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.

For the elimination challenge, the chefs had to visit CIA headquarters, and create a classic dish that they were asked to disguise visually. Interesting challenge to be sure. Oh, and the winner would get a trip to Paris! They drew knives to see who wound up with what dish. Amanda had French onion soup, Ed chicken cordon bleu, Angelo beef wellington, Kelly kung pao shrimp, Tiffany had gyros, Kevin cobb salad and Alex veal parmesan. As they were cooking, Alex admitted that he’s only been a chef for six years. Really? How exactly did he land on this show? Anyway, I don’t know if he’s sandbagging or what, but Angelo is starting to slip. He decided to use frozen puffed pastry for his wellington and already Kevin and Ed were commenting that this wasn’t very smart. The thing is, Angelo knew it too, but his head was somewhere else.

As they were trying the dishes, CIA chief Leon Panetta, who was quite hilarious by the way, said that if Angelo were a spy and served that dish, they would have hung him. Ouch! Eric Ripert loved Tiffany’s dish, saying it was and “elegant” version of gyros, one of his favorite dishes to begin with. And they all felt Alex’s veal was very tough. Seriously, he’s a better chef than Kenny?

Anyway, Panetta was called away during the dinner, something his subordinates said is a regular occurrence. Wow, what a cool gig he must have. The chefs were all commenting that he must know where there are aliens living. Ha!

So the winning dishes of the night–Tiffany, Kelly and Ed. Tiffany made a nice fine-dining version of gyros; Kelly made her shrimp dish into a soup; and Ed made inside-out chicken cordon bleu, which wasn’t disguised well but that apparently tasted great. The winner? Tiffany!
She really is hitting her stride here, isn’t she?

The bottom 3 were Alex, Amanda and Angelo. Wylie flat-out told Alex that he had a nice disguise (tortellini) but that his dish was poorly executed. Amanda made….soup. Really? Nice disguise. And we already knew Angelo had failed as soon as he bought the puff pastry, but he got railed for not being more creative to begin with. Tom Colicchio said that he was very disappointed in all three of them, and he asked them point-blank if they felt seventh-best, because one of them would be. They all shook their heads. Well, we know Angelo is not seventh-best here. But neither was Kenny. In the end, it was Alex who was sent home. I mean, it had to be, though Amanda was a close second. But Alex getting this far was bordering on ridiculous.

So that’s it, we’re down to the final six — Angelo, Kelly, Kevin, Tiffany, Ed and Amanda. Amanda has to be next in line to go home, and after that I think any of the other five are potential winners. What do you think? Let me know and we’ll see you back here next week…