Top Chef DC: double dose of going home

Last night, “Top Chef DC” on Bravo continued to prove why it’s one of the best reality shows going. They staged a double elimination, and held the chef-testants accountable for working together in teams of two. But first, the quick fire challenge…

For that quick fire, hosts Padma Lakshmi and Tom Colicchio were on hand with no other guest judge. Since both of them have recently welcomed new additions to their families, their challenge would be to create a dish for the parents and then a second dish of baby food for the child. They would have 45 minutes and both Tom and Padma would choose one winner who would take home $10K.

They first chose their least favorite dishes. Tom chose Timothy (overcooked lamb) and Alex (duck with herb sauce); and Padma chose Kevin (pan seared duck) and Kelly (pork loin with peaches). Tom’s favorites were Lynne (chicken with sweet potato compote) and Tamesha (salmon with vegetable chowder) and Padma’s were Angelo (poached tuna with fenugreek) and Kenny (curried chicken and mango salad). The winners were Tamesha and Kenny–Kenny not a huge surprise, but for Tamesha, the youngest contestant at 25, it was a big feather in her cap.

Beth Scott with restaurant concepts for Hilton Hotels was on hand to help announce the elimination challenge. They were looking to add a menu item that was both healthy and vibrant and accessible for guests at the Hilton. They would be breaking into teams of 2 (the contestants chose sides) and competing tournament style. First, all teams would make breakfast. Two teams would be safe and the remaining teams would cook lunch. Two more teams would be safe, and finally, three teams would be competing to make dinner and to stay in the competition. The winner of that round would have their dish be the menu item at the Hilton, but the losing team would be eliminated–both of them. Yikes. But leave it to the producers of this show to really get the most out of the chefs.

The judges included Padma and Tom, as well as Eric Ripert, a Hilton exec and some former Top Chef alum–Mike Isabella and Brian Voltaggio from last season, and Spike Mendelssohn from a few years back.

After the breakfast round, the teams that were safe were Tiffany/Tim (crab cakes benedict) and Amanda/Stephen (poached egg with pancetta and potato rosti). Interesting, because those are four chefs who we’d consider to be, well, bottom dwellers.

After lunch, Angelo/Tamesha (egg, bacon and cheddar broth) and Alex/Ed (prosciutto and potato cake) were the safe teams.

So it was down to these three teams–Kelly and Andrea, Arnold and Lynne, and Kenny and Kevin. Kelly and Kenny have proven to be strong contenders, so one of them going home tonight would be shocking. Arnold as well, since he won last week’s elimination challenge.

The winning dish was Kelly and Andrea (short ribs with polenta). So they were safe. Interestingly, Kenny and Kevin made short ribs as well, and Arnold and Lynne made pineapple red curry mussels with squid ink pasta. The team going home was…..Arnold and Lynne. They seemed to have a problem working together and it bit them in the butt. Meanwhile, Kenny and Kevin breathed a huge sigh of relief.

So we’re four episodes in and five chefs have gone home. That means we are down to 12. And this show just keeps getting better. Kudos, Bravo and your production company. Keep it up!

  

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