In this week's episode, we saw the first part of the Championship Round, with eight chefs going head to head (to head, etc.): Tony Mantuano, Susan Feniger, Carmen Gonzalez, Marcus Samuelsson, Rick Moonen, Jonathan Waxman, Jody Adams and Susur Lee. (I remembered them without a cheat sheet - go me! Hey, I take the small victories as they come.)
The Quickfire reprised the Blindfold Relay Race from season 6 of Top Chef, and the chefs determined their teams by choosing pots (no steenking knife block here) containing either a red or a blue apron.
Red Team: Tony, Marcus, Carmen, Susur
Blue Team: Rick, Susan, Jody, and a claustrophobic Jonathan who was sooo not into wearing a mask
It was amusing to see these Master chefs struggle a bit with this challenge, while the cheftestants in the regular series seemed to be so organized about it. This time, both teams end up making similar dishes with scallops and mussels. After tasting each, Jay Rayner proclaimed the Blue Team the winner.
The Elimination Challenge continued the team theme by being Wedding Wars, in which the teams have 12 hours over 2 days to cook for the 150 guests of a couple who have fairly different tastes in food and dietary restrictions. The Blue Team, with their advantageous win in the QF, chose the Bride, Elizabeth, because she claimed to like Asian and French food and that seemed broader than the selection given to them by Mr Meat-and-Potatoes-but-no-pork-because-I'm-Jewish-but-sure-shellfish-is-ok Aaron, the Groom.
After a shopping trip to Restaurant Depot and Whole Foods, the chefs have 6 hours to prep. Oh, and did I mention they had to create wedding cakes? Yeah, they had to do that too. After a few hours of sleep in which Jonathan Waxman doubtless had nightmares about being blindfolded, scallops, and Susan Feniger, the chefs headed to the wedding venue for another 5 hours of cooking.
In the blink of an eye, it's Reception Time and Elizabeth and Aaron enter the dining area with their hoard of guests. No Gail Simmons in this episode, but the bride more than makes up for the lack of boobage by supplying her own in a wedding dress that looks more like lingerie. A real shame nobody talked her into wearing a bra. But I digress. The critics seem to love everything made by the Blue/Bride's Team, except for Rick's seafood medley which is overcooked. On the Red/Groom's side, there was more nitpicking over dishes: Marcus' meat was soggy (insert joke here); Tony's pasta was overcooked; and, what the hell did Carmen even cook? On the positive side, Tony's shrimp were perfect and Susur cranked out five - count 'em five - desserts, including a croquembouche-style wedding cake and a carrot cake Groom's cake. Is there anything this man cannot do?
Predictably, with two very strong entrées, Team Blue pulls off the victory. Jody Adams gets the ultimate win for her "risky" lamb preparation (risky because the bride said she wasn't fond of lamb). On the Team Red side, Carmen gets called out for not making very much food aside from a corn salad and a crabcake appetizer. Granted, James Oseland said the crabcake could have held its own in Baltimore, the crab cake capital of the world. (Yeah! Go Baltimore! Hey James - maybe you could take Tony Bourdain on a tour of proper crabcake joints in our
So what did you think about this episode? Please leave a comment!