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Recap: Top Chef DC, Episode 5

Last week on Top Chef DC, Arnold and Lynne were eliminated after a grueling team challenge. This week the 12 finalists got intimate with blue crabs—and each other—and cooked a family-style meal on a farm in Virginia. Who cooked well? Who crumbled? And who admitted to having a bad case of crabs? It's all ahead in this week's recap!

[WARNING: Spoilers abound after the jump!]

Getting Personal

The show opened with Angelo and Tamesha having a conversation on the porch outside. Actually, it was more like Angelo acting really creepy and completely invading Tamesha's personal space as she nervously shifted around on the bench next to him. His intense eyes were boring a hole through her skull, and poor Tamesha looked like she couldn't get away fast enough.

"I'm attracted to Tamesha," he later admitted to the cameras. "She has this inner passion, and that's really something I'd love to... [awkward pause]... extract from her." Yeah, right after he extracts some of her skin for his special new lampshade. Lock your doors, Tamesha! Lock your doors!

The Quickfire

For this week's quickfire, the chefs had to create a dish using blue crabs. Everyone was generally happy with the challenge, except for Angelo. He said, in all seriousness, "I had crabs, so it just brought back bad memories." Wow. Thanks for sharing that completely revolting piece of information about yourself, Angelo. How ever are you going to win us all over next? Perhaps with a heartwarming tale about your last battle with severe diarrhea?

Oh, wait, this is a show about cooking and not venereal diseases? Sorry! Back to the action! Ed's Thai-inspired jumbo lump crab won the judges over because it best showcased the natural flavors of the meat. Ed was excited he finally won a challenge, and said he was "finally coming out of his shell." Hmm, is that a bad pun I smell? Or is it just the cheap velour fabric on Kenny's bathrobe?

Elimination Challenge

Padma told the chefs they'd be traveling to an organic/humane farm in Virginia and creating a meal for 40 local chefs and farmers. She also dropped the bomb that they'd be competing as one single team, and each person was going to be responsible for something on the table.

Since it was another stupid team challenge, we had to endure 10 minutes of Kenny and Angelo competing for the alpha male position in the house. Much like a battle between two wild animals in the jungle, it was painful and tedious to watch. Kenny won in the end, and ordered everyone to work together in the same teams they were in during last week's challenge.

It was a total free-for-all when the chefs finally arrived at Ayrshire Farm in Virginia. Everyone was running around and grabbing hunks of raw meat like crazed contestants on Supermarket Sweep. It was a mess. Ingredients were just thrown on folding tables, as well as in the back of the "Toyota Mobile Pantry"—which was basically just the trunk of a minivan crammed with fruits and spices. Tim was impressed by it, and said it was "off the hook." Clearly he doesn't get out much.

Their cooking situation was not ideal, either. They only had a few propane grills, some hot plates, and a few pots and pans to work their magic. They had very little space to work, and at one point, Kevin's entire bowl of mashed cauliflower fell on the ground. Angelo wanted to scoop it up and re-use it, but Kevin refused to do so. "We're out in the cow pasture. There's all sorts of creatures crawling around and there's no way I'm using cauliflower from the ground," he said. At least someone there has a brain. And for the love of God, will somebody please tell Angelo the "5 second rule" doesn't apply when DUNG is involved.

While working on his duck dish, Angelo told the cameras: "I butchered it perfectly, I marinated it, I rendered out the fat... I basically made love to that duck to be honest with you." Yikes! Duck, if you're reading this, you may want to go get yourself checked out "down there." I'm just saying.

Judges' Table

Kevin, Kenny, Andrea, and Kelly had this week's top dishes, but in the end, alpha male Kenny was named the winner of the challenge. The judges loved his hot and sour curried eggplant and felt it stood ahead of the pack.

The worst performers were Tim, Amanda, and Stephen. Tim's vegetables were bland and cut too small. Stephen served a salad in a (gasp!) bowl, and poured way too much heavy dressing on it. Amanda, on the other hand, almost gave Eric Ripert a stroke by calling her pasta-less soup a minestrone. Padma called her soup "amateurish" because she didn't cut her ingredients uniformly, and as a result, they cooked unevenly.

Ultimately, and much to my surprise, Tim was eliminated for his poorly executed turnips and potatoes. Perhaps it was just the editing, but his dish seemed far less flawed than the trainwrecks prepared by Stephen and Amanda. Sorry, Tim. The man in the ugly plaid jacket has spoken!

And that brought this week's episode to an end. What did you think of the show, Serious Eaters? Was the right person sent home? And were you as horrified by Angelo's behavior this week as I was?

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