January 14, 2009 09:57 PM by DA Southern
The Top Chef: New York chefs were still reeling from the double elimination of Melissa and Eugene in the last episode and they knew they had to step up their game from here on out. Hosea and Stefan seemed to be clashing a bit in the apartment as Stefan quizzed Hosea as to his win total and it looked as though the Rosters were starting to mark their territory. With new judge Toby Young on the panel, the chefs were set to put it all on the line as they readied themselves and finally headed out to the Quickfire Challenge.
Padma Lakshmi and last season’s winner, Hung Huynh, greeted the chefs to talk about the next Quickfire Challenge. Padma explained that a chef must be creative with what they have to cook with and then unveiled a bunch of what several of the chefs called “garbage foods,” which turned out to be those odds and ends canned foods that every pantry in America seems to have. To make matters worse, Padma explained that Hung was one of the fastest chefs in Top Chef history and that the chefs only had fifteen minutes to make their dishes with the supplied food products.
The chefs sprung into action and several were obviously struggling with the time limit as well as the foods they had to use. Padma and Hung sampled the chef’s plates and found favor with Hosea, Stefan and Jeff, with Stefan getting immunity for the next challenge, and more bragging rights with Hosea.
The chefs drew knifes once again to get into teams and the once love affair between Stefan and Jamie, came to a close as they clashed as Team Chicken teammates over the dishes that the team would be preparing for the family-style menu that was being served up for the Elimination Challenge. Poor Carla watched in disbelief as the two went at it saying. “I can’t create in that atmosphere” and eventually left them to argue.
Team Pork, Hosea, Ariane and Leah were also having a tough time deciding on the best strategy for their menu and the always confident, Fabio, of Team Pork seemed to be fairly confident with the decision of his teammates, Radhika and Jeff.
The chefs were surprised as the SUV’s carried them to the place of the next challenge and they were deposited at a farm run by Dan Barber of the restaurant Blue Hill at Stone Barns. The restaurant was the epitome of freshness as it used all the ingredients grown at the farm for the restaurant, down to all of the creatures who would eventually be on the menu.
Team Pork seemed to be at odds with one another, well Fabio was at odds with Radhika, thinking she was way to slow for his taste and Carla continued to be the buffer between Jamie and Stefan on Team Chicken. Head Chef, Tom Colicchio, was in to see the progress and questioned several of the chef’s decisions with some of the dishes, especially a couple of the desserts, saying that several chefs have gone home already this season due to bad dessert choices. Tom was especially curious as to the overall preparation of the pork by Ariane and noticed that Team Pork was not really working together that well with their dishes.
The chefs brought the dishes out for the family-style setting as each team explained their dishes to the assembled employees of the restaurant who would be the judges, along with Padma, Tom and Toby Young.
The chefs seemed pleased overall with their dishes but the judges had a different story as they sampled the various dishes. Toby Young and Tom were a bit put off with the overall taste of the lamb and Tom was especially displeased with the pork being trimmed so much saying that the whole purpose of pork was the fat. The desserts were once again not an overall hit as it continues a season long trend of desserts being the undoing of a chef as Dan Barber noted the unappealing presentation of the desserts.
Back at the judges table, Padma called in Jamie, Carla and Stefan and announced that they were the winners of the challenge, which was nice to see as they came together in the end to make some great chicken dishes. Dan Barber announced that the whole team had won, saying that he was very pleased that the team had put such a great group effort into their dishes.
The rest of the chefs were called to the judge’s table and Padma announced that both teams had done poorly in the challenge. Padma tried to determine which chef was responsible for what dish and all of the team members seemed to be on the hot seat for one reason or another for the challenge and it was hard to see who was a candidate for leaving tonight.
Toby was really unforgiving when it came to the pork dish and Tom and Dan Barber were very displeased with the lamb dish. Young was tough on Ariane and Leah while Tom and Dan Barber seemed to be leaning towards Radhika’s performance as the biggest letdown for the challenge.
When the chefs came back for the decision, Tom again announced how disappointed in the dishes they were overall, pointing out Radhika and Ariane’s performance as the worse, surprisingly sending Ariane home in the end. Ariane took it especially hard as she lamented that she started out on the bottom, zoomed to the top and was now going home.
The ever popular Restaurant Wars will be the theme next week as the chefs go for broke in what is one of the most popular and demanding challenges on Top Chef.
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Photo Credit: Bravo