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Top Chef: Baby food isn't child's play

July 8, 2010 |  3:34 pm

NUP_139590_0788 The pressure was on in last night's episode, where the remaining chefs were presented with a both a high-stakes quickfire and a double elimination challenge.

For the quickfire, the chef-testants were to make a dish two ways: one for adults and one tailored for tiny tots. They should have brought in Jennifer Aniston as a guest judge for this one, but instead just left it to new parents Padma and Tom to critique the refined baby food.

Thankfully, Amanda didn't bust out any booze like she did for the school lunch challenge, but there were still some difficulties translating dishes smoothly into baby versions. Kevin left a pool of blood under his duck, Kelly slipped a hazardous lemon seed into her bland baby food and Alex made an uber-herbaceous duck with spinach basil dish so pungent it would have any wee one spitting up. (Personally, I felt like doing so after he proclaimed that if he won he'd be spending his $10,000 worth of winnings on hookers and 8-balls.)

Tamesha won the challenge with her veggie chowder with lobster broth and grilled salmon with licorice oil. Tom loved the infused oil as well as her soup, which left a little bit of texture intact despite being pureed. Being the youngest in the house might have given her a one-up, seeing as how she's closest to her baby food memories and all.

The elimination brought back some familiar faces: Eric Ripert showed up on set again, and so did Mike Isabella, Spike Mendelsohn and Bryan Voltaggio. The gang were on the panel to judge who would create a new dish for the Hilton Hotel's menu. In order to win, the chefs were to work in pairs, going through breakfast, lunch and dinner courses, with two teams safe each round. The end result would leave one team of two eliminated.

The chefs partnered up, forcing them to slip into kindergarten kickball mode. Each picked his or her favorites, and Amanda and Steven, who the group clearly believes are the weakest links, ended up being stuck together. Jokes on the others when the two busted out one of the winning breakfast dishes, a perfectly poached egg, pancetta, potato rosti and grape ragout. The two of them were safe, and so were Tiffany and Tim, who made a crab-cake eggs Benedict with potato bacon hash.

The competition then moved on to lunch, where Angelo and Tamesha were let off the hook for their beef carpaccio and Asian pear salad with kimchi dressing. Ed and Alex made a scallop dish with a side of ravioli gnudi, a dish similar to gnocchi made with ricotta, which put them in the safe zone too. (No big surprise that Alex would pick that one -- gnudi translates to "nude" in Italian.)

When it's time for dinner, three teams are left, and it turns into a short-rib showdown between team Andrea and Kelly versus team Kenny and Kevin. In the end, the winners are determined based on their sauce, which Andrea and Kelly knocked out of the park. They win a spot on the Hilton's menu, as well as trips to Spain and Italy. 

Arnold stood by his pineapple red curry mussels with squid ink pasta at the judge's table, but in the end it was domineering Lynne's poor judgment on cooking time that sent them home. The judges deemed the squid ink pasta too al dente. And all Arnold wanted to do was prove he was "more than a Louis Vuitton bag," but it turned out he was more like a knockoff, getting kicked out for not standing his ground on what he believed to be right.

-- Krista Simmons

Follow me on Twitter @kristasimmons

Photo credit: NBC UMV

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