Top Chef DC: finishing strong

“Top Chef DC” is already winding down, as we’re now down to the final five chef-testants. It really seems like yesterday that the season began, but when they show each of the chefs during the intro, you realize that we’re pretty far in and almost to the finish line.

Last night’s episode began with host Padma Lakshmi introducing guest judge and Top Chef Master Rick Moonen. Padma started rattling off some dumb cliches like “top banana” and “the big cheese.” She then announced the quick fire challenge, which was to create a dish using idioms like those she was rattling off. Others included “sour grapes” and “hot potato.” The winner of the challenge would receive a unique prize–having their dish become a staple on Schwan’s trucks nationwide. Moonen’s least favorite dishes were Kelly’s chicken with grape puree and Amanda’s mac & cheese, which Moonen said was just too heavy. His favorite dishes were Ed’s potato gnocchi and Kevin’s bacon three ways. The winner was Ed, probably because his could more easily be frozen than Kevin’s, which had a poached egg in it.

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Top Chef DC: justice served?

There was quite an uproar last week when Kenny was eliminated from “Top Chef DC.” Many fans and even some of his fellow contestants were outraged, and rightly so. Was Alex a better chef? Really?? But the judges proved that they are sticklers for their own rules. Anyway, here is a recap of last night’s episode, as we get down to the meat of the season!

The show began with the Top 7 meeting up with Padma and also Wylie Dufresne, owner of restaurant WD-50 and a contestant on “Top Chef Masters.” They announced the quick fire challenge, for which the prize was $10K. They each had a mystery box in front of them, and they had to begin cooking with the ingredients in the box. However, more mystery boxes would keep coming, and as they did, they would have to incorporate those ingredients in as well. Yikes. There wound up being four boxes in all….fish, fava beans and honey; squid and black garlic; ramps and passion fruit; and jicama. Angelo was not feeling as confident as usual and it showed in his cooking. However, the least successful dishes were Alex and Amanda, and Wylie’s favorites were Tiffany and Kevin. The winner was Tiffany, who seems to keep winning lately and showing that she is truly a contender here.

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Top Chef DC: oh my G-d, they……

I’ll fill in the rest of the subject line in a bit. But first, let’s recap last night’s episode of “Top Chef DC” on Bravo. The quick fire challenge was one of the Top Chef favorites, the tag team challenge. They would break up into two teams of four, a red team and a blue team, and would each have 10 minutes while the rest of the team was blindfolded…ultimately creating a single dish. The winning team would receive $10K to split. Kevin and Ed drew knives and were the team captains, and Kevin was allowed to choose first. He picked Kenny, and Ed chose Tiffany. Kevin also wound up with Kelly and Amanda, while Ed chose Angelo and Alex. Well, he didn’t choose Alex.

Everything went smooth for both teams except for one thing–Alex went second in the relay and seasoned some fish, which should have been the last thing done. The blue team’s dish was prawns with pasta in a mustard sauce. The red team’s was a pan seared snapper dish. Judging the challenge would be Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. She liked both dishes but thought that the blue team had a slight edge because the red team’s fish was…..wait for it…..too salty. Alex really blew it for his team and cost them a lot of money!

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Top Chef DC: halfway home

Is it just me or are these reality shows now expanding the number of contestants, yet blazing along so fast so they can get the season over with and start selling DVDs? “Top Chef DC” is no exception. I feel like I just started blogging Season 7 and now we are halfway home. Last night we went from 9 chef-testants down to 8. But here’s the best part–aside from Angelo, there are quite a few that could actually win. That makes this season extremely interesting.

So the episode began with host Padma Lakshmi bringing in guest judge Marcus Samuelsson, who is the reigning “Top Chef Master.” Marcus is an expert in Ethiopian cuisine and the quick fire challenge was to create a dish in the Ethiopian genre. Some of them had experience in this, but most did not. The winner of this challenge would have immunity this week in the elimination challenge.

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Top Chef DC: keep it simple

Last night on “Top Chef: DC,” the theme was related to Congress, as host Padma Lakshmi introduced congressman Aaron Schock from Illinois (dude is not even 30 years old!). Anyway, Schock told the chef-testants that they had to keep lobbyists from buying them expensive dinners and so they have rules that they can only have small bites when getting together for food. So the quick fire challenge was to create a small bite that packed the punch of a full meal. The winner would win not only immunity this week, but $20K. Wow!

The least favorite dishes were Ed’s duo of tuna; Alex’s pan-seared scallop; and Kelly’s bay scallop with watermelon. The top dishes were Kevin’s pork kebab; Angelo’s cucumber cup with shrimp and cashews; and Stephens surf and turf with crispy potato. The winner was…Angelo. Of course it was. Is he annoying all of you as much as he is me? I know he’s going to be in this till the finale though.

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