A Hamburger Today
Recap: Top Chef DC, Episode 6
Another week, another episode of Top Chef DC! This week, the chefs prepared meals with outlandish ingredients, and judged each other's cooking in a savage, underhanded "Cold War" challenge. There were duck balls! There were old rivalries! There was a completely pointless ride on a hideously decorated ship! And it's all ahead in this week's recap.
[WARNING: Spoilers ahead!]
For this week's quickfire challenge, Padma and guest judge Michelle Bernstein asked the chefs to prepare "delicious dishes" using unique ingredients like crocodile, rattlesnake, and duck testicles. The proteins were chosen in order based on a knife pull, and Amanda was assigned emu eggs by default. "I'm assuming they're very hard to get into," she said. As it turns out, emu eggs and Yale University have more in common than we all originally thought.
Amanda hacked at that damn emu egg for what seemed like an eternity before the most GIGANTIC YOLK I'VE EVER SEEN IN MY LIFE slid out into her hand. Seriously, that thing needed its own zip code:
This quickfire wasn't without its drama, either. The guest judge, Michelle Bernstein, has had a longstanding chef rivalry with Andrea in Miami where they both have restaurants. This raises the question: Why was she invited on the show to begin with? That's a huge conflict of interest, and it seems grossly unfair to Andrea. Couldn't they have found some other judge who didn't have a prior relationship with any of the contestants so things could remain unbiased? It's not like Michelle brought anything valuable to the table; she just stood around dropping unnecessarily complex vocab words and flashing bitchy faces at the competitors.
Of course, Andrea knew she was going to get a poor review from Michelle from the moment she saw her standing in the kitchen. Maybe Andrea psyched herself out... maybe Michelle is just a nasty bitch. Who knows. All I can tell you for sure is that Michelle tasted Andrea's boar, conjured up one of the snottiest faces I've ever seen in my life, and then condescendingly told her it was way "too chewy."
It was like junior high school all over again. It was juvenile. It was inappropriate. And it was great freakin' TV!
Anyway, with 30 minutes left to go in the challenge, Padma came in the room and told everyone to switch proteins with the person on their right. Kelly acquired the gigantic emu eggs, which actually worked out for her because she won the entire challenge. She made an omelet with goat cheese and harissa vinaigrette that Michelle Bernstein loved. It was Kelly's first quickfire win, and she earned immunity for the next challenge.
For this week's elimination challenge, the chefs cooked for—and were judged by—their fellow competitors. They split into two groups, and group A served a dish to group B (and vice versa). Each group nominated one winner, and one loser, from the opposing team. And as you can imagine, things got really ugly.
Actually, if you want to get technical, FIRST, the chefs took a completely pointless ride around the Potomac River on a busted old ship named the USS Sequoia. Then things got really ugly.
Group A (Amanda, Kevin, Kenny, Alex, and Ed) cooked first, and served their food to group B (Angelo, Tamesha, Andrea, Stephen, and Tiffany). And guys, group B was really harsh on them. Angelo's critical comments were especially obnoxious, and came across as more malicious than anything else. He said Kenny's lamb tasted "slimy, like you just killed the lamb and ate it right there." He also said Ed's pumpernickel bread tasted like "a dry shoe."
After a brief discussion that involved Tiffany struggling to use the word "concur" in a sentence, the team agreed that Kevin's tuna and veal surf and turf was their favorite, and Kenny's duo of grilled lamb was their least favorite.
In between cooking segments, we were treated to a hilarious conversation between Ed and Andrea. Ed said that he knew Angelo back in the day, and that he used to "bang Angelo's girlfriend" while they were in college. As Ed told it, the girl dumped Angelo and started dating him. I know! I couldn't believe it either! Angelo actually had a girlfriend?
Now, back to the cooking! Next up, group B prepared their dishes for group A. Angelo won the "douchiest comment of the night" award after snidely instructing one of the servers holding his plate to "be careful... it's like a baby." I would have dropped the plate and sucker punched him, but luckily, the server was much more composed.
Amanda, Kevin, Kenny, Alex, and Ed were much kinder, gentler judges. They were fair, and offered constructive criticism about group A's dishes. Translation: they were far more boring to watch. Overall, their favorite was Tiffany's peppercorn crusted ahi tuna, and their least favorite was Tamesha's scallops with pickled rhubarb.
Kevin and Tiffany served the best dishes of the night. The judges appreciated that Tiffany's tuna was perfectly seared, but ultimately, they named Kevin the winner. The judges loved the textural contrast of his pine nuts with the rich sauce of his surf and turf. And as an added reward, Kevin was given a six-night Hawaiian vacation. Not too shabby!
Tamesha and Kenny were the worst performers during the challenge. Kenny's lamb was gummy and mealy, and the flavors were diluted. There was way too much going on on his plate and he failed to bring it all together.
In the end, Tamesha was eliminated (come on, did you really think they'd send Kenny home this early?) because the judges couldn't get past her awful scallops. Michelle Bernstein said they were like putting "a tongue on top of your tongue." Don't worry. I have no idea what that means either.
But seriously, forget Tamesha going home. Forget Angelo telling her to add more sugar to her dish in an attempt to sabotage her. The real story here is that 30 percent of Americans think duck testicles are "yummy." SERIOUSLY?!
What did you think of this week's episode, Serious Easters? I thought it was the best one yet!