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Top Chef: New York, Episode 5 – Love and Marriage, Goes Together Like, um, a Random Collection of Sushi Ingredients?


So, they are cooking for a bridal shower that Padma is throwing for a dear friend. Hey, it’s Gail Simmons of Food and Wine Magazine! Padma greets her with a “hi cutie.” NY Daniel is “pumped” for this one and thinks Gail will be a “hot bride.” She fills them in that her friends are not the type that like “salad dressing on the side.” No Meg Ryans here. Jamie thinks it will be a hard crowd that knows their stuff, and are all women, who I think she is implying are harder to please. She would know – you understand yet, Finn?

Gail tells them no veal and no black beans. Important notes for future Top Chef contestants regarding Gail’s tastes. Oh, the guests are mostly her Food and Wine colleagues. So, no pressure, guys.

The Borrowed Team meets and Jamie has a good idea that they should “borrow” from Radhika’s heritage and cook Indian inspired food. She is also “borrowing” her own secret ingredient that they can all bring. Radhika is worried that she is getting pigeonholed as the Indian chef. Radhika…Ilan + Spanish, Hung + Asian. Don’t worry about it.

The Blue Team meets and Leah is trying to think of blue food. She wonders if figs can be blue. Maybe with food coloring they can. Fabio thinks this is hard and gets inspired to cook seafood – get it, blue water – because there is “no freakin’ blue food.”

The New Team meets with NY Daniel yammering on about how Gail likes things pickled. What? How does he know this? And, for the record, I don’t believe it. Carla has no idea how that would be “new.” Eugene mentions sushi and they bounce some ideas back and forth before coming up with beef and seafood. NY Daniel likes the surf and turf sushi roll. Carla again wonders – privately – what that has to do with “new.” She’s not speaking up so as to “not put a damper” on their ideas. Bad move, Crazy Carla.

The Old Team meets and elected to do a play on tomatoes. They are going with old school cooking and Jeff wants to do fried green tomatoes, which Finn scoffs at. Finn also thinks Jeff is crazy for doing tomato sorbet. He doesn’t think you can do that based on his catering experience. Hosea thinks that Finn is used to shouting out orders, but they are all equals here and it is getting old. Jeff thinks Finn could give a damn about anyone else. Finn thinks they have no clue. Can this end well?

Commercials – I am very tempted to buy the Top Chef jackets.

Whole Foods – The Chefs have $800 and 30 minutes to shop. Jamie wants California carrots to borrow from California. She is getting into this challenge. Fabio wants to smell the Chilean Sea Bass. Or the Patagonian Tooth Fish. Google it, folks. NY Daniel tastes peach sorbet. Don’t tell Finn. Carla is shouting “hootie hoo.” She explains that this is a two-part call that she and her husband use to find each other in stores. I really hope she has informed her teammates about this because if not…that it makes no sense whatsoever and leaves her looking like a crazy grown up Muppet wandering around Whole Foods shouting “hootie.” She better watch out or someone might call Darien Rucked

Team Old is grabbing up Heirloom tomatoes to go with the old theme. Finn is trying to push a certain kind of tomato on Hosea who wants to shop on his own. He confesses, “worry about your own sh*t.” Finn calls Hosea a “douchebag” in his confessional and is mildly concerned that he is making one dish.

Kitchen – running, cutting slicing. And now the menu listing portion of the show.

Team Borrowed – Eastern spiced lamb marinated in yogurt, Vadouvan carrot puree, wilted kale, cucumber raita

The Nanny wants to “clean it, French it, marinate it, season it.” Radhika says she has made this yogurt sauce a million times and wants to show how you can take these Indian flavors and put it in a classic dish.

Team New – Surf and Turf sushi roll, frisee salad with won ton, peach miso-BBQ sauce, yuzu sorbet. Eugene is sad his wife never got a bridal shower because they married overseas. He’d love to cook for it. He is making rice in a digital rice doohickey. It is making a “jingle” and he wants to leave it there. Foreshadowing?

Team Blue – Chilean sea bass, roasted corn puree, Swiss chard. Fabio is concerned about the party guests being well-educated women with great palates. He then gets into a pissing match with Finn and tells the Bald One “you make yours taste good for tomorrow, I’ll make mine.” Finn says something about a cigar, and I worry about that.

Team Old – Tomato terrine wrapped in eggplant, Carpaccio with tomato sorbet, gazpacho. I’m sorry, Hosea…kick ass gazpacho. Hosea rightly says that he is taking a back seat, and not telling the guys what to do since “their ass is on the line.” Smart guy.

Eugene’s rice is screwed up as Chef Tom saunters in. Melissa greets him and has taken Alex’s baton as the Dumb Hat Wearer. She has on an Ashton Kutcher hat – backwards and green. Ugh. Only catchers are allowed to wear hats backwards in my world. Tom is curious how there are doing because there are no blue foods. Melissa suggests blueberries, but no, they are purple. They are using blue cornflower. Tom shrugs. 

He goes to the Borrowed team and is told that Radhika is lending her “Indian flava.” He asks The Nanny what is being borrowed of hers. All her talent, she says. Funny. She confesses that her lamb will carry the dish and she will be standing by the oven and watching it cook. If only.

Team New is next and NY Daniel tries to explain the surf and turf sushi. Eugene mentions Dan’s fusion BBQ and sorbet. Tom is really concerned for them. Eugene thinks there will be a new insight on sushi, hopefully not terrible.

Team Old is last – boy, with Tom, Hosea and Finn…that’s a whole lot of bald. At least Jeff is there to up the hair factor a couple of notches. They mention the heirlooms too depict old, along with the Old World dishes as they all originated in Europe. Finn explains to Tom about how he was married twice. To the same woman. And is now divorced. This explains a lot. I think it was Jerry Seinfeld who joked about renewing old relationships. You take out the milk, smell it, it’s spoiled. So you put it back and hope it’s not spoiled later. Not that I have any experience with that, of course.


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