Top Chef: Bridal Blunder
Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. This week chefs had to prepare food for a bridal shower of none other than their very own regular judge Gail Simmons (editor of Food and Wine magazine). First, let me start off by saying that in the previews, I just thought it was a bridal shower Gail was throwing! I didn’t realize it was for her (who is she marrying?) But now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, I have to say that the winner of this challenge was hilariously shocking.
Yet another win for Ariane! But we’ll get to that in a moment…
The episode started off with one of my favorite quickfires: the taste test. Every season, they switch it up a bit: instead of blindly tasting single ingredients, they had to identify as many ingredients they could in a sauce. The final three were Hosea, Carla and Stefan, a surprising trio if you ask me (minus Stefan). Hosea trumped Stefan in the last round tasting Mexican Mole sauce (other sauces in the competition were Shrimp and Lobster Bouillabaisse and Thai green curry). I bet Leah was proud of her Top Chef boyfriend for beating the most egotistical contestant on the show.
Back to the elimination challenge, where Jamie came up with the entire idea for the Borrowed Team that consisted of Jamie, Ariane and Radhika. Her idea was to “borrow” flavors from Radhika’s cultural heritage and make an Indian flavored lamb chop dish. At first, I found this idea insulting, why is Radhika’s the only tradition we’re borrowing from – and isn’t American food a melting pot of culinary traditions from all over the world? What if Radhika wasn’t on her team – what would Jamie have thought of then? You could tell Radhika was a bit annoyed by this when she foresaw a chopping block interrogation over not being able to cook anything other than Indian food.
But, I have to say, the dish came together very well, regardless of its inspiration. It looked amazing and undoubtedly deserved great recognition. My problem was with the winner they chose. Jamie expected her to be the winner since she conceptualized the dish and felt she leaded the team, but the judges picked the winner based on the most flavorful component and Ariane was responsible for cooking the lamb chops which they enjoyed the most. BUT…did anyone notice that Radhika made the lamb marinade? Maybe I heard wrong, but if the judges enjoyed the lamb chops for their flavor…shouldn’t Radhika be the winner? Radhika didn’t speak up about what she did, but it was her flavors that inspired the dish and seemed to carry it through. Jamie took too much credit so I think she deserved the non-win.
The second most-enjoyed dish was “something old’s”. A trio of tomato dishes cooked by Jeff, Stefan and Hosea…I loved this dish from concept to execution (visually of course). From a gazpacho to a tomato sorbet to a tomato terrine, I thought it was genius, looked great on the plate and just sounded amazing. Major kudos to team tomato, er, I mean, old.
The losing dishes (by process of elimination…) were “blue” and “new.” The blue team had challenges of coming up with something blue (Tom Colicchio says there are absolutely no blue foods!) and the new team had challenges of, well, coming up with something new. Er, maybe a mess of poorly cooked and assembled excessive ingredients is new, but it’s not appealing. Gene of team new had the idea to serve a surf and turf sushi roll in a “make your own” style.
First off, using sushi as a concept in anything regards to new will seem cliche. That was the first mistake. Next, they definitely had too much going on…a wonton, a salad, shrimp, steak, barbecue sauce, yuzu sorbet, random mushrooms, random piece of seaweed, overcooked rice….and they were not presented in any sort of cohesive way. Daniel was psyched about the concept and egged Gene through all his crucial mistakes. Then, he gets this crazy idea to add mushrooms for an extra, very unnecessary, touch and doesn’t even tell Carla, whose salad he is creeping the mushrooms underneath! And, he wonders why he went home. Sheesh. So that’s it, 25-year-old Daniel who looks like he is 45 went home, surprised but not undeservingly. Good luck to him!
The blue team came up with an ocean theme so that they could actually put food on their plates, and ended up with Chilean sea bass. It was very plain Jane and looked rather unappealing if you ask me. It may have tasted amazing, but your food needs to look good too if you want to make it anywhere as a professional chef.
EPISODE 5 RECAP:
Official Episode Title: Today Show
Challenges: Quickfire - Taste Test (determine ingredients in 3 sauces)
Elimination – Create a dish for Gail Simmons’ bridal shower inspired by “old, new, borrowed or blue.”
Winner: Ariane Eliminated: Daniel
Chefs Remaining: Ariane, Carla, Fabio, Gene, Hosea, Jamie, Jeff, Leah, Melissa, Radhika, Stefan
Next up: Martha Stewart!
For a list of all Top Chef recaps on Chew on That blog, click here.
Photos in graphic courtesy of BravoTv.com.