'Top Chef' Recap: Not A 'Good Morning' For Manuel
The guest judge was none other than the esteemed and highly decorated French Chef Daniel Boulud. The Quickfire Challenge involved the chefs creating a veggie plate utilizing three different cooking techniques, which includes but is not limited to: type of cooking, knife skills and presentation. It was revealed that Richard and Ryan both worked for Boulud in the past, but Boulud declared that he would not allow that to cloud his judgment.
Spike automatically declared that since he is classically trained in French cooking the challenge should be no problem. Lisa's plate was a disaster. It wasn't attractive and food was just put on the plate willy-nilly. Lisa, along with Nikki and Manuel, fell in the bottom of the Quickfire challenge. The trouble with these three was that there was little to no display of technique with their presentation and preparation. Boulud declared his favorites to be Dale, Zoi and Richard. Dale won the Quickfire and is safely tucked away with immunity from the elimination challenge.
The chefs' next task was to prepare one of six courses that is inspired by a favorite movie. Guest appearances on the show included Richard Roeper the film critic and actress Aisha Tyler. The chefs drew knives to find out which course they would be preparing, that is, all save for Dale who was allowed to pick which team he would work with. When all the knives were drawn the teams were formed:
Course 1- Andrew, Richard and Dale representing the film Willy Wonka
Course 2- Spike and Manuel representing Good Morning, Vietnam
Course 3- Jen and Nikki representing Il Postino
Course 4- Mark and Ryan representing A Christmas Story
Course 5- Zoi and Antonia representing Talk to Her
Course 6- Lisa and Stephanie representing Top Secret!
Although it seemed the troubles in the beginning of the challenge would seal the deal for the teams, it was not always the case. Ryan was concerned that he and Mark had nothing in common because they had difficulty deciding on a film. Zoi and Antonia did not have enough money to buy more lamb, which can be expensive. Another problem arose when Richard's electric smoker died after only smoking a few plates.
The judges were automatically taken by Stephanie and Lisa's dish and were also enthralled by the carrot puree produced by Mark and Ryan. The trouble with Zoi and Antonia's dish was how they sold it to the judges, giving them a description that did not fit the dish.
Boulud thought that the first course was executed flawlessly, which already hints at things to come. Their dish combined the unlikely flavors chocolate and wasabi, which was described by Chef Colicchio as. "something that you were trying to find reasons to dislike but couldn't." The guests at dinner also agreed that Stephanie's and Lisa's dish was an original dish, declaring that it was something none of them would be able to replicate at home.
The winning teams included, who else, but the Willy Wonka team and Top Secret! This gives us more reason to believe that Stephanie and Richard are going to be forces to contend with. They have both been singled out as winners a number of times so far, and the other chefs better know who they are up against. The winner of the challenge was, undoubtedly, Richard. Not so sure about Boulud leaving his opinion out anymore, however.
The losing team included Talk to Her and Good Morning, Vietnam. Antonia and Zoi were very surprised at being in the bottom. The flavors were there, but the execution and explanation of their dish didn't match what the judges saw, which is a valid argument given that we eat with our eyes first. The trouble with Spike and Manuel was that it seemed they only chose spring rolls as their dish because they are Vietnamese and that Spike was playing it safe because he studied in Vietnam. In the end, Manuel was asked to pack his knives for his lack of leadership in the challenge. If you plan on becoming a Top Chef, you must be willing to lead and not follow.
What can we expect next week? The flames in the kitchen take the form of arguments between the chefs after a difficult challenge of creating a high end dinner for 320 people. A guest appearance is made by the incredible Ming Tsai! Keep your eyes peeled...it's getting hotter in the kitchen!
What did you think of the episode? Make a comment!
Story by Kristin M. Koltz
Starpulse contributing writer
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