“Top Chef Recaps” Recaps: Episode 4.5 “The Elements”

 
 

THIS WEEK’S KITCHEN ESSENTIALS:

Quickfire: See no evil, taste no evil.
Elimination: Elemental, my dear Colicchio.
Padmaism: "I am going to blindfold you."

Don’t get out of bed angry — It’s morning, but not
such a good one for all the cheftestants. Antonia and Zoi are still mad about
making the bottom two for the film food Elimination Challenge. Antonia uses
colorful language. Zoi uses language we can publish.

Zoi: I definitely feel like I deserve to be here
today so waking up feels good. I am trying not to be irritated and pissed about
the fact that we got jacked on the last one. But it’s kind of good, it kind of
lights a little fire under your ass.

Ever the good girlfriend, Jennifer concurs heartily. She
even calls herself a fan of Zoi. Aww, it’s a chefbian solidarity moment. It’s
also a chefbian requisite novelty T-shirt moment. Look at the San Franciscan
calling out the Big Apple with her "more hugging, less mugging"
shirt.

Oh say can you see — As the dozen remaining
cheftestants enter the Top Chef
Kitchen, Padma is waiting for them with guest judge Ming Tsai, chef and owner
of the Blue Ginger restaurant in Boston.
Today’s Quickfire is — dun-dun-dun — the dreaded blind taste test. Well, dreaded by some, savored by others.

The sensitivity of the chefs’ palates will be gauged with a
blind taste test. Just how blind? This blind.

Padma with a blindfold? Best. Idea. Ever. At this point I
feel like I should send the producers of Top Chef a thank you card or a
muffin basket.

The chefs will be blindfolded and given two items to taste.
One is a high-end version and the other is a cheaper substitute. They get 20
seconds to decide which is the better item, and the one who picks the most
right, wins. Basically, it’s a snobby version of the Pepsi Challenge.

Taster’s choice — The chefs come in one by one to
test their palates. Ryan says he is looking for salty, fatty, overly sweet
foods as dead giveaways for low quality. Stephanie says she is looking for the
more flavorful options. She then proceeds to pick imitation crab instead of
fresh crab. I briefly consider taking away her honorary chefbian status.

The rest of the chefs come and go. Lisa is nervous, and not
just because she looks like Zorro the Masked Chef in her blindfold. She knocks over the
water bottle. She then says that the entire thing would have been easier
without the blindfold. Uh, I think that’s the point.

Dale does well on the chocolate and gets all the "Asian
ingredients right." Caviar, however, is his Waterloo, as he picks the $2.50 version over
the $17 stuff. How will he ever show his face in the gourmet market again?

Antonia is the most excited about the challenge. She says it’s
because her palate is very, very good. I think she might have a secret
blindfold fetish.

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