Top Chef Las Vegas: fun in the sun

On last night’s “Top Chef Las Vegas” on Bravo, there was another high stakes quick fire challenge, and an elimination challenge that was to cook for a dual bachelor/bachelorette party. At one point during the episode, one of the chefs was talking about how he had nicknames for all of his fellow contestants….so I’m going to start using a few of my own nicknames too.

Kevin will now be known as Kris Kringle.
Ashley will now be known as Ben Folds.

That’s all I can think of right now, but if you watch this show and know what I’m talking about, you are probably laughing right now.

Okay….so for the quick fire challenge, each chef had to roll a pair of dice on a craps table in front of host Padma Lakshmi and celebrity chef Todd English. For the number that they rolled, each one had to create a dish using that number of ingredients–excluding salt, pepper, and cooking oil. So the contestants hoped for a small-medium number to keep things simple, but a few of them rolled 10’s and 11’s. Oh, and the prize? $15K! I wanted to jump through my TV and whip something up myself.

Anyway, Kris Kringle rolled a 10 and someone else rolled a 3 and there were a lot of in-betweens. After tasting each dish, the judges chose a few of their least favorites and then their favorites–Jesse, Eve and Brian (one of the brothers) were the least faves. Jesse made scallops that were mushy, Eve made a salad with blue cheese, but the cheese was overpowering. And Brian’s dish lacked overall flavor. The winners were Mike (Brian’s brother), who made a gazpacho chilled by nitrogen; Jennifer, who made a salmon carpaccio dish; and Kris Kringle, who made an asparagus salad with a nicely cooked half-egg.

This is getting to be a trend….Eve and Jesse in the bottom, and Jennifer and Kris Kringle at the top….so we’ll see how things start to shake out. Anyway, on to the bachelor/bachelorette party, and the couple came in to talk to the chefs about the challenge. They would be divided into teams, men vs. women…and the guys would cook for the ladies and vice versa. The couple had an off the wall request, that the dishes created be paired with their three favorite drink shots. Ben Folds kept going off about how she was gay and had a problem being involved in anything that celebrated marriage, but ultimately she realized that she needed to focus on cooking and try to help her team win. The winning team, by the way, would have immunity this week, and it was made much more difficult considering they would be serving out by a pool in direct sunlight.

Ben Folds decided she was going to make two dishes instead of one, something her teammates weren’t thrilled about. And after serving their dishes, many of the guys decided to jump in the pool with their clothes on–their stinky, kitchen-rank clothes. Nice guys, real nice.
Anyway, along with the regular judges Tom Colicchio, Padma, and Gail Simmons, Todd English would be the fourth judge this week. They chose the four best and the four worst as they did last week.

The best? Brian, who made some sort of Mexican themed meringue that looked really interesting; his brother Michael, who made a sorbet with goat cheese cookie; Eli, who made a tuna tartare with ginger; and Hector, who made some sort of tartare as well but with tofu. As for Hector, there is an example of using a bland ingredient, but making the dish come to life with flavor, unlike Jen last week with her seitan.

The worst? Eve, who made a fishy-tasting shrimp ceviche; Jesse, and I can’t remember what she made but it was watery; Preeti, with an overcured tuna dish; and Ben Folds, because even though her watermelon carpaccio was good, they didn’t like the custard she made and thought she hurt herself by making the two dishes. Well, since Ben Folds made at least one good dish, she was likely safe, and you have to believe this came down to Eve and Jesse because they kept finding themselves at the bottom of the heap. Padma then said, “Eve, please pack your knives and go.”

So now we’re down to 15 contestants….still too many to make covering this show easy, but we’ll do our best! Let me know your thoughts on the episode and thanks for reading….

  

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