Saturday, July 31, 2010

New on DVD!

A&E/New Video has announced the release of Top Chef Masters season 1 and Top Chef Las Vegas on DVD! Now you can get your fill of Hubert Keller, Rick Bayless, and the Voltaggio Brothers while watching both seasons over and over and over again.

Both are available at Target for $19.99.

Click here to buy Top Chef Masters Season 1

Click here to buy Top Chef Las Vegas Season 6 can win a copy of both videos here at All Top Chef! Just leave a comment and tell us who you think should have been the winners in those seasons. One winner will be chosen by random drawing and the winner will be notified by e-mail. The winner will receive one copy of the Top Chef Masters Season 1 DVD and one copy of the Top Chef Las Vegas Season 6 DVD.

Contest ends August 11th at midnight.

As always, there are rules and regulations:
  • Contest open to residents the United States of America and Canada only.
  • Please be 18 years of age or older.
  • The odds of winning are dependent on the number of entries received. 
  • Winners will be chosen at random and notified via email.
  • Only Entrants who provide valid e-mail addresses will be considered in prize drawings. 
  • Entrants may not be awarded two of the same prize from different sources. If it is found that the individual chosen as the recipient of a prize has already won the same prize elsewhere, a new winner will be selected.
  • The prizing for this giveaway was provided by A&E. A&E is not a sponsor, administrator or connected in any other way with this giveaway.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Poll - Who Do You Think Should Have Been PPYKAG'd in Week 7?

ATC Exit Interview with Andrea Curto-Randazzo

Resident Podcast Queen Laura K is out of town, so this week All Top Chef has an e-mail interview with eliminated cheftestant Andrea Curto-Randazzo of Talula and The Water Club Restaurants in Miami Beach.

ATC: What was your favorite challenge of the season and why? 
AC-R: The School Lunch Challenge. Typically challenges were so stressful and harried. Those kids really lightened up that day! They were all so well behaved, polite, intelligent with tons of personality – and they really appreciated us being there. Even though our team didn’t win that day – I know among the kids – we were the fan favorite!

ATC: Who were your best friends among the cheftestants?
AC-R: Kelly, Tamesha, Tracey, Kenny, Kevin, Lynn & Arnold. Ed & Tiff were great too!

ATC: In hindsight, would you have done anything differently and why?
AC-R: I probably would have controlled the mental aspect a little better.

ATC:  Out of all of the dishes you created this season, which was your favorite and why?
AC-R: I was very proud of the Short Ribs Kelly and I made as well as the Gnocchi on the first challenge.

ATC:  Will you be putting any of the dishes you made on your restaurant menu?
AC-R: Variations perhaps.

ATC:  Did you learn any new techniques from the other chefs?
AC-R: Still have to practice cleaning those crabs. Tim was awesome at that.

ATC:  So what really happened to Ed's pea purée?
AC-R: Again?! Ed lost pea puree – pea puree was on Alex’s “winning” dish – You do the math.

ATC: Now that she has judged you, what is your relationship with Michelle Bernstein like these days?
AC-R: Haven’t spoken to her!

ATC: What do you think was the biggest benefit you got out of being on Top Chef?
AC-R: Some amazing friendships that will last me a lifetime.

ATC: We're so sorry to see you go - do you have anything you'd like to say to your fans?
AC-R: My “fans” were awesome! They gave me so much love and support and embraced my genuine personality. They all keep asking about “I’m just sayin’!” All I can say is -next season! Thank you to everyone! I will be around! Keep it real!

Bravo Exit Interview - Andrea Curto-Randazzo

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Did He or Didn't He?

I think it's hard to call, but it seemed so blatant. What do you think?

ATC Love to Andrea Curto-Randazzo

Chef Andrea chalked up her loss last night to mental errors and said that she "didn't play the game well." Over the last few weeks, it certainly felt as if she was struggling, but no one can accuse her of not taking risks. Her swordfish dish featured a vanilla sauce which, while daring, was ultimately deemed too powerful for the meal. Also, swordfish was not a fish with which she had a great deal of experience and that worked against her in the final judgment.

Despite the loss, we're sure Chef Andrea was happy to leave chilly DC and return to her family in sunny Miami. We wish her all the best wish her future endeavors.
This post is only for positive comments about Chef Andrea Curto-Randazzo. If you have anything negative to say, please leave your comment here.

Congratulations Chef Alex Reznik!

Chef Alex said he had too many ideas going into this challenge, but he must have stumbled onto the right ones because his Applewood Smoked Salmon with Black Forbidden Rice and English Pea Puree won over the judges, particularly guest judge Art Smith, who said he could eat a whole bowl of the English pea puree. MSNBC's  Mika Brzezinski also enjoyed the dish, proclaiming that it was a perfect portion for lunch while providing a full, satisfying dining experience.

As one of the many chefs in this season trying to emerge from the shadows of Kenny and Angelo, Chef Alex has pulled out a win and proven that he can be a contender in this competition. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the weeks ahead.

This post is only for positive comments regarding Chef Alex Reznik. If you have anything negative to say, please leave your comment here.

Reactions to Top Chef DC Episode 7

Last week, cheftestants conspired to put Alpha Male Kenny on the bottom (allegedly); this week, accusations of food swiping abound. Looks like this is finally turning into a real competition, but let's back up a bit.

The episode begins with Kenny grumbling over how he thinks some strategery was going on to force him out. Tiffany points out that Angelo helped Temesha and Stephen with their dishes, and both failed. Hmmmm. Amid this air of suspicion, the chefs head off to the Top Chef kitchen to begin their next Quickfire Challenge.

They are greeted by Padma and the love child of Rocco DiSpirito and Neil Patrick Harris, Illinois Congressman Aaron Schock (R). Congressman Schock explains that lobbyists are not allowed to woo members of Congress with lavish dinners; they may only serve them food that can fit on a toothpick. Therefore, the challenge is to make an hors d'oeuvres that will pack the taste of a whole dish onto a toothpick. In addition to immunity for the Elimination Challenge, the winner receives $20,000.

After the tasting, Congressman Schock declared that Alex's scallop and crispy bacon had too many flavors, Ed's duo of tuna looked better than it tasted, and Kelly's scallops with watermelon lacked flavor. On the upside, Kevin's grilled pork kabob and Stephen's scallop and beef creation earned high marks, but Angelo's Cucumber Cup with Spiced Shrimp and Cashew won the big prize.

On to the Elimination Challenge where the chefs must prepare a power lunch for 24 diners at The Palm DC using ingredients regularly featured on The Palm's menu. They draw knives to find out which protein each will be using and it shakes out like this:
Salmon - Stephen and Alex
Swordfish - Tiffany and Andrea
Porterhouse Steak - Kelly and Amanda
Lobster - Ed and Angelo
Lamb - Kenny and Kevin

The chefs get their usual shopping and prep time, and then return to the chef house to rest up for tomorrow's big lunch. Alex had too many ideas and was still stewing over what he should make when Kenny saunters in wearing his sexy tan terry-cloth robe and states that Ed made an English pea puree to go with his salmon. Ed, meanwhile, is unloading his insecurities on Tiffany who tries to cheer him up.

Cut to the next day where the chefs pile into the cramped confines of The Palm's kitchen. Bruce Bozzi, Jr., executive vice-president of The  Palm Restaurant Group, welcomes the chefs and explains that the winner of this challenge will have his/her dish put on The Palm's menu and a caricature of the winner will be placed on the wall. Quickly, pandemonium broke out as the chefs scrambled to complete their dishes in time. Kelly bogarts the 10 pounds of salt she is dumping on her steaks because she wants to make sure her flavors are "aggressive." Ed is frantically looking for the pea puree he made yesterday while Alex is spreading some pea puree on his plate and claiming he never saw it.

The power lunch begins with such VIPs as MSNBC's token conservative Joe Scarborough, sidekick Mika Brzezinski, Virginia Senator Mark Warner, and guest judge Art Smith. The dishes are disseminated and, as usual, there are good and bad things said. Finally, Padma, Tom, Gail, and Art Smith head back to the judges' table. Padma calls out Alex, Tiffany, and Ed as the top three. Although Tiffany's fish was not as dry as she had feared and Ed's dish was fine without the pea puree, Alex took the win with his Applewood Smoked Salmon with Black Forbidden Rice and the English pea puree that Art Smith loved. Great job Ed - I mean, Alex!

In the stew room, Stephen is providing a seminar on being on the bottom, but he doesn't have to worry this week because the bottom three are Kelly, Andrea, and Kevin. The copious amounts of salt ladled onto her steaks was Kelly's downfall. Kevin put too many pepper flakes in his tomato concassee and the lamb was overcooked. The greatest transgressions were made by Andrea, however, whose swordfish was not well cooked, the couscous was deemed "gloopy," and there was too much vanilla in the sauce. Andrea was asked to pack her knives and go.

Okay, now it's your turn. What did you think of last night's episode? Should Alex have won? Should Ed have protested? How many more times do we have to see Kenny in that robe?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Top Chef DC Episode 7 Previews

For the Quickfire, the cheftestants attempt to create tiny culinary delights to be served at a Congressional party. And during the elimination round, they experience the true D.C. “Power Lunch” when the chefs must prepare the perfect dish for some media heavy-hitters at the city's elite Palm restaurant. Congressman Aaron Schock of Illinois serves as the guest Quickfire judge, and Oprah Winfrey’s former personal chef Art Smith is the guest judge for the elimination. D.C. power-players Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, MSNBC's Joe Scarborough & Mika Brezinski and NBC White House Correspondent Savannah Guthrie lend their taste buds in this episode. Will the chefs be able to deliver for these uber-discerning diners? Find out tonight, Wednesday 7/28, @ 9/8c on BRAVO’s TOP CHEF D.C.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Top Chef DC Finale - Where Will It Be?

Bravo wants us to guess where the season 7 finale will take place. They've provided 10 location possibilities, but only one is correct. I think you can pretty much exclude Singapore, Japan, Rome, and Paris. Oh, and Wasilla. What's your guess?

Recap Roundup: Top Chef DC Episode 6

Richard Nixon, the Cuban Missle Crisis, and duck balls: what do they all have in common? Why, Top Chef, of course!

David Dust on not really feeling the guest judge: "I guess I can’t completely explain it, but if Michelle Bernstein and I were in a nightclub, I would SOOOOOO “accidentally” spill my drink on her lame Charter Club dress while busting my moves on the dance floor. Trust."

Jordan Baker foregoes the haiku!: "Look, she was a bitch who spent at least two episodes talking about wanting to kill a competitor, and worse yet, she was holier than thou about everyone else’s attitude and despiteall this, SOMEHOW, she still managed to be boring as shit. No haiku for her."

Minx Eats on the surprising winner: "I thought it was surprising for Kevin to be on top without Alpha holding his hand so I figured Tiffany would win this. But no - I was wrong. Kevin is declared the winner and given a bonus prize - 6 nights in Hawaii including air fare. Nice."

Cliffieland gets caught up in the puns: "He says he doesn't and hasn't. And wasn't aware that they are really duck testicles. That's nuts. Sorry, I couldn't resist. It just quacked me up. OK, now I know that was painful. Like getting smacked in the duck nuggets. I'll stop now."

Gawker on Angelo's Quickfire experiment: "Angelo grabs duck testicles—and for once does not describe them as 'sexy'—to make a marshmallow."

Omnivore explores the Andrea/Michelle backstory: "Andrea says she and Bernstein rose through the ranks together as rookie chefs, but her own mommy-track detour cost her momentum in Miami’s food scene. Another explanation could be that Bernstein is internationally-trained and adventurous, while Andrea has never traveled outside of the United States and crafted a menu that includes a 'Hangover Burger'."

Reality Check (Baltimore Sun) on strategy: "Stephen admits he's thinking about clearing some 'breathing space' by voting for elimination some of the chefs who suck up all the air in the room. He's looking at you Angelo. And you Kenny."

My Monkey Could Do That on the "drama": "Previously on 'Top Chef': The producers, desperate for another ratings goldmine like Leah and Hosea, focus on various couples flirting with each other, or at least where one person is flirting and the other one isn’t outright laughing at them. At least I assume Leah and Hosea was a ratings goldmine. Drama usually is. Too bad none of it involves Amanda, who totally looks like Leah."

Reality TV Magazine on Quickfire winners: "The best dishes were Tamesha who cooked duck tongue perfectly, Amanda whose llama was delicious per Michelle….not really sure how delicious llama can be but hey what do I know. And Kelly who took the emu eggs and turned them into a sophisticated and delicious omelet was also in the top three."

Best Week Ever explains exactly how TC is like the Cold War: "The chefs talk behind each others’ backs a lot (like the Cold War!) and Russian spies are everywhere (also like it!) and Tamesha decides she might have to strangle Amanda (like that time someone probably got strangled in the Cold War!)"

Serious Eats on the emu: "Amanda was assigned emu eggs by default. 'I'm assuming they're very hard to get into,' she said. As it turns out, emu eggs and Yale University have more in common than we all originally thought."

Tablet on the USS Sequoia: "They’re cruising on the U.S.S. Sequoia, the onetime presidential boat on which Kennedy held meetings during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Which makes sense: As everyone knew at the time, if the Soviets ever bombed, you were either to duck and cover or sit on a boat in the Potomac River, and you would be miraculously saved."

Onion AV Club summarizes my concerns, too: "To me, one of the great distinctions of Top Chef—and Project Runway and other like-minded reality-competition shows—is that it’s a meritocracy. Chefs can talk all they want about psyching out their opponents or how they’re not there to make friends, but at the end of the day (to borrow my least favorite of ubiquitous reality-show expressions), what they put on the plate determines whether they stay or go. Naturally, I was a little alarmed by an Elimination challenge that asked contestants to judge contestants, because that sounded like something those other reality shows would do, not this one." has a theory: "Michelle looks exactly like Andrea, and in fact, they know each other! This does nothing to debunk my theory that there exists an underground network of white girls who look exactly the same and who all secretly know each other. "

Speakeasy (WSJ) on foie: "How is foie gras in any way an obscure protein? When foie gras is so overexposed that it’s not uncommon to see it on floating by on trays at ritzy society parties, why is it included as part of a group of 'nasty proteins'?"

Meal Ticket (Philly City Paper) on Ed's experience: "'I’ve used duck balls before,' deadpans Ed, detailing a cock’s comb-and-testes 'cock and balls soup' he put together when working for Todd 'I Look Like Gaston' English. Ed, hands-on experience with balls is one area where I think it’s OK to concede alpha-male dominance to another dude."

Max the Girl with more on strategy: "Meanwhile, Angelo is using the 'S' word again: Strategy. 'I keep on changing my strategy,' he says. 'Keep striving for more.' Dude, this isn’t Survivor. Shouldn’t your strategy be, like, cooking really, really well?"

What'ere, Jane Eyre on recent current events: "I don't know if it's the recent Russian-agents-living-among-us-and-trying-to-garner-secrets-by-being-suburbanites story that feeds the undercurrent of shifty goings-on in this episode, or if everyone really is being this sneaky."

Monday, July 26, 2010

Top Chef Cookbook Giveaway!

You have the Top Chef The Cookbook. You have the Top Chef: The Quickfire Cookbook. Now there's a third cookbook available to Top Chef fanatics!

How to Cook Like a Top Chef teaches aspiring chefs what it takes to be a star in the kitchen. Packed with exclusive content including a foreword by Top Chef: Masters winner Rick Bayless, original recipes from contestants, behind-the-scenes interviews, juicy trivia, and tons of tips and tricks, this volume is as indispensable on the cook's countertop as it is essential reading for Top Chef fans.

Here's a sneak peek at the book, in Adobe Acrobat PDF format:
Interview with Michael and Bryan Voltaggio

All Top Chef has FIVE copies to give away to our readers. But yes, there's a catch: you must leave a comment naming your favorite Top Chef or Top Chef: Masters competitor and why. Please include your valid e-mail address in your comment. (Winners will be notified by e-mail.)

Contest ends August 14th.
The fine print. Please read carefully.
  • Contest open to residents the United States of America and Canada only.
  • Please be 18 years of age or older.
  • The odds of winning are dependent on the number of entries received.
  • Winners will be chosen at random and notified via email.
  • Only Entrants who provide valid e-mail addresses will be considered in prize drawings.
  • Entrants may not be awarded two of the same prize from different sources. If it is found that the individual chosen as the recipient of a prize has already won the same prize elsewhere, a new winner will be selected.
  • The prizing for this giveaway was provided by Bravo. Bravo is not a sponsor, administrator or connected in any other way with this giveaway.
So what are you waiting for? Tell us who is your favorite chef'testant and you can be a winner!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Top Recipe - Top Chef DC Episode 6

Check out Michael Voltaggio preparing Kevin Sbraga's winning recipe in this Top Recipe video.

Click here for the printable version of Chef Sbraga's veal and tuna with Mediterranean condiments.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

All Top Chef Interview with Tamesha Warren

Was last night's elimination more about strategy or about the food?

Will Tamesha add anything new to the menu at The Oval Room?

Click here for the podcast.

Thank you Chef Tamesha!

Congratulations, Chef Kevin Sbraga!

Congratulations to Chef Kevin Sbraga, who with his wife and two daughters will soon be visiting the Hilton in Hawaii for six nights! Airfare included! The cheftestants and the judges agreed that his surf and turf combination of tuna and veal with romaine leaves, pine nuts and Mediterranean flavors was beautiful, flavorful and had great texture.

The prize was likely especially welcome, as Kevin was dealt a tough hand in the Quickfire, when he was stuck cooking duck white kidneys. Which are not what they sound like.

This post is only for positive comments about Chef Sbraga. If you have anything negative to say about him or the competition, please leave a comment here.

Reactions to Top Chef DC Episode 6

Last week, blue crab carnage and a goodbye to Baltimore boy Timothy Dean. This week, tortured Cold War references. It's just another day in the Top Chef DC universe.

This week's episode starts with the standards: shots of chefs in bed and talking heads lamenting the loss of the most recent contestant. Apparently Tim was a bit of a father figure. Who knew?

As our cheftestants enter the kitchen for the Quickfire, they realize two things: 1) Miami chef Michelle Bernstein will be guest judging; and, 2) they're about to embark on the annual Fear Factor protein Quickfire. The selection of proteins layed out before them ranges from foie gras (not scary) to duck white kidneys (aka duck testicles aka scary).

The chefs draw knives to decide who will pick first and nobody feels sorry for Annoying Amanda, whose last place spot leaves her with an emu egg that requires a hacksaw and fire-retardant gloves to crack.

Andrea, however, spends some time feeling sorry for herself, because she knows Bernstein from Miami, where apparently they used to be rivals until Andrea chose the Mommy track and Bernstein chose the rich-and-famous track. Andrea is uncomfortable being judged by someone she perceives as a semi-peer and she obviously struggles a little with how she thinks Bernstein views her. I won't be snarky here because I feel for her - I do. It's not always easy to make the decision to focus on family over a bright career and even if you never regret having kids, there are always what-ifs. And that is the end of my "it's tough to be a woman, or even a man" rant.

Back to the Quickfire: everyone's operating at various levels of comfort (Angelo did not realize he was signing on for duck ball marshmallows), when Padma announces a twist: everyone is to take over the protein to their left. Collective groans all around, except from Amanda, who is more than happy to pass her emu eggs onto Kelly. Who is not that psyched to receive them.

In the end, though, Kelly's emu egg omelette, though simple, is the big winner, while Stephen's "insipid" frog legs, Alex's dry ostrich and Andrea's dry boar (driven, apparently, by her psychological drama) end up on the bottom. Kelly receives immunity, too, which is huge in this challenge.

Onto the Elimination Challenge, which involes one of the most drawn out, miserable puns we've seen in Top Chef history. Tom and Padma say something about the Cold War - which has been over for nearly 20 years, last time I checked - and explain that the cheftestants' challenge will be to make a cold dish. The twist is that they'll divide into two groups. Group A will taste Group B's food and vice versa, and each group will be able to nominate one chef for elimination and one for the win.

Next up, the cheftestants are delivered to the USS Sequoia, "the Air Force One of ships," where apparently Kennedy and Nixon did some negotiating, or something. In one of the more pointless scenes on the show, the chefs wander around the ship - which is cool - to plan their meals and potentially sabotage one another. And that's it. The boat's just there to look pretty, apparently.

Next, to Whole Foods, then to the kitchen. There's much discussion of elimination strategy - Will they try to get rid of their strongest competitors? Is this Survivor all of a sudden? - and whether Angelo is actually helping Tamesha with his advice, or hurting her. He tells the camera that he's "here to win," which is just about as close to "I'm not here to make friends" as you can get.

There's little cooking drama this week, with all the focus on the actual tasting. Group A, which includes Angelo, Tamesha, Tiffany, Stephen, Andrea, and Kelly (who tastes with both groups), is pretty harsh - bad enough that at one point, Tom and Gail counter their assertions that Kevin's dish is lacking acid.

They must be pretty convincing because Kevin ends up nominated for the win for his tuna and veal surf and turf, while powerhouse Kenny is nominated for elimination for his big old mess of lamb. It's hard to tell if Kenny really deserved the nom, or if Amanda should've gotten it for her cartilage-filled chicken galantine. We may never know.

The second group (Kevin, Kenny, Ed, Amanda, Alex and Kelly) is a little less harsh, though still critical, and ends up nominating Tiffany and her seared tuna in gazpacho for the win and Tamesha and her oddly cooked scallops for elimination.

Kevin wins for his dish, which the judges call "delectable," and he's given a week-long trip to Hawaii, which is pretty sweet if you ask me. I'm sure his wife and kids agree.

Anyone who's ever watched an episode of Top Chef knows what happens next: Tamesha goes home. Because, say it together, this is not Top Scallop. Seriously, when will the cheftestants realize that scallops just do not show well in this competition?

Tamesha laments letting Angelo have so much influence over her, but in the end, she's extremely calm (as per usual - she might be the least excitable chef ever), says her thank yous and says goodbye.

Oh, one more thing I forgot to mention: in the DVR buster, Ed reveals that he and Angelo have, ahem, shared. Ed dated Angelo's girlfriend just before Angelo did. How did they wait until now to reveal this? What other gross surprises do they have in store for us???

And that is all for this week's episode. What did you think? Was Kenny unfairly nominated? Should Amanda have had a shot to go home? Was Kevin the rightful winner? Could the Cold War puns have been worse? Please leave a comment with your thoughts....

ATC Love to Chef Tamesha Warren

This week we said goodbye to DC's own Chef Tamesha Warren, the youngest of the group. Her "Cold War" dish of seared scallops with pickled rhubarb, long pepper, and cilantro, was criticized by her peers as being too spicy, having an odd texture, and a "funky" flavor.

Unfortunately for Tamesha, the judges agreed, noting that the pepper has a distinct and overpowering flavor and that when combined with the sauce, the scallop's texture became unpleasant.

This post is only for positive comments about Chef Tamesha Warren. If you have anything negative to say about her or the competition, please leave a comment here.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Top Chef DC Episode 6 Previews

Frog legs and ostrich are nothing new to the experienced foodies out there, but when emu eggs, crocodile, and rattlesnake are introduced to the Quickfire this week, creativity is bound to ensue as the cheftestants are challenged to create dishes around these "foreign" proteins. And for the elimination challenge, the chefs battle it out in a culinary version of the Cold War when they are divided into two groups to create one cold entrée. The twist? Each team will get to taste the other groups’ dishes and become the judges! Will this shift cause the chefs to be extra-judgmental of their peers? Find out tonight, 7/21, @ 9/8c only on Bravo’s TOP CHEF D.C.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Video du Jour - Susur Lee Eats Ice Cream

Short and totally frivolous, but I know Chef Lee and his dimples have lots of fans....

Recap Roundup: Top Chef DC Episode 5

Blue crabs and farms! This Maryland girl was happy to see Old Bay make an appearance, but could've stood a little more decorum around those crabs. But what did the bloggers think?

Jordan Baker haikus: "Oh, Timothy Dean / Barry White voice can’t save your / Invisible veg"

Minx Eats gets Marylandy on the cheftestants: "It's funny to see chefs who are not from this region playing with blue crabs for the first time. Everyone can handle lobsters because most of their meat is in one chunk, but crabs have lots of little hiding places under their shells. The chefs are hammering and chopping at them blindly like total morons."

Cliffieland on Angelo's condition: "Padma: 'You've got crabs!' Me: 'I wonder how long before someone ...' Angelo: 'Well, I've had crabs and it just brought back bad memories.' Me: 'Less than one second. That must be a record. ... Also, why am I not surprised. And ... eeeeew.'"

What'ere, Jane Eyre on the losers: "Tim, Amanda, and Stephen sink to the bottom. Even though Stephen has practically rented a room at Losers' Table, and even though all he did was make a simple salad that he still managed to fuck up, the judges axe Tim, breaking up the Tim/Tiffany dream team that our viewing party was getting such a kick out of. Dang."

My Monkey Could Do That on Kenny's smooth bathrobe: "Commercial interlude: Kenny owns a velour bathrobe. Tim loves it. Andrea and Amanda go through various nicknames. Amanda’s are more offensive in that they all have 'black' in them. Actually all the girls think he’s smooth."

Reality Check (Baltimore Sun) on the carnage: "The folks used to cooking with larger crabs are a little stymied. I had that same issue when I first moved here. Well, not cooking them, but eating them. Also, I just can't deal with watching them get hacked to pieces or cooked while they're still alive. I'm a baby like that."

TWOP on structural issues: "The top four are Kevin, Kenny, Andrea, and Kelly, which is funny because they were the worst (that didn't go home) last week. Just goes to show that the challenge last week was poorly designed. It's one thing when ONE person goes from worst to first, but all four?"

Meal Ticket (Philly City Paper) with a little more MD love: "I was excited about this QF challenge — picking and cooking crabs is a challenge, while forcing professionals to fill jars with mushy shit is not — since I’m from Maryland, but also since I assumed this would be cake for Baltimore chef Tim, who’s been catching all sorts of bad breaks in recent episodes. He does up his crab with avocado, passion fruit and an heirloom tomato vin. “Give it the microphone and let it sing,” goes his crab-cookin’ philosophy. Hell to the yes, my fellow Terp."

Max the Girl on dirty Angelo: "Angelo can't get over how 'luscious' Tamesha's cherry. . . compote is. 'It's super sexy,' he says. Okay, just stop. As for his own duck, 'I basically made love to that duck.' So now the duck has crabs."

Speakeasy (WSJ) on Ed + Tiffany: "Ed is sweet on Tiffany (anytime a man says he loves a woman’s laugh, he’s already a goner), so he tries to impress her by trotting out his trusty time-he-ate-a-fried-crocodile story. She titters appreciatively, craning her neck just so and raising her shoulder coyly. Oh, it’s on."

Best Week Ever on losing words: "Stephen wants to be the 'forefrontrunner' — hopefully not of using correct words — and pulls a classic Top Chef 'I know it’s simple, but…' salad that is destined for failure. Amanda is preparing a minestrone soup and makes the same mistake, saying 'I know minestrone is pedestrian but…' Trouble Twins!"

Monday, July 19, 2010

TC News & Information 7.19.10

Top Chef Masters competitor Jody Adams was happy to be a part of that show. Read a new interview with the chef here.

Top Chef DC's Amanda Baumgarten shares her kitchen wisdom with the LA Times Show Tracker blog.

Michael Voltaggio got carded and turned away from a taco joint in California the other day. Guess the bouncer doesn't watch Top Chef.

First Isaac Mizrahi, now Marcus Samuelsson: eventually everyone designs something for Target.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Top Recipe - Top Chef DC Episode 5

Click here to watch Michael Voltaggio cook up Kenny Gilbert's winning recipe of hot and sour eggplant curry.

Find the printable version of the same recipe here.

Friday, July 16, 2010

All Top Chef Interview with Timothy Dean

Chef Timothy Dean talks about his experience on the show and about his plans for the future.

Click here for the podcast.

Thank you Chef!

Bravo Exit Interviews - Timothy Dean

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Poll - Who Do You Think Should Have Been PPYKAG'd in Week 5?

Do you think Timothy deserved to get cut? Or did Amanda or Stephen commit bigger sins?

ATC Love to Chef Timothy Dean

It would have been nice to see a Maryland-based chef make it to the final three in this Washington DC competition, but alas, it was not to be. Chef Timothy Dean has faltered under the heat of competition these past few weeks, and his Roasted Turnips and Asparagus with Honey was too rustic and bland for the judges this week.

For the Quickfire Challenge, Chef Tim's simple, straight-forward approach to blue crab looked like it would be a winner, but guest judge Patrick O'Connell appeared indifferent to Chef Tim's Beer-Steamed Crab with Avocado, Passion Fruit, and Heirloom Tomato Vinaigrette. Despite these setbacks, Chef Tim showed himself to be a cool and gracious competitor. He will be missed on the show, but it is certain that he will be visible in the Maryland restaurant scene for some time to come.

This post is only for positive comments about Chef Timothy Dean. If you have anything negative to say about him or the competition, please leave a comment here.

Congratulations Chef Kenny Gilbert!

Chef Kenny Gilbert has repeatedly emphasized his role as Alpha Male, but this week he proved it by winning the Elimination Challenge with his Hot and Sour Curried Eggplant with Peppers and Carrot Tops. He also received high marks in the Quickfire Challenge with his Crab 3 Ways: Korean Chili Crab Bisque, Crab Bruschetta, and Warm Crab with Sesame.

It should have been obvious that Chef Kenny was going to win after Bravo devoted an entire segment of the show illustrating just how superfly Kenny is. His cool, authoritative approach has gained admirers in the Chef House and served him well through the challenges. We will likely see much more of Chef Kenny in the coming weeks.

This post is only for positive comments about Chef Kenny Gilbert. If you have anything negative to say about him or the competition, please leave your comment here.

Reactions to Top Chef DC Episode 5

Another morning with the cheftestants and it looked like friendships were developing. Angelo had Tamesha's ear, although this may be some strategizing on Angelo's part. On the more healthy side, Ed and Tiffany appear to be bonding as well.

Off to the Top Chef Kitchen where we find bushels of live blue crabs and guest judge Patrick O'Connell, Chef/Proprietor of The Inn at Little Washington. The Quickfire Challenge was simple enough: make a delicious dish with Maryland blue crab. The execution was less so as the chefs struggled with the snapping, spidery creatures. Despite working in DC, Temesha admitted she had never picked a blue crab before, Ed got creative and baked his live crabs in the oven, and Maryland native Timothy Dean decided to go simple with his dish and let the flavor of the crab meat speak for itself. After Padma and Chef O'Connell sampled all the chef's dishes, Chef O'Connell declared that Andrea, Amanda, and Kevin were the least successful. On the other hand, Ed's Thai-inspired dish with strong natural components of basil, mango, and cucumber worked well, Kenny's trio of crab bites worked well, and Angelo's blue crab broth infused with lemongrass and ginger was "delicate." Ultimately, Ed took the win and had immunity for the Elimination Challenge.

Speaking of the Elimination Challenge, this week the chefs had to put together a meal for 20-odd people (not 20 odd people) at Ayrshire Farm, Virginia's first organic and humane farm. Although all the chefs would work as one team, each chef was responsible for at least one component of the meal. They all raced back to their communal digs to work out a plan. Immediately, Kenny and Angelo went into appendage measurement mode, sending the discussion off course. In the end, the chefs decided it is best to just pair up the same way they had for last week's challenge. Ed was not thrilled to be stuck with Alex again, but he had immunity, so what the heck. Similarly, Tiffany was unsure about working with Tim again, so she chose to focus solely on her part of the dish and leave Tim to his own devices.

On a chilly spring morning, the chefs set off for Ayrshire Farm where they found tables and propane stoves set up in the middle of a cow pasture as their kitchen. They had to produce their dishes using the ample supply of meat and vegetables grown on the farm plus the pantry items in the back of one of the Toyota SUVs. The rustic conditions caused some problems. A bowl of cauliflower is knocked on the ground, causing a substitution of broccoli. Andrea broke down her pork loin into sections in order to fit it on the crowded stoves. And Tim, once again, was indecisive about how to cook his turnips and asparagus.

The guests arrived and were seated at a massive table also set up in the great outdoors. Eric Ripert joined Padma, Tom, and Chef O'Connell in the tasting and judgment. While they felt that the meal was good overall, there were some elements that just didn't work and they took those criticisms back to judge's table. Kevin, Kenny, Andrea, and Kelly were called out as the favorites of the challenge (no surprises there). Alpha male Kenny was deemed the winner with his hot and sour eggplant with peppers and carrot tops.

And now for the bad news...Tim, Amanda, and Stephen were the bottom three. Amanda's minestrone was missing the crucial element of pasta and the carrots were cut too big to cook evenly with the other vegetables. Stephen's choice to put his mixed farm salad in a bowl was a bad one because the dressing could not distribute equally over the greens, and the apple pieces were too large. Tim also made a bad choice in leaving his turnips and asparagus in chunks rather than pureeing the veggies as he had originally planned. In the end, his dish was judged too bland for Top Chef, and he was asked to pack his knives and leave.

The field of cheftestants is thinning and a pecking order appears to be shaping up. We'll have to see if the bottom feeders are picked off as predicted or will some improve their game and rise to the top. Let's read what you think in the comments section.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Goat and the Girl

Top Chef 4 champ Stephanie Izard's long awaited restaurant, The Goat and The Girl finally opened its doors on July 12th. The restaurant booked 700 reservations in the first hour (starting at 10am) and by 6pm had booked 2400.

I dare say it will be tough to get into for a while. If any All Top Chef readers do manage to dine at The Girl and The Goat, we'd love to hear about it!

You can check out the menu here and more on the opening at Grub Street Chicago.

Looks like Chef Izard has a smile on her face. Go Steph!

Photo: Huge Galdones/

Top Chef DC Episode 5 Previews

The Top Chef Kitchen gets a little dicey when the chefs must work with live blue crabs -- D.C.’s most notable, local ingredient -- as the main component of their Quickfire dish, but with their dangerous claws, will the chefs run into some trouble before they even start cooking? And for the elimination challenge, it’s a case of one too many cooks in the kitchen when the whole group of remaining cheftestants must all work together on ONE team to cater a meal for local Maryland farmers. Will all hell break loose when front-runners --and rival competitors-- Angelo and Kenny try to each assert themselves as the team leaders? Find out tonight, 7/14, @ 9/8c on BRAVO’s Top Chef DC!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Poll Results - Who Should Have Been PPYKAG'd in TCDC Episode 4

We asked you, our beloved readers, who you thought should have been cut last week - Kevin & Kenny, Arnold & Lynn, or some other duo entirely. And, survey said....someone else entirely.

theminx agrees.

Who's going to be leaving the Top Chef kitchen this week? Tune in and find out!

TC News & Information 7.13.10

Remember Chef Brian Hill from Top Chef San Francisco? How about Mia Gaines-Alt from Top Chef Los Angeles? The Root has a nice feature on African-American Top Chef contestants from the current and past seasons. Read it here.

The Top Chef franchise got 5 Emmy nominations this year. The original show received nods in the categories of Outstanding Reality Competition, cinematography, interactive media creative achievement, and picture editing. And Top Chef Masters received a cinematography nomination. Go Top Chef!

There's a Facebook campaign to bring back Chef John Somerville for another season of Top Chef. It worked for Betty White and SNL, so who knows? Click here to join the group.

Find more interviews with last week's eliminated cheftestants Lynne Gigliotti and Arnold Myint at Fancast!

Recap Roundup: Top Chef DC Episode Four

We're back this week with a double-elimination, double-win, and, somehow no sponsorship by Doublemint gum. Did the bloggers find that odd?

David Dust on immunity money allocation: "Sweet Gay Arnold mentions that if he won, he would give the $10,000 to an orphanage in Thailand for babies with HIV/AIDS. Awwwwwwww.... Alex, on the other hand, would purchase “a hooker and an 8-ball”. Alex obviously wants to be the Pat O’Brien of culinary world."

Cliffieland on under-the-bus-throwing: "When quizzed about their dish and the you-could-see-it-coming undercooked pasta, Lynne remarks that she wasn't happy with it. The look of "Shut the fuck up, woman! We're trying to stay here!" all over Arnold's face is something to behold."

Jordan Baker haikus: "Undercooked pasta/ Was Arnold’s undoing, but/ It was all Lynne’s fault."

Minx Eats on Padma's sartorial choices: "No time is wasted in presenting the Elimination Challenge. However, some real time had to have passed since the baby food challenge, because Padma is no longer wearing that seriously ugly muscle T with the appliqué that looked like a fake six-pack made of mesh and is now showing off her rack in a black dress."

Pop Watch (EW) on the Quickfire: "As usual, the show managed to turn something beloved into something so sinister with a fairly tough challenge in which the chef’testants had to create an adult dish that could be pureed for a baby as well. You see, Tom and Padma are new parents and, apparently, Gerber just ain’t cuttin’ it in the households Colicchio and Lakshmi."

Lehigh Valley Live on favorites: "So far this season, Angelo and perhaps Kenny are the only stand outs. I can't bring myself to root for Angelo -- despite his ninja-like agility -- and I don't see Kenny keeping up the momentum."

Reality Check (Baltimore Sun) on the losing dish: "Arnold and Lynne offer up pineapple red curry mussels with squid ink pasta and focaccia. Interesting ... but I don't see it being a big seller on a hotel menu. Bryan and Eric note that the pasta is not cooked. Not that it's not cooked enough, but like not cooked at all. So when exactly did Lynne expect to cook that pasta?"

Single Guy Chef has a past-season comparison: "She’s looking for a sophisticated signature dish to serve at their restaurants for the busy traveler. Yes, this is the hotel restaurant challenge (almost like the airplane food challenge, I feel)."

TWOP on the logic issue with the Quickfire: "Padma makes it sound like her daughter is going to eat it, but her daughter is two months old and is definitely not eating solids yet, even purees. Sorry, my mom-logic is bursting through."

Gawker makes a good point: "So yes, Bobby from King of the Hill and Amanda Cold Sore/Birthmark/Cokehead are not my favorite people. But, their superlative breakfast should have given them a chance to go to Italy or Spain courtesy of Hilton, (Hilton! Hilton! Hilton!)."

Fork in the Road (Village Voice) on guest judges: "The chefs serve their food to a panel that includes past Top Chef contestants Bryan Voltaggio, Mike Isabella, and D.C. homeboy Spike, all of whom look slightly embalmed. Eric's there, too, wearing a look that says, in charmingly accented English, 'I'm way too regal for this shit.'"

Nashville Scene on Kelly and the Quickfire: "But Arnoldophiles still bitter at TBK (that bitch Kelly) over their run-in two weeks ago found some solace in her pork loin landing her in the bottom group on the challenge, with a stray lemon seed in the puree that had Padma getting ready to report TBK to Child Services."

Grub Street on Stephen's cooking advice: "Breakfast began with some interesting cooking advice when Amanda asked Stephen how to tell when hollandaise sauce was done. His response: 'When it tastes really good.' OH. Okay." takes Bravo to task: "Amanda and Stephen, the dream team (if you dream about pills, cold sores, and not having lips), won the Breakfast segment of the Elimination Challenge, and we didn't even see what they cooked! Huh? 'The chefs so nice we edited them out of the episode twice.' You can do better, Bravo. And on the eve of your Emmy nomination for Editing no less!"

Daily Dish (LA Times) on Tamesha's Quickfire win: "Tamesha won the challenge with her veggie chowder with lobster broth and grilled salmon with licorice oil. Tom loved the infused oil as well as her soup, which left a little bit of texture intact despite being pureed. Being the youngest in the house might have given her a one-up, seeing as how she's closest to her baby food memories and all. "

Best Week Ever on Alex and Ed's scallop surprise: "Alex is cooking scallops — seriously? The #1 most frequently ripped-on-by-judges dish (unless you count souffles)? But Lo and behold, Alex and Ed actually win with their scallops dish — Mike Isabella “likes the flavor profile – I can say chef things! Amuse-bouche!” — and avoid the Dinner Round."

Max the Girl warms my Maryland heart: "For the breakfast challenge, Tim let Tiffany take the lead on the crabcakes for their crabcake benedict. (On behalf of all the good people of Maryland, I must say this: Tim, how could you? Tiffany is from Texas. They know from ribs and giant steaks and political nepotism in Texas. Not crabcakes. Have some Old Line pride and take charge of that cake! But I digress . . .)"

What'ere, Jane Eyre on the producers' influence: "Oh, I'm sorry. Did I imply that it would be possible for Kenny to get eliminated before the final four? Silly Limecrete! Arnold and Lynne could have made a scale model reproduction of Mount Rushmore out of lentils and still get eliminated, which they are. Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain! And while you're at it, could I impose on you to wake me when this show gets back to at least pretending it's about food?"

Monday, July 12, 2010

Kitchen Showdown with Camille Becerra

Presented by Hot Pot Culinary Events and Hudson Terrace
Sponsored by Cabot
August 23rd, 2010

Think you're the top chef in this town? Can you throwdown dishes with the best of them? Does chicken stock run through your veins? Then prove it!

Join us at Hudson Terrace for an interactive cooking competition where you are the chef! Join a team and slice, dice, and saute your way through a fast-paced preparation of a dish starring a Featured Ingredient. Then stand behind your dish as a panel of judges and spectators taste each entry to determine which team reigns supreme.

Chef Instructors from Hot Pot Culinary Events will help guide you along as you prep, cook, and plate your dishes.

Teams will get 75 minutes to plan, prepare, and cook a dish for the judges and spectators. Chef Instructors from Hot Pot Culinary Events will provide helpful tips and tricks as you work together to beat the clock and the competition. One team will take the crown as Kitchen Showdown Champion and win fantastic prizes!

Participants: Join as an Individual and get matched up with a team or join as a group and save $50! 6pm to 9pm.

Spectators: Enjoy a one-hour open bar from 7pm to 8pm, then watch the action unfold, and sample all the dishes!

Hudson Terrace
621 West 46th Street
New York, NY 10036

Video du Jour - John Besh Talks About the Gulf Situation

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Take Bryan Voltaggio Home the form of a bobblehead.

I seriously want one, but can't get to the game. :(

In addition to throwing out the first pitch of the game, Chef Bryan is also serving up some fabulous concession chow including "Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho "Dipping Dots" Rock Shrimp Ceviche, Petite Cilantro," "Pulled Red Wattle Pork, Pickled Watermelon, Dill Potato Salad," and "Summer Truffle Pop Corn." Yum!

If any of our readers are able to attend, we want to hear about the experience and see photos!

Video du Jour - Spike Mendelsohn on His New Restaurant

Top Chef Foodie Experience - Wine Dinner at Jennifer Carroll's 10 Arts

When my friend The Scarlett, from Blogging Project Runway, invited me to attend the Torbreck Wine Dinner at 10 Arts by Eric Ripert, I jumped at the chance. For one thing, I hadn't seen Scar in about a year, and for another, Jennifer Carroll from Top Chef Las Vegas is still the restaurant's chef de cuisine. After watching her nearly win the competition, of course I was curious to taste her culinary wares.

Our first course, served with a Torbreck (Australia) semillion:  apricot honey jus, spheres of pineapple caviar, micro cilantro, and thin slices of jalapeno.

For our second course we were served Chatham cod with carrot, maiitake mushrooms, smoked steelhead caviar, and a black peppercorn bourbon sauce.

The third course was foie gras in a little pool of dashi, with some fennel and wine-soaked dried cherries.

The final savory course was a pork belly ravioli with scallion, morels, and a fragrant wine emulsion.

Finally, we had a dessert called passion fruit "parfait"  with white chocolate, caramelized pistachios, and white chocolate orange sorbet.

But wait, there's more - we were also served a plate of tiny mignardises including a puffy bit of pastry, a tiny brownie, and a square of gelée that may have been fig. Ok, now we're done.

I was very happy to have had the chance to finally experience Chef Carroll's culinary expertise, and it was very interesting to see her thought processes as far as pairing food to wine (and not vice versa). Personally, I think it would be a challenge, but I'm not a huge wine person.

For a more critical look at the meal, check out my post at

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Top Recipe - Top Chef DC Episode 4

Here's the link to the video of Michael Voltaggio preparing Kelly and Andrea's winning short rib dish.

The printable version of the recipe can be found here.

Friday, July 9, 2010

All Top Chef Interview with Arnold Myint

Top Chef DC contestant Arnold Myint talks about his experience on the show. Arnold has three restaurants in the Nashville area. A tapas bar called ChaChah,The Asian-Inspired PM Cafe, and Suzy Wong's.

Click here for the podcast.

Thank you Chef Arnold!

All Top Chef Interview with Lynne Gigliotti

Top Chef DC contestant, Lynne Gigliotti talks about her experience on the show. A highlight: Lynne is writing a Mediterranean cookbook.

Click here for the podcast.

Thank you Chef!

Bravo Exit Interviews - Arnold Myint and Lynne Gigliotti

I can't seem to get the embed code for Lynne's video, but you can watch it on the Bravo site here.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Poll - Who Should Have Been Cut in Week 4?

Were you sorry to see Arnold and Lynne get the boot, or did you think someone else should have been asked to pack their knives?

Congratulations, Chef Kelly Like AND Chef Andrea Curto-Randazzo!

Last night's episode of Top Chef could've been subtitled "The Battle of the Short Ribs." Ultimately, Chefs Kelly Liken and Andrea Curto-Randazzo took home the win - and Hilton-sponsored trips to Venice and Barcelona - for their flavorful and juicy version of the dish.

This post is only for positive comments about Chefs Like and Curto-Randazzo. If you have anything negative to say about them or any of them competition, please leave a comment here.

ATC Love to Chef Arnold Myint and Chef Lynne Gigliotti

In a rare move for Top Chef, last night we said goodbye to two chefs - a complete team. Though the judges praised Chefs Myint and Gigliotti for their creativity and quirk, they were ultimately sent home for the undercooked squid ink pasta that accompanied their pineapple red curry mussels and coriander-dusted focaccia.

This post is only for positive comments about Chefs Myint and Gigliotti. If you have anything negative to say about them or any of their competition, please leave a comment here.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Reactions to Top Chef DC Episode 4

Show of hands: Who missed Mike Isabella? Oh, really? That many of you?

This week on Top Chef: more standard issue rushing and whining, still too many contestants, and - surprise! - a double win and a double elimination. Plus, a crazy format change in the Elimination Challenge that keeps things interesting, if a little confusing.

But first, the Quickfire. We meet the cheftestants in their home away from home, the Hilton kitchen, where Padma (wearing...something weird on her chest. What is she hiding?) and Tom announce to the group that today, they'll be responsible for creating a dish that satisfies her and Tom and that would satisfy Padma's two month old and Tom's eight month old.

Nevermind that two month olds don't eat food - that's just a technicality. Actually, I start to think that maybe I'd do OK in this Quickfire, since I made my kid's own baby food for a while (mostly guacamole, in case you're wondering).

Also, it's a high stakes Quickfire - no immunity's at stake, but two winners will each receive $10,000. Which Arnold will donate to an orphanage, while Alex will blow on, well, hookers and blow. Good to know, Creepy Alex.

We learn a little more about our cheftestants - some have kids, some don't. Sadly, we learn that Kenny's first wife passed away when their daughter was very young.

When it's time to taste, the judges have the stoniest faces I've ever seen - except when Padma finds an errant lemon seed in Kelly's baby food, confirming that Padma has secret, superhuman seed, shell and bone-finding powers.

Overall, Tom thinks everyone did really well, though he singles out Timothy for his overcooked lamb and Hooker-Loving Alex for his dill-heavy puree as weak spots, while Padma was turned off by Kevin's bloody lamb and Kelly's bland meat (and, I'm assuming, that lemon seed).

On the flip side, Tom liked Lynne's well-seasoned dish (though I find Lynne, as a character, b.o.r.i.n.g) and Tamesha's licorice oil, and Padma thought Angelo's was delicious and special and appreciated Kenny's use of bulgur wheat.

In the end, it's Tamesha and Kenny taking home the ten grand and Tamesha's honest excitement is pretty charming. Angelo's crankiness is also kind of hilarious (but predictable).

Next, it's onto the Elimination Challenge. Padma introduces Beth Scott, who's the Hilton VP of restaurant concepts, and who will be a guest judge this round (along with, as it turns out, Spike, Mike Isabella, Bryan Voltaggio and Nora Pouillon of Restaurant Nora.)

The format is a little different than usual and while it's kind of confusing, it also keeps things interesting. The cheftestants are to pair up into teams of two. Every team must be ready to cook a breakfast, lunch, and dinner dish that would be appropriate for the Hilton restaurant menu and that could translate to room service. The winning dish will go on the menu.

Here's the twist: the top two breakfast teams will be safe from elimination, but the rest will have to cook lunch. The top two lunch teams will be safe, and the final three will cook dinner. One of the final three teams will be eliminated - both of them. To be honest, I'm pretty relieved, as it's the fourth episode and I'm still having trouble keeping these people straight.

The cheftestants quickly pair off and it looks like this:
  • Amanda/Steve (nobody else wants them)
  • Tim/Tiffany (she's not that psyched)
  • Ed/Alex (Ed's not real happy, probably because we're not the only ones who think Alex seems creepy)
  • Kenny and Kevin
  • Lynne/Arnold (I love him)
  • Angelo/Tamesha (He loves her, but she does not return the favor)
We learn that Kenny has restaurant experience, which immediately makes me think he's either winning or going home. After a lackluster early performance, I start to worry. I like Kenny. He's got skillz.

What follows is a lot of shopping and a whole lot of cooking. The highlights include:
  • Ed and Alex screwing up their breakfast by missing out on the hollandaise and forgetting to put a breakfast patty on one plate.
  • The underdog teams of Steven/Amanda and Tiffany/Tim winning the first round (despite Amanda's voice, which makes me want to claw my eyes out).
  • Angelo and Kenny both being angry they're not winning...and showing it in the least dramatic way possible. Where's Fabio when you need him?
  • Someone (Alex) getting cocky about scallops and, for the first time in Top Chef history, actually delivering. Maybe it is Top Scallop.
  • Two teams in the finals making short ribs. And neither one going home.
Ultimately, Kelly and Andrea took home the win (and trips to Venice and Barcelona) for their short ribs and polenta, which looked pretty fabulous, but, sadly, Boring Lynne and Fabulous-I-Love-Him Arnold had to go for their undercooked squid pasta which, let's be honest, might be good but is way too adventurous for a Hilton restaurant menu.

Arnold is sweet about his defeat, making me doubly sorry to see him go, but I am excited that next week, I will have one less random blond woman to keep track of.

So, what did you think? Were Lynne and Arnold robbed? Did Kenny and Kevin deserve the boot? Did you like the new format? Please leave a comment with your thoughts....