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Top Chef – Recap & Review – The Ultimate Chef Test

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Top Chef
The Ultimate Chef Test

Original Air Date: Nov 7, 2012

Ryan O – Associate Staff Writer
ryano@thetwocentscorp.com

Top Chef is headed to Seattle! But hold on just a minute. The cheftestants have to please the judges in the judges’ own restaurants before earning a chance to get to Seattle. Fortunately, unlike last season, this qualifying round will only take one episode instead of last season’s interminable three episodes.

We’re starting with 21 chefs. Groups of five or six will go to the restaurants of the judges, Tom Colicchio, Hugh Acheson, Emeril Lagasse, and Wolfgang Puck.

We’re starting at Craft, Tom’s restaurant in Los Angeles. Tom greets:

Lizzie Binder, who lives in Napa but is from South Africa originally
Micah Fields, Los Angeles
Anthony Gray, Atlanta
Jorel Pierce, Denver
John Tesar, Dallas

Tom hands out tasks to the chefs. He wants to see how they work in the kitchen.

Lizzie is tasked with stuffing and shaping the tortellini.
Anthony has to break down whole ducks.
John has to filet and portion salmon.
Michael has to filet black bass.
Jorel has to butcher whole chickens.

After that, they’re cooking dishes for Craft’s regular customers

Jorel has to pack his knives. He made a fondue that was too salty. Anthony’s mistakes butchering the ducks lead to him packing his knives.

Now, over to Table 10, Emeril’s restaurant in Las Vegas. The group here is:

Tina Bourbeau, New York
Stephanie Cmar, Boston
Jeffrey Jew, St. Petersburg, Florida
Kristen Kish, Boston
Josh Valentine, Dallas

Emeril gives them one hour to make soup.

Stephanie: Cauliflower soup with corn, lobster and pea tendril
Tina: Shellfish and chorizo soup with croutons and garlic mayonnaise
Kristen: English pea broth, lemon peel, apple, and seared scallop
Jeffrey: Chilled watermelon and tomato gazpacho, peppers, and ceviche
Josh: Roasted corn and coconut soup with mussels

Stephanie and Tina are told to pack their knives and go.

At Wolfgang’s restaurant are:

Chrissy Camba, Chicago
Eliza Gavin, Telluride, Colorado
Daniel O’Brien, Washington, DC
Carla Pellegrino, Las Vegas but originally from Rio de Janiero, Brazil
Tyler Wiard, Denver
Kuniko Yagi, Los Angeles but originally from Maebashi, Japan

Wolfgang asks them to make him an omelet in 45 minutes. Here’s what they made:

Tyler: Bacon, shallot, asparagus, and roasted red pepper omelet
Kuniko: Chamomile milk, morel mushroom, and ham omelet
Daniel: Wild forest mushroom omelet with oyster, bacon and pea salad
Chrissy: “Torta” omelet with lobster, bacon, and caramelized onion and fennel
Eliza: NY Strip and morel mushroom omelet with fennel tomato reduction
Carla: Mediterranean omelet with arugula salad

Daniel is out. His presentation wasn’t good enough. Everyone else is moving on to Seattle.

In Atlanta, at Hugh Acheson’s Empire State South, we have:

Gina Keatley, New York
Danyele McPherson, Dallas
Sheldon Simeon, Lahaina, Hawaii
Bart Vandaele, Washington, DC but originally from Roeselare, Belgium
Brooke Williamson, Los Angeles

Hugh gives them 45 minutes to create a salad. Here’s what they made.

Sheldon: Fried Brussel sprout salad with orange Thai vinaigrette
Bart: Spiny lobster salad with beets, asparagus and potatoes
Brooke: Kale salad with Brussel sprout leaves and lemon vinaigrette
Gina: Sauteed and grilled zuchinni with carrots, pea sprouts and balsamic reduction
Danyele: Grilled watermelon and tomato salad with charred tomato vinaigrette

Gina has to pack her knives and go home. Everyone else is headed to Seattle.

I kind of didn’t like that Tom didn’t just give the chefs at his restaurant a set thing to cook. I prefer everything be the same across the board in a situation like that. It seems fairer way to do it.

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

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