Top Chef Episode 7- Dinner Party


top_chef_tvAfter taking last week off, Top Chef was back last night. A slot machine finally made its way into the Top Chef kitchen and Tyler Florence stopped by with his impeccable hair to guest judge. Recap after the jump.

QUICKFIRE

Create a dish incorporating 3 keywords- a mood, taste/texture, and type of cuisine.

Guest Judge – Tyler Florence

Prize – High Stakes Quickfire. Winner chooses $15k or immunity

  • The chefs were given their three moods by the spin of a slot machine. Seems like someone rigged the machine with some extra “umami’. I smell some more sly product placement as the Kikkoman Umami commercials weren’t prevalent this week.
  • Jenn Carroll was under the weather and wasn’t in the greatest of spirits going into the Quickfire. Her spin came up with Adventurous, Nutty, and American. Jenn put together a Maine Diver Scallop with Pistachios and Salmon Roe.
  • Proving that she is mortal after all, Jenn found herself in the bottom for the first time this season. Tyler didn’t find anything adventurous about her dish. Joining her were Robin and her Stressed, Umami, Middle Eastern plate of Root Vegetable Hash with Cumin and Curry Oil. It wasn’t particularly umami or Middle Eastern. Rounding out the bottom was Eli’s Stressed, Umami, Latin version of Mushroom Ceviche with Avocado. The citrus overpowered the umami of the mushrooms.
  • The entire top group spun Asian for their cuisine type. Mike I. was strong for the second week in a row. He put out a Stressed, Umami, and Asian Sliced Raw Mushroom with Yuzu Emulsion. Mike V. continued to be successful with Adventurous, Tangy, Asian inspired Yuzu Curd Whipped Yogurt and Seaweed Cracker. Kevin reigned over another challenge with his Stressed, Hot and Spicy, Asian Char Grilled Pork with Daikon and Vietnamese Herb Salad
  • Kevin went for the money over immunity and walked away with a $15,000 chip from the M Resort.

ELIMINATION CHALLENGE

Throw a dinner party for the Macy’s Culinary Council

The chef’s drew knives and were placed into teams of two. Each team was assigned a grocery bag from one member of the Macy’s Culinary Council. Council members in attendance were Nancy Silverton (Ash and Mike V.), Tyler Florence (Bryan and Laurine), Takashi Yagihashi (Mike I. and Robin), Govind Armstrong (Ashley and Eli), and Tom Douglas (Jenn and Kevin).

The chefs would be cooking out of their kitchen at the Top Chef house. Space was extremely limited and in another opportunity for product placement, Macy’s appliances were strewn all around to create more spots to cook.

Mike I. pretty much relegated Robin to peeling vegetables, but then trusted her enough to cook their tuna. They were the most interesting pair of the night. Ash was star-struck by Mike V. and deferred to him for the entire challenge. Mike wasn’t as calm as their plancha blew a circuit in the middle of cooking their halibut.

Top 4 – Bryan and Laurine might have gotten 4 total minutes of combined face time the entire night, but it didn’t matter as their Halibut with Sherry-Chorizo Vinaigrette, Yellow Corn Cake and Avocado Mousse was “a stunner”. The super team of Kevin and Jenn also excelled with their Kobe Beef with Tomato-Cardamom, Petite Bok Choy and Asian Pear.

Winner – Jenn gets redemption for the Quickfire with her first Elimination Challenge win.

Bottom 4 – Mike V. found himself in unfamiliar water with Ash. The blown circuit blew their dish with undercooked pancetta and overcooked fish in their Pancetta Wrapped Halibut with Egg Yolk Ravioli, Fennel and Asparagus. Eli and Ashley couldn’t execute or properly season their Grilled Spot Prawns with Red Beet Sauce, Crème Fraiche Gnocchi, and Kale.

Party Over – Ashley

Random Observations

-Family style is the new black.

-It was a tough break for Ashley. Ash was the weakest chef up for elimination, but didn’t make any real cooking mistakes since she pretty much just set a table for this challenge. Mike V. was equally as blunderous as Ashley, but has been one of the strongest competitors so far. And it isn’t his fault that Bravo didn’t put in strong enough breakers. They could have sent Eli home for over salting the gnocchi, but they were Ashley’s gnocchi. Although not the strongest chef in the group, Ashley has performed better than nearly half the remaining field.

Power Rankings: Half way home. We’ve come a long way from Preeti’s Pasta Salad and Hector’s Deep Fried Steak.

  1. Kevin- Still the man on top.
  2. Bryan- The Kitchen Ninja-stealth and deadly.
  3. Jenn- First Elimination win brings her closer to the top
  4. Mike V.- Even with the blown circuit, he still is one of the best of the bunch.
  5. Mike I- I have a feeling he may find his way into the final 4.
  6. Eli- Great ideas, but needs to simplify.
  7. Laurine- Should have at least one more week left.
  8. Ash- On the bottom week after week
  9. Robin- Provides for good TV.