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'Top Chef' redux: Three words to make your mouth water (or not)

October 8, 2009 |  2:43 pm

Kjdzf4nc Though it was exciting to see Angeleno super-chefs Nancy Silverton and Govind Armstrong on last night's "Top Chef" set, the Macy's plugs, cooking website refers and closeups on the equipment almost made me flip the switch -- and my lid. I reckon the placement was the worst it's been to date.

But alas, I have a commitment to you, dear reader. So I pushed through, and here are the vitals:

In yet another high stakes challenge, the contestants pulled the arm of the slot machine, and were given the assignment of creating a dish around a combination of three words. Comical combos included Ash's "tired, tart Italian" and "adventurous, nutty American." Kevin proved that "stressed, spicy, Asian" is a force to be reckoned with. Guest judge Tyler Florence awarded him the win. (With his big, bushy red beard, Kevin reminds me a bit of Jack Passion of the World Beard and Moustache Championships, above.) Keep an eye on that one.

The contestants were then presented the elimination challenge, which involved cooking in a civilian kitchen at their apartment. Teams of two were given bags of ingredients from Silverton, Armstrong, Yagihashi and Florence. Michael Isabella was paired with Robin, and the Haterade proceeded to runneth over from the last episode.

After some technical problems, including a power shortage, Michael V. and Ash were on the bottom with Ashley and Eli. When put under pressure, Ash revealed his man crush on Michael V., saying that working second to him was "like cleaning Picasso's paintbrushes." But the judges agreed that the team's pancetta-wrapped halibut was overcooked, swiftly knocking Michael V. off his pedestal. They didn't think the power outages were any excuse. But what really ticked them off was Ashely's undercooked spot prawns and rock hard, over-salted gnocchi. We'll miss her for sure.

Tough-as-nails Jen, who won her first elimination challenge last night with her Kobe beef consomme, said she's worked while sick several times before. "You shouldn't let your mood affect your food," she stated.

-- Krista Simmons

Photo: Jack Passion preps for the World Beard and Moustache Championships. Credit: Dave Getzschman