It's BACK! I'm tired and Sam is at the babysitter, so how pleased am I to be sitting at home resting and watching Top Chef before getting to my day? Perfect.
Create the ultimate sweet treat - without sugar. Dessert challenges are generally funny because most of the chefs usually say they're not really up on dessert. Mmm... baklava. The roasted fig/peaches sounds delicious. The desserts looked really pretty, the colors of the fruit made them look appetizing. Eugene's 'hamburger and fries' presentation was cute. Radhika's sounded delicious with the peaches and blueberries. Hosea's dessert looked sort of ugly. That green sauce... it looked so neon compared to the natural green/yellow of the fruit. It's kind of funny that they had such a hard core guest judge for the desert challenge. He kept calling everything interesting. That's what my husband says when he thinks something is bad/ugly. How scary! And Radhika wins!
They then announced that Toby Young will be taking over for Gail for the rest of the season. He's a food critic, and from what the chefs say he's going to be tough.
At this point they show Eugene talking on a cell phone to his family, and clips of him talking about his family.
Create a family-style meal for 12 people for a blind tasting. Tom shows up at the apartment, which would be completely intimidating if you ask me. What crazy/bad news could he be bringing? Tom announces that TWO chefs will be eliminated since no one was last time. As Hosea points out, that means 20% attrition with the number of people & Radhika having immunity. The meals will be tasted by the judges as well as a group of foodies/critics.
This is a challenge where NO ONE should be trying to cook something they're not familiar with or haven't made before. It's about showing who they are. Fabio decides to make pasta, which is really HIM, but I would DEFINLTEY have very high expectations. A few minutes later, he comes up with the awesome phrase of the week - "This is Top Chef, it's not Top Scallops", and I almost spit out my drink from laughing.
Eugene is deep frying a whole fish. I think it looks awful. But that's just me. Then Fabio starts to cut the lamb and realizes it's undercooked. That sucks. It's like you can be going strong, and then you just forget one thing and that could be the end.
And then... Oh my gosh. The other contestants are the foodies who will be helping judge the food! I think in this case being in Group B would have advantages and disadvantages because it would let you know what kinds of things the new judge is going to say, but then it might also scare the crap out of you because you see before you even cook how tough it is. They do also have the advantage of knowing who the focus group is. It is so funny that they had a hidden camera and they were watching live what the judges were saying!
And then it drops. As Carla put it, "We are in for a rude awakening with Toby Young". It looks like Jamie might FINALLY be getting a break as they like her scallops. The top two end up being Fabio & Jamie. And Toby gets clever. He says one dish was "The bland leading the bland".
And then... Leah is doing something she's never done before. WTF?! Why Leah?! Why would you try something you've never done before? Does that represent your cooking? Lucky for her it didn't do TERRIBLE at judges table. I agreed with Tom about Jeff's dish - it wasn't a family style served dish. It was a bunch of small things on a plate. But Toby loved it. This is where the struggle between the taste and creativity of the dish comes up against what the challenge was.
Toby did say he thought the overall standard was very high, which is good. It means that even though he's harsh, he is harsh partly because he knows they are talented, and that's what the competition is about.
Stefan, Ariane & Jamie end up in the top 3. And Jamie FINALLY gets her win! I was totally rooting for her. I was happy for her.
They call back the bottom 3, which is tough because they all know only ONE of them is staying. After they showed Eugene's phone conversation with his family earlier I suspected he would be one of the people going home.
I liked what Tom said - he doesn't think of risotto is a garnish, it's a dish. I liked that she took responsibility for her dish, sometimes when they argue they just aren't listening. Although Toby was very harsh during the eating, I thought he was completely reasonable and not hugely harsh at judges table. This bodes well for the future to me, he's not out of control, and he will fit in on panel. I totally agreed with Toby that by putting the scallop on her dish, Carla did not make the leap to showing who she really was. She made a protein even though she wanted to go vegetarian. I also agree that if those tacos really ARE Melissa's personality, she might as well go now because she's not going to be a contender to win this.
I was still rooting for Carla to stay... and she DID! I'm not really sad to see either Melissa or Eugene go. At this point, I don't think either of them would have gone on to win.
And next week... Hung is back!