Top Chef Dinner Party

Welcome back Top Chef fans!  After a short hiatus our favorite cheftestants are back and bringing all of the sizzle and drama to the competition.

Chef, author and Food Network star Tyler Florence is this week’s guest judge.  The quick-fire challenge: create a dish incorporating three key words.  The key words are to command each dish’s mood, taste and texture and type of cuisine.  The chefs’ key-word fate is determined by a Top Chef slot machine.  They each take turns and soon the chefs have to create dishes from a three-word combination such as: romantic, tart, Latin American and stressed, umami, Asian.  Creativity and focus are a requisite for this quick-fire.  For the first time, Jennifer finds herself at the bottom of a quick-fire challenge.  Robin and Eli join her as well.  Mike I., Michael V. and Kevin all succeed in the challenge with Kevin taking home the win for his char-grilled pork with Vietnamese herb salad.

In celebration of the at-home chef, Padma informs the contestants that a special dinner party has been arranged at their home, where they will also get further instructions about their elimination challenge.  Basically, Top Chef code for: get ready for a curve ball!

As they arrive to the house their kitchen and pantry are stocked with plenty of food and equipment.  It seems as if the cheftestants will be doing the cooking for their special dinner party.  Come on, did you really think they would get to relax in this competition?  Padma arrives at the house with a few guests carrying grocery bags in tow: Tyler Florence, Nancy Silverton, Govind Armstrong, Takashi Yagihashi, and Tom Douglas- a mixture of award winning chefs and restaurateurs.

The elimination challenge: throw a dinner party in less than three hours for the Macy’s Culinary Council.  The contestants must work in pairs and use items from each guests’ grocery bags to create a family-style dish.  The teams: Jennifer and Kevin, Laurine and Bryan, Eli and Ashley, Michael V. and Ash, and Mike I. and Robin.  Immediately Mike I. is upset with his pairing with Robin and after last week’s episode, this comes as no surprise.  Conversely, Ash is excited to work with Michael V. and lets him take control of their dish, abandoning most, if not all of his own ideas (could this possibly back fire for Ash?  Perhaps).  With little kitchen space, the chefs hustle to complete their dishes.  Unfortunately for Michael V. and Ash, their halibut suffers from a broken circuit, resulting in overcooked fish.

Toby Young fills in for Gail again and the judges, along with the Macy’s Culinary Council, feast on their family-style dinner.  The judges love Jennifer and Kevin’s barbecue Kobe beef with cardamom, tomato and ginger.  Also on top, Laurine and Bryan’s halibut with sherry-chorizo vinaigrette, yellow corn cake and avocado mousse.  Jennifer takes the win because of her flavorful cardamom, tomato and ginger broth.

Michael V. and Ash’s pancetta-wrapped halibut with egg yolk ravioli, asparagus and fennel salad land them on the bottom of the challenge.  The overcooked halibut and undercooked pancetta did not please the judges.  At judge’s table Ash praises Michael V.’s culinary skills and makes it clear that he served as a sous chef in this challenge.  And we all know this is Top Chef- not Top Sous Chef.  However, it is Eli and Ashley’s grilled spot prawns with red beet crème fraîche sauce, gnocchi and kale that are the judges’ least favorite.  Ashley’s undercooked shrimp and overly salted gnocchi did not impress, resulting in her exit.

Contributed by Krystal Shih


  1. Maheloas says:

    Your blog is fantastic. Great work!

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