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Top Chef - D.C. - Ep. #5 - 07/14/10 (Spoilers)

Lots and lots of crabs - Maryland's blue crabs, to be specific - for the Quickfire! They're skittering out of the baskets on the table....QUICK! Run for your lives! LOL Guest judge is Patrick O'Connell, chef/proprietor at the Inn at Little Washington.

INTERESTING! The morning of the QF at the residence, Angelo is giving tips to Tamesha on how to deal with the challenges, and did he express potential romantic interest in Tamesha? She's appreciative of his mentorship, but is she romantically interested in him? I thought she said "no" in the last episode. Guess we'll see. But she does go running over in the QF challenge to find out how to get the crab meat out. So perhaps she's using him. :-)

And then Ed and Tiffany are buddying up? Hmmm...please back off on any romantic interests, Magical Elves...please?

Tim's a local Baltimore guy - will he win the day because he's most familiar with picking crabs and keeping it simple?

> The Lows? Andrea, Amanda, and Kevin (he's been in 4 QF lows in a row!)

> The Highs? Ed, Kenny, and Angelo. I do believe Timothy's a bit ticked off!

> The Winner? Ed! And he gets immunity in the next EC.

The Elimination Challenge finds them at a Virginia organic farm using farm-fresh ingredients working as ONE single team, putting out a total of 6 dishes for 40 local chefs. The won't know ingredients or cooking equipment until they get to the farm - so they'll have to think on their feet if the menu they plan in the house can't be done when they get there.

UGH! Kenny and Angelo are starting the beating of the chests like big Silverbacks fighting for dominance in the tribe. What a surprise - the call-in survey question is who's the bigger Alpha Male - Angelo or Kenny. :-)

And did Stephen just say something about someone doing a fruit platter for dessert? Is he KIDDING? Yeah, do that and you're SO going home.

They get some grills and some hot plates to cook on when they get to the farm - this is NOT going to be easy!

Kenny is chopping and knocks over Kevin's cauliflower couscous....Kenny says "scoop it up" but Kevin very rightly says "Umm, we're in the midst of a cow pasture - I'm not using that! You never know what little creatures are in there!" So he grabs some broccoli and leeks and attempts the couscous that way, even though he's never made it that way.

In the brief peek into house life in between commercials, several people reveal their nicknames for Kenny: Big Daddy, Black Magic, and several others. FUNNY! I think more people are appreciating his leadership than Angelo's, as Kenny remains calm, while Angelo gets all frenetic.

One LONG table for the diners and judges to sit at. They're serving family style - it looks freakin' COLD there - everyone's bundled up - I have to believe they're all eating cold food even if it's supposed to be hot.

Amanda's soup and Stephen's salad don't get good reviews. Nor did Timothy's turnips or Tiffany's collard greens.

Kelly and (Kenny?) did well with their combined dish, as did Angelo and Tamesha. And Kelly got excellent reviews for her berry crisp as an "extra credit" dish when she didn't have to do it.

Padma comes into the Stew Room and asks to see Kevin, Kenny, Andrea, and Kelly. Hmmm...sounds like Top 4! Yup. Kevin's couscous was well received. Padma liked Kenny's sweet and sour curried eggplant, and Tom says she's tough on curry, so that's high praise! Kelly gets very favorable reviews from Chef Ripert for her vegetable dish with beets.

The winner? Kenny!

Timothy, Amanda, and Stephen are in the Bottom 3. Colicchio was pretty pointed with Timothy and how he tried to fix the dish but it didn't work. O'Connell's "concrete truck pouring onto silk" analogy to the dressing on Stephen's salad was SO visual! And Amanda's soup was amateurish - as if Grandma has chopped the vegetables with her axe. :-)

(And Kenny is winning 63% to 37% in the biggest Alpha Male survey <g>).

This is a tough one, but I'm thinking Stephen or Amanda go home. Well, I was wrong - it's Timothy going home!

And interesting in the previews - they'll be judging themselves in the EC next week. And even MORE interesting - Angelo is helping Stephen and Tamesha in their cooking...Angela wonders if he's got some game playing going on...could he be trying to bring along some weaker chefs so he goes up against them nearer the end? Anyone think that?

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  1. Linda...I thought I heard Ed say that he used canned crab meat...did I hear that wrong?
    I thought the same thing when Stephen suggested the fruit platter....seriously??

    2 Replies
    1. re: HungryRubia

      I *think* he was joking about using canned crab meat, HungryRubia - I heard Ed say that, too, but he kind of laughed after he said it. I seriously, seriously, SERIOUSLY hope he was kidding with all of that beautiful fresh blue crab!

      1. re: LindaWhit

        I doubt he would have won with canned crab. I do believe Chef O'Connell knows the difference. ;)

    2. the ed tiffany thing is interesting.

      course that doesn't mean i want to see more. ;)

      9 Replies
      1. re: AMFM

        It did appear that there is some genuine chemistry there to me. (as opposed to Angelo and Tamesha, which I find unconvincing as a potential pairing..although I did find that Angelo seemed a bit more, well, nice and genuine, when he was giving advice and helping her figure out how to deal with the crabs.)

        Speaking of which, did he REALLY say, 'I had crabs...it brings back bad memories'.?

        Yes, it seems to be about the TV. No one to love. Other than Eric Ripert, of course :-)

        1. re: susancinsf

          Yes, Angelo made that odd comment about having crabs and bad memories. He doesn't seem to have much of a sense of humor, and he kinda looked down and away while he said it, which certainly made it seem confessional.

          1. re: momjamin

            I thought the a_hole was bragging. Kind of a he-man poseur thing.

            1. re: Phaedrus

              Eh, I thought it was funny. He seemed to be clearly making a joke.

          2. re: susancinsf

            Yes, that comment was SO not what I needed to hear. And I loved your "No one to love. Other than Eric Ripert, of course." Ditto that sentiment. :-)

            1. re: susancinsf

              That was clearly a TMI violation on Angelo's part. LOL

              1. re: susancinsf

                I totally didn't read that as a joke. I even had to rewind and watch it again, but I still thought he was doing a TMI instead of a joke!

                1. re: DivineFemme

                  i think he was attempting humor, but he just isn't funny

            2. Oh my....guest judge Patrick O'Connell does reminds me of.....Carol Channing

              19 Replies
              1. re: Hurner

                LOL! Stretched *just* a bit thin in the smile area, I thought. :-)

                1. re: Hurner

                  Ha! I knew he reminded me of someone. Maybe a cross between Carol and...dang, it will come to me sometime tonight.

                  1. re: debbiel

                    Ummm...maybe a leeetle bit of The Joker? (That's what I first thought of.)

                    But I understand the Inn at Little Washington is a wonderful, wonderful place - food, service, hospitality, the works. So perhaps we can overlook the visual for now. :-)

                    1. re: LindaWhit

                      Yup, that's it. The love child of Carol Channing and The Joker.

                      1. re: LindaWhit

                        Forgetting the visual was pretty impossible for me, the guy kind of skeeved me out. I know he's a chef and not a movie star or news anchor, but the way he talked was somehow creepy (maybe the Carol Channing thing). And no one's commented on that jacket of his? Maybe that's the Joker part of the equation. It was absolutely hideous and could have easily been rectified. Whatever, not my favorite guest judge in the world. Still not sure who I want to win and agree that a little more actual cooking would be nice.

                        1. re: LindaWhit

                          absolutely the Joker. Kind of creepy! Enjoyed the show though. Angelo was way more appealing than he has been before. except for the crabs thing.

                          1. re: DGresh

                            I was pretty much taken aback when he said that. Not so much THAT he said it, but that the elves decided it was interesting enough to air!

                            Unless, of course, they were trying to creep us out.

                          1. re: LulusMom

                            that's who was in my mind when I saw him! :)

                        2. re: Hurner

                          I kept expecting him to break out into song and dance -- he reminded me of someone from an old Hollywood musical, but couldn't come up with a specific name.

                          1. re: momjamin

                            I know who you're thinking of -- Donald O'Connor. He was in Singin' In The Rain.

                            http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0640307/

                            1. re: chicgail

                              unh huh. I thought of an elderly Van Johnson!

                          2. re: Hurner

                            LOL...I was thrilled to see Patrick as he was the one Chef I wanted to see judge this season.

                            My first husband was one of the original employees at The Inn at Little Washington and I also went to college with Patrick's younger brother.

                            I have been to The Inn about a half dozen times and IMO it's one of the most wonderful places on earth and Patrick does amazing things.

                            So, I was happy about this episode, until Tim went home :-(

                              1. re: Miss Needle

                                ROFLMAO! Now THAT is a very good Separated At Birth choice!

                                 
                                 
                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                  Yep, Ron Popeil it is. He was a little scary to look at, but I loved his plaid jacket.

                              2. re: Hurner

                                OMG!! I was thinking Barry Manilow, but now I think it might be a combo of both.

                                Thats a lot of serious facework going on.

                                1. re: Hurner

                                  OMG. Hurner, I couldn't put my finger on it. I was thinking someone from Hee Haw or something but you hit the nail on the head. Hello Dolly!

                                2. Here's what stuck with me most from this episode: Eric Ripert looked incredibly hot wrapped up in his scarf out on the farm.

                                  The Kenny and Angelo chest beating scene was incredibly annoying. I really could have done without that.

                                  I was kind of hoping they would send all three of the bottom three packing. I just haven't seen much out of any of them. There seem to be consistent basic skills errors with them (though, really, my memory on past challenges is a bit muddy).

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: debbiel

                                    Agreed on all three points, debbiel!

                                  2. I'll admit it: I was rooting for Amanda to go home, because she is annoying...and I felt sort of sorry for Timothy. And yet, I could understand why he was chosen to go: basically he served a dish that I could do, and do better.....

                                    besides, while I love Eric Ripert, I wasn't sure I wanted to see a repeat of the whole coq au vin semantics thing if Amanda was sent packing. Did it really matter that she called it 'minestrone' but it had no pasta in it? Undercooking some of the vegetables in the soup, obviously that was a real mistake...

                                    35 Replies
                                    1. re: susancinsf

                                      I figured it was Tim after JT comments. It was between Tim and Amanda.

                                      It was not Stephen because he got nearly no facetime this week. Amanda and Tim seem to have equal facetime. But I always notice JT comment about flavor. If the dish is not criticized on flavor that means it is well flavored. Amanda got dinged on mechanics of carrot cutting and the soup name. But no comment about her bottom dish's flavor means it tasted good.

                                      Tim's grilled veggies was just a straight up fail. No taste.

                                      1. re: dach

                                        Good observation on the flavor issue AND the amount of camera time. Hadn't thought of that when I said last night I thought it was between Stephen and Amanda.

                                        1. re: dach

                                          I agree. Amanda's soup must have been well seasoned, even if the carrots were not chopped correctly. It makes sense that serving a plate of random vegetables that don't work together as a cohesive dish is worse.

                                        2. re: susancinsf

                                          Yes, it matters. It's not semantics. It demonstrates a lack of understanding of basic culinary concepts.

                                          Plus, there's hardly anything as simple to make as vegetable soup, so you damn well better make sure the vegetables are cooked uniformly. A grade schooler can do that.

                                          But deciding to serve cubed roasted turnips as your dish on TOP CHEF and then botching them is undeniably deserving of the boot.

                                          1. re: C. Hamster

                                            I was really sad to see Tim go, but he never really got it going on through all 5 episodes. I know folks who know him and his food, so it's not that he can't cook. Those cameras, plus the stress of direct competition can do a lot to stress a person out, and I think he was one of the prime victims of that.

                                            1. re: ChefJune

                                              I found Tim constantly irritating. He was always swaggering about how confident he was and how he had put out great food - yet was constantly on the bottom where there was almost always something wrong about his self-toutedly-great dishes; and he always seemed incredulous that he was in the bottom. I was surprised he lasted as long as he did.

                                              1. re: huiray

                                                ITA with all of that. When he started bragging about his crab skills, I thought, "yeah...you alway say that and then you're WRONG, buddy boy!"

                                            2. re: C. Hamster

                                              Pasta is NOT required in a soup for it to be called "Minestrone".

                                              1. re: huiray

                                                I didn't think it required pasta either. And yet, both Ripert and Colicchio admonished Amanda for *not* having pasta in the soup.

                                                1. re: huiray

                                                  One of the defining elements of "minestrone" is the inclusion of pasta.

                                                  1. re: C. Hamster

                                                    My understanding is that it's tomato based, with beans, onions, celery, crushed and/or chopped tomatoes, and carrots...with pasta (sometimes leftover?) or bits of meat added to stretch the dish if needed. Several places I've read "often with pasta or meat added" - but it's not a definitive element.

                                                    However, Colicchio and Ripert both seem to see it that way. Shades of coq au vin.

                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                      My sources say the beans are optional but the pasta is rather definitive.

                                                      1. re: C. Hamster

                                                        whether or not that is the case, I still don't see how it shows a lack of understanding of 'basic culinary concepts'. What is the basic concept that she doesn't understand?

                                                        I just don't buy the idea that not including all of the ingredients of a classic dish from one particular cuisine is the same thing as not understanding a basic culinary concept.' It may mean that the person is not that familiar with one classic dish from particular cuisine, or it may mean that they wanted to get creative...

                                                        The fact that people argue about it on CH and that you use the modifier, 'rather' is reason enough to me to call it semantics, and as I say, while I love Eric Ripert, I think it was a little harsh to ding her for that aspect of the dish, so I was glad she didn't get sent home for it.

                                                        Now, not cutting the veggies in the soup so that cook at the same rate, that DOES show lack of understanding of a basic culinary concept (or more likely, she did understand, but just got sloppy). IMO.

                                                        1. re: C. Hamster

                                                          Interesting - whereas I've always seen beans are a definite ingredient and the pasta is "if you feel like it." But the absence of a definitive origins recipe is going to make this a discussion that won't have an end - other than us saying what we understand it to be. Ahh, well - that's what makes the world go round.

                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                            Beans are a definite. Red bean broth is a defining characteristic. Pasta is not. You could include rice rather than pasta and it is still minestrone. This soup is a poor person food. It was incredibly snobby and ill informed to call her out for no pasta.

                                                            1. re: celfie

                                                              Thanks. That's what I thought, which is why Colicchio's and Ripert's adamant statement requiring pasta in the soup bugged me.

                                                        1. re: huiray

                                                          Food Lovers Companion says:

                                                          "minestrone ("big soup") refers to a thick vegetable soup that generally contains pasta and sometimes peas or beans. It's usually topped liberally with grated Parmesan cheese and is hearty enough to be considered a complete meal. "

                                                          New Professional Chef says "typically includes both beans and pasta"

                                                          Larousse Gastronomique says "Italian mixed vegetable soup containing pasta or rice"

                                                          1. re: C. Hamster

                                                            <generally contains>
                                                            does not mean ALWAYS

                                                            <typically includes>
                                                            does not mean ALWAYS

                                                            <containing pasta or rice>
                                                            means either pasta or rice but does not mean ALWAYS pasta

                                                            1. re: huiray

                                                              She would have been better off calling it a vegetable soup. ;)

                                                              I will say that every variation of minestrone I can recall having had both pasta and beans. Your mileage may vary.

                                                            2. re: C. Hamster

                                                              minestrone is hearty peasant food. despite what the culinary technocrats might say, minestrone without pasta is still minestrone just as beef stew without potato is still beef stew. now if minestrone translated to "vegetable soup with pasta" it would be a whole other story

                                                              1. re: celfie

                                                                I'm happy to be in bed with Eric Ripert on this one! Heh Heh.

                                                                Carry on.

                                                                1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                  LOL! Good response to the debate, although I suspect it only works for the female viewing audience. :-)

                                                                  1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                    Eric Ripert is a Frenchman.

                                                                    Here're the ingredients listed for two minestrone recipes plucked almost at random from two Italian cookbooks written by Italians from my bookshelves:

                                                                    1) Sicilian Home Cooking (Wanda & Giovanna Tornabene) - Alfred Knopf, NY 2001, pg 53: "Minestrone Rustico Siciliano": butter, onion, celery, carrot, garlic, ham, tomatoes, parsley, water, salt, zucchini, rice, bell peppers, parmesan cheese, basil. NO PASTA.

                                                                    2) La Cucina Siciliana di Gangivecchio (Wanda & Giovanna Tornabene) - Knopf, NY 2000, pg 81: "Minestrone di Verdure Fresche": potatoes, carrots, spinach, celery, onions, tomatoes, green beans, peas, garlic, basil, parmesan cheese rind, olive oil, ground pepper, parsley, croutons, olio santo, parmesan cheese. NO PASTA.

                                                                    1. re: huiray

                                                                      Tom Colicchio is not a Frenchman.

                                                                      I'll stick with Larousse, thanks.

                                                                      1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                        Larousse is a French cooking reference.

                                                                      2. re: huiray

                                                                        The recipes for Minestrone, just like for pasta sauce,varies from cook to cook, and most assuredly from region to region.

                                                                        Rice wouldn't be traditional in the South, because it doesn't grow there. It's the starch of the North. And No Pasta would probably trump pasta.

                                                                        1. re: ChefJune

                                                                          And I think this is what huiray and I are saying - there's no real definitive "recipe" for it, specifically *because* it varies from region to region. So it was disappointing to see Ripert and Colicchio call out Amanda on the no-pasta version she made.

                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                            ...except for the carrots....

                                                                            wonder if it also didn't taste especially appealing.

                                                                      3. re: C. Hamster

                                                                        A simple google search plucks out dozens and dozens of minestrone recipes WITHOUT pasta. Even FoodNetwork's Giada De Laurentis' recipe for minestrone does not have pasta in it. Etc etc.

                                                                        If this were patent law (and I have been involved with patents in my professional life for years) a single example of something (falling under prior art) that counteracts a claim in a patent negates the claim and renders it unenforceable if it had happened to have been granted.

                                                                        1. re: huiray

                                                                          So, you're patenting minestrone? Or negating the patent for minestrone?

                                                                          1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                            Hardly.
                                                                            Minestrone as a general concept is in the public domain. :-)