Last week, we complained that local chef Andrea Curto-Randazzo was getting little airtime on this season's Top Chef, which can be a good thing or a bad thing. Good because it probably means she isn't going home anytime soon (the show is notorious for focusing the entire episode on the contestant who will go home). Bad because it means she is playing it safe, and sooner or later the judges will notice and send her packing.
So when Andrea was appearing a little too often on our screen last night, we began to worry. It's not that she's a bad cook -- she's the complete opposite -- but the judges haven't really seemed to be wowed by her food yet.
But enough about Andrea. Let's get on to the recappin'! The contestants arrived at the Top Chef kitchen to find baby toys, and some cast members used their awesome brainpower to figure out they were making baby food. Well, not exactly. Everyone's favorite masturbatory dream -- Padma Lakshmi -- and Tom Colicchio recently had babies (not together), so they decided the contestants should make a meal plus its puréed baby-food equivalent. Duck confit, anyone?
Contestant Alex Reznik cared to overshare with us that he's never fed a baby, only "practiced making babies." Are you sure about that, Alex? A lot of the other contestants shared the same worry that they didn't own a little bundle of joy, so they weren't sure what babies liked to eat.
Everyone made these supercomplicated dishes that, in this lowly writer's opinion, babies would probably never eat. I'm thinking Padma and Tom should have brought their Gerber babies in to be the real judges. Kenny and Tamesha's dishes won, but in reality, I think Tamesha's vegetable chowder is the only thing a baby would probably want to eat. What did Andrea cook? Who knows? Her judging was left on the cutting-room floor. Sigh.
On to the Elimination Challenge! Everyone was ordered to pair themselves into teams of two and prepare breakfast, lunch, and dinner service that could be included in the Hilton Hotels & Resorts' room service menu. And guess where the contestants are staying while competing? At a Hilton. Eric Ripert came back to the show (finally) to judge this elimination, along with a handful of past Top Chef contestants and some women representing the Hilton brand.
But there was a twist to this challenge: For each service, the two teams with the best dish would be safe from elimination and not have to continue cooking. It seemed like an interesting idea, but the challenge ended up saving a few contestants that should have gone home a long time ago (looking at you, Timothy), while leaving some of the heavy-hitters to battle it out during dinner service.
The debate here being, what's harder to cook -- breakfast, lunch, or dinner? Dinner is obviously more complex, and dishes tend to have more components, while any chef with a pulse should be able to cook an egg properly.
Let's skip breakfast and lunch, and go straight to dinner. The remaining teams were Kevin and Kenny, Arnold and Lynne, and Andrea and Kelly. Don't feel to bad for them, because only the teams that lost the previous rounds and reached dinner service could actually win the big prize. Both Kevin and Kenny and Andrea and Kelly cooked short ribs, but Andrea observed that she thought Kevin and Kenny's ribs were lacking in sauce -- and short ribs are all about the sauce.
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The judges seemed to agree, giving the win to Andrea and Kelly, who won a trip to Spain and Italy, respectively. Andrea admitted she had never been outside the country, which sort of came as a shock to me. I'm not by any means a trained chef, but don't most aspiring cooks travel the Old World in order to better understand the fundamentals of cooking? I guess this can be up for discussion.
Unfortunately, for Arnold and Lynne, they were sent home for their mussel and squid ink pasta. I say "unfortunately" because they were actually some pretty good chefs who I think can cook circles around some of the remaining contestants. Methinks producers kept Kenny because they wanted the Angelo vs. Kenny feud to continue.
Still, it's great that Andrea final got to shine, and from the look at next's weeks preview, she'll get more airtime as she tries to shut Kenny and Angelo up during their whose-dick-is-bigger argument.