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Top Chef – Recap & Review – New York’s Finest

photo: bravo
Top Chef
New York’s Finest

Original Air Date: Dec 15, 2010

Ryan O – Two Cents Reviewer
ryano@thetwocentscorp.com

In this episode, we have a really interesting elimination challenge where chefs visit four restraunts in New York and TWO chefs must pack their knives — one you probably expect and one you might not.

Quickfire
David Chang is with Padma. David Chang owns all of the Momfuku restraunts in New York.

Four teams of four. They have to prep ingredients and then make a dish with all of the ingredients. Chefs on the winning team get $5,000 each. There’s racks of lamb, garlic, and artichokes. The first team done with their prep hits a button which starts a 15-minute timer.

The teams are:
Angelo, Fabio, Mike, and Tiffany.
Dale T, Carla, Tiffani, and Marcel,
Antonia, Jaime, Casey, and Dale L
Stephen, Tre, Blais, and Spike

Fabio’s team finishes their prep first and gets to making a dish. Stephen’s team finishes second and has already burned three minutes. Then Antonia’s team. Dale T’s team is last and only has about eight minutes make a dish.

Here’s what each team made:
Dale T, Carla, Tiffani, and Marcel made a lamb carpaccio, artichoke chips, artichoke salad, and garlic oil. It doesn’t look that good to me but I don’t care for carpaccios.

Stephen, Tre, Blais, and Spike made a crispy lamb chop with artichoke three ways.

Antonia, Jaime, Casey, and Dale L made a lamb carpaccio with capers, garlic, reggiano, and salad with artichoke.

Angelo, Fabio, Mike, and Tiffany made lamb with garlic, tandoori spiced togurt, slivers of artichoke, and a dill salad. Their’s looks most like a finished dish.

Least favorite: Antonia’s team — the Parmesan and parsely overwhelmed everything, and Angelo’s team — the thyme and dill blew out the yogurt.

Favorites: Dale T’s — Chang thought the carpaccio was deceivingly complex, and Stephen’s team — the crispy lamb chop had a lot of bold flavors. Stephen’s team is declared the winner.

Elimination
Each group has to eat at a different high-end restaurant and then make dishes that would fit on the menu. They draw knives to determine which teams are eating where.

Angelo’s team picks Ma Peche, which Angelo describes as eclectic Asian and “striaght-up yummy.” Angelo hasn’t changed at all.

Dale L’s team picks Townhouse, which is described as modern American.

Stephen’s team picks Marea, described as Italian.

Tiffani’s team picked WD-50, Wiley Dufrense’s avant garde restaurant.

Padma tells them that their competition is their teammates and two people will be going home.

They actually are cooking in the restaurant’s kitchens.

At Marea:
Tre: grilled swordfish, braised artichoke, mushroom panna cotta, and basil oil
Spike: seared branzino with caponata and spicy vinaigrette
Blais: crudo of spanish mackerel, braised veal shank, and fennel mostarda
Stephen: coho salmon, black mission figs, broccoli rapini, and fennel pollen

The judges liked all of these dishes except Stephen’s.

At Ma Peche:
Fabio: roasted lamb, hoisin BBQ sauce, corn tomato salad, lemongrass chvre ricotta
Tiffany: crudo of summer flounder, pickled radish, and peach puree
Mike: warm sockeye salmon, eggplant, marinated tomatoes, and pickled peach
Angelo: Tumeric marinated fish, dill, cilantro, salmon roe, chorizo, and white chocolate.

They don’t like or understand Fabio’s dish. Tiffany’s dish is a bit below what it could be.

At Townhouse:
Dale L: roasted veal loin, peanuts, popcorn, french toast, corn and thyme caramel
Antonia: pea puree, carrot puree, seared scallop, and pickled carrot
Casey: coconut halibut “scallop,” tapioca “caviar,” and ginger-carrot emulsion
Jamie: smoked tomato and bacon soup with heirloom tomato salad

They think Jamie’s dish could’ve been better with more “wow” facor. Dale L’s dish is too sweet. Casey and Antonia’s dishes are liked.

At WD-50:
Dale T: sunny-side up egg dumpling, braised pork belly, milk ramen with bacon, beef, and pork
Tiffani: broken summer heirloom melons with powdered ham and taleggio
Carla: poached shrimp, grits, okra chips
Marcel: vadouvan lamb, tzatiki, pickled red onion and anti-flatbread

The judges think Tiffani’s dish got away from her and she should’ve edited it a little bit. They think that Marcel’s dish might’ve been better despite the fact that he used the molecular gastronomy techniques WD-50 is known for.

Judges Table
They want to see Dale T, Angelo, Tre, and Antonia. Dale T wins and gets a six-night trip to New Zealand.

They want to see Stephen, Tiffani, Fabio, and Dale L. Dale L’s dish didn’t taste good and was too sweet. Stephen’s dish had a nicely cooked salmon but had this overpowering sandalwood smell to it and made it unpleasant to eat. There was too much going on with Fabio’s dish but he didn’t actually embrace the Asian ingredients. Tiffani did one technique too many.

Stephen and Dale L are done.

What did you find to be tasty in this episode? Did you think anything was overdone? Give us your Two Cents below!

Next Week: Advantage Chef

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