating nearly every contestant and every challenge.  We’ll see if this week marked the beginning of an upswing.

The chefs arrive at the Hinckley Hilton for their quickfire challenge, and they are greeted by Padma and Michelle Bernstein.  Shit, does that woman have a contract with Bravo or something?  I was beyond irritated to see her smirky little face – mostly because, come ON, there are TONS of amazing and award-winning chefs who call D.C. home, and yet the Top Chef brass chooses instead to fly “Michy” up from Florida.  The irritation factor only increased when Andrea started whining about how she and  Bernstein are rivals and there’s been some sort of competition or bad blood between them ever since they started their careers in Miami.  Many fans have asked why Bernstein would be judging in light of such a conflict of interest, but my personal line of thinking is that Andrea is full of shit and that the rivalry is all in her head.  But, either way, bah – annoying.

Anywho, the quickfire challenge involves some unusual proteins.  SOME.  In other words, some of the chefs are cooking with duck nuts and rattlesnake, while others get foie gras and ostrich (not exactly exotic, if you ask me).  They draw knives and the commence the bitching about their respective ingredients.  Amanda does an admirable job of sawing through her emu eggs (she’s scrappy, that one), and then Padma comes in and tells the chefs to take over the protein on their left.  Aw, snap.  Alex has to give up his foie and pick up the ostrich – poor, poor baby.  Kelly gets the emu egg and decides to make one big frickin’ omelet.  Andrea ends up with wild boar, which she says she’s not scared of because it’s like a steak.  Um.  Hi, Andrea?  Boar means PIG, you dolt.  And just look at the damn shape of the cut – I’m not a chef, and I knew right away that it was something like a shoulder that you’d have to cook low and slow in order to tenderize it.  Padma and Chef Bernstein rove around the room, and sure enough, the latter has something negative to say about Andrea’s dish – but I think it was because she cooked a boar chop like a steak (which made it chewy, natch) and NOT because Bernstein is secretly plotting against her.  Kelly’s emu omelet wins the day, and shockingly few testicle jokes were aired.

The elimination challenge is a Cold War challenge (oy, more politico puns), in which the chefs will prepare cold entrees and be – gasp – judged by their peers.  Each team will select a winning and losing dish from the other team; the two winners will be considered for the overall challenge victory, and the two losers will be up for elimination.  Kelly gets to sit out the challenge and try everyone’s food (some prize).  The chefs go hang out on the U.S.S. Sequoia for a while, and there is much talk about strategery and game-playing, thanks to Angelo loudly giving advice to his teammates.  The chefs whirl through Whole Foods, and it seems like a lot of people are doing cold seafood dishes.  Then, during prep time, Amanda runs into some problems with equipment and runs around like a loony bird, and Tamesha calmly and quietly interviews that she would strangle her in a heartbeat.  Damn, girl.  And here I though the former cokehead was the crazy one.

Team One is Amanda (chicken galantine), Kevin (some sort of surf and turf), Kenny (lamb two ways), Alex (lamb with beets and tzaziki), and Ed (salmon on pumpernickel and cucumber vichysoisse).  I don’t know if it was just editing, but the other contestants were SUPER harsh.  I mean, I don’t remember one positive thing they said, though they must have said SOMETHING positive about Kevin’s dish because they declared it the winner.  Everyone but Andrea says that Kenny’s dish is the loser – Andrea rightly calls Amanda out on the cartilage in the galantine, which Alex knew was in there (he tasted it) but didn’t tell Amanda.  Kind of a dick move, but no surprise coming from these fine specimens.

Team Two is Tiffany (seared Ahi tuna), Angelo (some kind of Asian salmon, shocker), Andrea (trio of tartares), Stephen (chilled Asian beef), and Tamesha (scallops with a rhubarb jus).  The other chefs seem to be more fair this time around, and they universally like Tiffany’s tuna.  There are some positive and negative comments about most of the dishes, but they unanimously dislike Tamesha’s scallops – the texture of the scallop itself wasn’t pleasant, and the long pepper makes the sauce way too overpowering.  Tiffany wins and Tamesha loses, and everyone packs it up and heads to the stew room, where Andrea tells Amanda about her cartilage (little late).  Kevin ends up winning (and the prize is a Hawaiian vacation), which will hopefully give him a bit of confidence and positivity.

Tamesha and Kenny are called to judges’ table, and Tamesha says she is surprised to be there.  Michelle Bernstein says something weird about the texture of the scallop being like a tongue on top of you tongue.  Helpful, Michelle, really.  When Padma asks Kenny why he thinks he’s on the bottom, he replies that the other chefs think of him as a threat.  WRONG ANSWER, DUDE.  Now you served a lousy dish, AND you look like a pompous ass.  Bernstein takes him to task for the comment, saying that there was way too much going on with it (and by the way, Kenny, STOP doing duos and trios and “X ingredient served six ways”).  After deliberations, Tamesha is sent home, and she naturally thinks it was BS.  I really didn’t care which of the two of them got the boot, since they seemed equally talented and full of themselves.

Next week, the chefs take over the Palm.  Again, I say – SERIOUSLY???  IN ALL OF DC, THE FUCKING PALM IS THE BEST YOU CAN DO?????  That’s probably what I’m the most upset about in terms of this season – that the awesomeness of the city’s food scene is nowhere to be found.  Grrrr.

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