Regarding this episode's food as well as the character and integrity of the chefs, substance is what was needed but was hard to find. Beginning with something on the lighter side, the Quickfire Challenge required creating a modern "sexy" salad.
Bringing sexy back didn't only refer to creating a salad for the QFC but also to guest judge and Season 2 fan favorite Sam Talbot. Though he seemed to have little to say, Sam was a good choice to judge tonight's challenges because his food was always clean and fresh, which possibly could have something to due with the fact that he's diabetic.
Pointing out that the chefs had little sleep from last week's 40-hour Wedding Wars challenge, Richard served up a lackluster "Fresh and Clean" salad with ceviche fruit and vegetables that needed some acidity. Andrew's Thai Fruit Salad that contained mangoes, strawberries and raspberries with sriracha sauce looked appealing but wasn't cited.
Winning his first challenge was Hat Guy Spike (who was also seen sporting a bandana and a skull cap) with a "well-balanced" Sensual Beef Salad consisting of pineapple, radish, cucumber and skirt steak. With immunity no longer offered, Spike was given an advantage in the Elimination Challenge that he happily used to his benefit. The chefs were to create a gourmet and healthy boxed lunch for the Chicago Police Department that was to be low in carbohydrates, sugar and fat, and included a whole grain, a lean protein, fruit and a vegetable. Spike was able to start shopping 10 minutes earlier than the rest plus select an item from each food group that no one else could use.
I'm aware that this is a competition but I don't think Spike's attitude is a winning one. Not only he but also Lisa and Andrew proved to be a big mess at the Judges' Table and should be arrested for conduct unbecoming of a chef. Selecting chicken, bread, potatoes, lettuce and tomatoes as his exclusive items, it seemed as if Spike chose them more to put others at a disadvantage rather than to excel. In the end it didn't help.
Padma called his Chicken Salad with Pita and Raw Vegetables "pedestrian" and Chef
Tom Colicchio didn't like the sweet and salty integration of the grapes and olives. It was mentioned that he used mayonnaise but not whether it was low fat. Spike also presented only two meals at a time in order to entice the policemen to eat his dish though the challenge was ultimately left up to the judges.
Lisa decided to put together a Shrimp Stir-Fry with Brown Rice, Berries and Yogurt that was microwaveable but ran into problems. Shrimp is a low-fat food but is high in cholesterol. (It didn't help that it was undercooked, which
Ted Allen called "nasty".) The big problem was accusing others of sabotage. Lisa kept checking her brown rice as it cooked but suddenly discovered the heat was cranked up to high causing it to burn on the outside and remain uncooked on the inside. Stephanie commented that sabotage was unlikely but Dale disagreed. My feeling is that if someone had deliberately changed the stove setting one of the camera operators would have recorded it and shown it to us.
Offering a balance of humor and over-the-top craziness, Andrew started the episode saying he awoke with a fire in his belly and was either going to "stab somebody or make amazing food." He did neither. Police officers need healthy food that will fill their appetites and give them stamina but Andrew's Salmon Roll, though nutritious, was deemed too light and "messy". Admitting to not having his rule sheet, Andrew skipped using a whole grain and simulated rice by combining parsnips and pine nuts. This didn't go unnoticed by the judges but was pointed out to them nonetheless by Lisa who may have been seeking an advantage. The look Andrew gave Lisa in the stew room, to quote Antonia, was "freaking me out"! When asked to pack his knives and go, Andrew referenced a previous episode stating that no security was necessary to escort him out.
The winner's table was much less dramatic and was shown in half the time. The ever-pleasant Stephanie created a Mushroom Meatball Soup with Barley and Vegetable Purée that was well-seasoned and seemed to please everyone. Dale kept his temper in check and won the EC by again going Asian with a Lemongrass Wrap but using bison that has 50% less fat and cholesterol than beef. Perhaps the bottle of Rutherford Hill merlot he won will accompany it nicely.
" Do you think someone was sneaky enough to escape the camera lens and sabotage Lisa's brown rice?
" Most repeated line of the episode, by Richard: "Do you like burritos?"
" Fact learned from Andrew: wasabi helps decrease tooth decay. Did you know that?
" Seeing Sam Talbot brought back fond memories of Season 2: molecular gastronomist Marcel and his smack downs, Mia throwing Cliff under the bus at the Judges' Table, Elia buzzing her head, Betty screaming at Marcel, Ilan screaming at Marcel
" I love a good Salad Nicoise that traditionally consists of seared tuna filet, sliced potatoes, haricot verts, olives and hard-boiled eggs. What's your favorite salad and does it have sex appeal?
" Text Poll: Start sending in your votes for Fan Favorite to be announced at the reunion special the week after the season finale. It's a tough decision but I think I'm going with Stephanie. Any guesses as to whom will be crowned?
For more tasty treats about
Top Chef, dig into our
Online Video Guide.
Regarding this episodes food as well as the character and integrity of the chefs substance is what was needed but was hard to find Beginning with something on the lighter side the Quickfire Challenge required creating a modern sexy salad Bringing sexy back didnt only refer to creating a salad for the QFC but also to guest judge and Season 2 fan favorite Sam Talbot Though he seemed to have little to say Sam was a good choice to judge tonights challenges because his food was always clean and fresh which possibly could have something to due with the fact that hes diabeticPointing out that the chefs had little sleep from last weeks 40-hour Wedding Wars challenge Richard served up a lackluster Fresh and Clean salad with ceviche fruit and vegetables that needed some acidity Andrews Thai Fruit Salad that contained mangoes strawberries and raspberries with sriracha sauce looked appealing but wasnt cited Winning his first challenge was Hat Guy Spike who was also seen