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.

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Top Chef DC: pies and picnics

Ah, a nice one hour episode. That’s what Bravo gives us each week for “Top Chef,” unlike “Hell’s Kitchen” on Fox, which has become a two-hour marathon akin to “American Idol” on Tuesdays. But I digress. Last night’s episode began with Kenny getting a letter from his girlfriend as encouragement, something he needed after finishing second to Angelo time and again, and then being on the chopping block last week. Meanwhile, Angelo was still seething about how Kenny threw him under the bus at the judges’ table last week. Dude, you were playing the game, remember? You totally deserved that.

Then renowned pastry chef Johnny Iuzzini and regular judge Gail Simmons were there with Padma to introduce the quick fire challenge. Johnny and Gail will be the co-hosts of a new show, “Top Chef: Just Desserts” soon. Anyway, their challenge was to create a pie from scratch in two hours. The winner of the challenge would have immunity for the week.

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Top Chef DC: cafeteria cuisine

Never shy about making the challenges on “Top Chef” interesting, the producers of this awesome Bravo show threw yet another curve ball to the chef-testants last night on episode 2. Along with guest judge Sam Kass, who is the assistant White House chef, Padma announced the quick fire challenge, which was the “bi-partisandwich” challenge…even the names of these challenges are creative. But wait, there’s more. They would work in groups of two, in an apron for two, meaning one person could use their left hand and the other their right hand, making it even more difficult to make a simple sandwich in 30 minutes. They drew knives to determine who they’d be working with.

Tamesha and Amanda, with their basic grilled cheese with prosciutto; and Tiffany and Lynne’s saltimbocca sandwich were the worst two in Kass’ eyes. And the best two? Angelo and Tracey’s flounder sandwich with spicy mayo; and Kenny and Ed’s Korean ahi tuna sandwich with cucumber. And once again, Angelo’s team won the top prize, which for this week was immunity for both he and Tracey. Kenny again came in second and was annoyed.

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Top Chef DC: egos abound

Season 7 of “Top Chef” on Bravo kicked off last night, and this season it will take place in Washington DC, home of the White House, insane traffic, and great restaurants. Just like in most seasons, you can just about tell who is not going to last long, who can really cook, and/or who has an ego the size of the city they are taping in.

This season, in addition to the regular judges Padma Lakshmi (host), Gail Simmons, and Tom Colicchio, renowned chef and restauranteur Eric Ripert was added to the team. I won’t try and list all of the chef-testants by name and where they are from, because there are just too many of them to keep track at this point! But we’ll let you know who is standing out for various reasons.

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