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'Top Chef': Coldhearted competition

NUP_139592_2679Jealousy and vengeful spite ruled Wednesday night, as the Top Chefs were pitted against each other in strategic challenges that forced the competitors to be judged by their peers.

The coldhearted rivalry was felt first by Andrea when guest judge Michelle Bernstein stepped into the kitchen for the quick-fire. The two have butted heads in the past, and are quite competitive with their cross-town restaurants in Miami (Angela owns Talula, and Michelle owns Michy's and Sra. Martinez). Bernstein's presence seemed to psych out Andrea in the quick-fire, in which chefs were tasked with preparing less conventional proteins. (Think duck testicles and llama.)

The bottom rung of this challenge consisted of Alex, Andrea and "that salad guy." (What's his name again? Oh yeah, Stephen.) Alex banked on working with the relatively tame (in comparison) foie gras, but once Padma ordered the proteins to be shifted to the left, he was stuck with ostrich. He decided to bard the bird, wrapping it in caul fat to keep it moist, which worked about as well as an ostrich can fly. Andrea's undercooked boar was deemed a bit too chewy and Stephen was, well, Stephen.

Sadly our local Water Grill chef Amanda couldn't rock out a win, even though she was in the winning circle alongside Kelly and Tamesha. Kelly won immunity with her emu egg omelet with goat cheese and harissa vinaigrette, turning the giant teal egg Amanda initially scoffed at into something majestic. (Hasn't our girl heard of Michael Biancaniello's emu egg cocktails?)

For the elimination, the chefs were divided into two groups and challenged with making a "Cold War" dish to be judged by the opposite team. Angelo, the constant competitor, whispered advice in the ears of the other chefs as they planned their offerings. Were his words of wisdom disingenuous? It's tough to say.

The chefs were wary of each other during the prep of their dishes, which were to be served cold. Amanda suffered another technical glitch similar to her nonuniform chopped veggies in the outdoor episode, serving a grayish chicken galantine with hunks of cartilage left inside. Even her friend Alex from Cafe Was refrained from informing her -- it is a competition after all. Despite that error, everyone except for Andrea agreed that Kenny's ill-formed concept was more egregious than Amanda's poor technique. 

While everyone ripped Kenny and Tamesha apart, Tiffany and Kevin got lots of love from their fellow contestants. Kevin's surf and turf won him a trip to the real surf in Hawaii. (You can watch Michael Voltaggio's demo of the dish here.)

Kenny--who has repeatedly gone the route of doing dishes two, three and four ways--fell victim to being unfocused in his execution, leaving each element of his lamb dish in a battle against one another. To many fan's delight, "Big Pappa" wasn't 86'ed.

Tamesha's scallops with pickled rhubarb, cilantro, basil and long pepper in rhubarb jus was way too spicy for the diners. To Angelo's chagrin, it was time for his crush to go home.

Were Kenny and Tamesha thrown under the bus by their peers or was it a fair judgment? What do you think?

-- Krista Simmons

Follow me on Twitter @kristasimmons

Photo courtesy of NBC UMV

Comments () | Archives (7)

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Amy: That's what's stated in the post. "Amanda suffered another technical glitch similar to her nonuniform chopped veggies in the outdoor episode, serving a grayish chicken galantine with hunks of cartilage left inside."

Just an FYI it was AMANDA who had the cartiliage in her food..not Andrea

so messed up. i feel like being a chef can really be cut throat these days.

First, I think it was unfair to have Michelle Bernstein as a judge, given her history
with Angela, and based on comments, Bernstein's placing Angela in the bottom 3 was unfair. Angelo was definitely trying to kick Kenny under the bus, and I can
only hope the bus returns to drag Angelo under. With Angelo's underhandedness he may have given Tamesha bad advice regarding her dish. After all, she had been
in the top three of the quick-fire, competition for Angelo crush or no crush. All in
all, I agree with Aaron, and with Alexandra -- but I hope next round it will be a
battle for the easy win over Angelo.

As viewers, we get more attached to personalities than food we can't taste. And I've watched this show long enough, and seen people who seem to consistently put out great food, get eliminated, to know it's one meal at a time.

I think Kenny's fellow Chef-testants were trying to throw him under the bus so that they'd have one less formidable person to compete against. As for Tamesha, her dish wasn't the best of the lot, but she was still a strong contestant, and her dish couldn't have been as bad as Andrea's horrendous cartilage thing. Next round, the remaining chefs are going into battle for the easy win over Andrea. Right?

if two-way kenny would have been eliminated last night that would have been the end of my top chef viewing this season. Of course there's strategy involved in top chef, they wannted to get the big dog out early. kenny's team choice however was a bit more under the surface and wanted to place doubt in everyones mind how genuine that michelin star winner really is. good article. see you next week.


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