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

A fishy situation — As the clock winds down, Team
Water are slow to plate their salmon. Making matters worse, once they start
plating they find scales still on the fish. Tom was right, mistakes have crept
in. Wow, can he pick my lottery numbers for me next week?

Team Earth are finishing their dishes when Spike asks if they’re
all happy with the seasoning on the mushrooms. Zoi says she wants to keep it
light on purpose.

All the waiters in their black shirts and red ties parade in,
and it’s time to serve up some grub. Team Water’s poached salmon is first. Chef
Tsai finds five scales on his fish. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that
when a master chef has to spit out some of your dish, it’s probably a bad sign.

Mmm, goes Padma, mmm — Team Fire’s shrimp follows.
Padma makes yummy noises and deems it "amazing." She even licks her
knife, again.
Geez, some utensils have all the luck.

Team Air are next, serving their duck accompanied by a
little pomegranate aperitif. Sadly, they didn’t score the duck breast to render
the fat, and the little drink annoyed Tom. The first rule of Top Chef Club: Don’t annoy Tom.

And then it’s Team Earth’s turn to wow them with thinly
sliced beef and mushrooms. The judges dig in, and then after tasting the
mushrooms judge Gail Simmons says: "Is there rosemary in there? Yeah, that’s
a bad choice." Tom then labels the dish bland and its ingredients not
earthy. The second rule of Top Chef Club:
Don’t make mushrooms.
Seriously, those frustrating
fungi
are deal breakers almost every season.

Fill in the blank — With all the meals served, it’s
time for the diners to fill out their comment cards. For the first time this
season, the audience eating the food along with the judges will have a say in
who packs his or her knives. Antonia is
confident they aren’t on the bottom. Gosh, what was Tom saying about
overconfidence earlier?

The judges huddle and discuss each dish. Padma and Gail rave
about the shrimp. Tom says it was the bacon that made the dish, and they all
agree.

Gail: Bacon added to anything is not a bad situation.

Amen, sister. Amen.

Team Water gets called out for their scaly, textureless
fish. Team Air gets called out for not having a clear concept. And then there
is Team Earth. Turns out the salad and mushrooms had almost no flavor.

Tom: This is cooking 101: Season your food. That
really bothers me more than anything else.

Meanwhile, Team Earth are high fiving each other in the
kitchen. File that under: Things that can’t end well.

Team Fire decide to burn their Fire sign for good
luck. Team Water consider drowning themselves instead, thanks to the mushy
fish.

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