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


Team Borrowed has made Indian spiced lamb on carrot puree with raita and wilted kale, and used a little roasted almond, smoked paprika oil to boot. Padma loves the lamb. Dana is happy and thinks the spices are yummy. Leora Kulak – Food and Wine Marketing Manager – liked it a lot. I used to know a guy with the last name Kulak – different palate though, he once ate a Dave Smith Strat-o-Matic baseball card because he blew a save. Elizabeth Didora – Food and Wine Assistant to the Publisher – thinks it was good too. This dish made Gail really happy. Winner, winner, chicken dinner. Or lamb dinner, whatever.

Team Blue is up and Leah tasted the fish and wanted seasoning but trusts Fabio. Jamie thinks it was bland and boring. Fabio is tasked to talk to the crowd – smart move. Leah says that with 45 women there, with his accent, he can be pretty charming. He says that “all of you are so beautiful.” He had them at hello. He says the blue color remind them of the ocean and that on the bottom of the Chilean Sea Bass is sweet corn puree and Swiss chard and that the “green and yellow in the light spectrum makes blue.” He gets lots of oohhhhs from the ladies.

Unfortunately, the description was better than the food. Gail thinks the dish isn’t all that PC – I went over this last year, the Patagonian toothfish is often illegally caught and some consider it to be endangered. Nilou Motamed – the Senior Editor of Travel and Leisure – hey, how did she get in there! Well, she thinks it tasted like old people food. Food and Wine Account Director Debbie George thinks it was undercooked. Padma wishes it was bolder.

Tom tells the Chefs that everything went out on time and they did a good job back there. Gail tells her friends that she was “overwhelmed, almost embarrassed, thrilled and touched” and “can’t wait to get married.”

Commercials – I hope Marley and Me does well because I think both leads need it.

Stew Room– NY Daniel wants a drink, and The Nanny thinks it was an intense challenge. Padma comes in to get the Old and Borrowed Teams.

Judges Table – they are told that they won. Woo hoo!!! Tom thinks that Jeff’s sorbet was fabulous and Padma thinks it was the star of that course. Finn looks disgusted. Tom thinks the flavors of Team Borrowed were intense. Gail thinks it was a tasty spice mix. Tom also thinks Jamie’s was rather subtle, Jamie says it was the point. Gail thinks the lamb was perfect and well-cooked. Gail said it had a lingering good taste. Tom thought it would be raw before it came out, the Nanny suggests that the pressure was on and it was making her nervous.

Dana says the dish with the most “flavorful component” was the winner. Jamie mutters to The Nanny that she “wants this win.” But The Nanny won. She is surprised. She has won new Calphalon cookware. She confesses that Jamie was upset and that “kills” her. Jamie says she is always a bridesmaid and tells The Nanny she wasn’t upset with her.

The losers go in. Eugene explains that it was meant to make your own. Dana said it seemed like a sampler. She adds that the rice was mushy and that he should have thrown it out. Carla was not as happy as she should be. Eugene was happy, NY Daniel was “unbelievably” happy. Tom buries his face in his hands and reads the laundry list of problems – overcooked shrimp, steamed beef, melted sorbet, and a conceptual disaster. Padma asks about the mysterious mushrooms. Dan admits to being responsible. Carla didn’t know about them and didn’t taste them much to the surprise of Padma. NY Dan thinks they were seasoned perfectly. Tom says they were pretty bad. He asks if NY Daniel is still happy with the dish. He is. Tom is stunned and says “let’s move on.”

Was Leah happy? She was happy with their creative use of blue. Gail thought the flavors were good, but lacking texture. Someone called it nursing home food. It was mushy puree – unlike Jamie’s. Tom didn’t care for it and calls it a “sad plate.” Awww. He thinks it was fine and safe. It was the opposite of Team New who at least took chances. Fabio is surprised that making a “nice fish for 45 people” is safe. Tom thinks they shouldn’t be too happy about serving fish, especially a “very forgiving fish.” Fabio smartly swallows his next comment. Good idea.

Back in the Stew Room, Eugene offers to pull down his pants and check for a new hole. Tom wonders if Team Blue would ever put that on a menu. Padma thinks it was unimaginative. Padma adds that Team New was so subpar it was indefensible. Dana thinks each was catastrophic. Hyperbole much? Padma thinks Carla’s salad was a “brief point of light.” Tom thinks that means they were scraping the barrel for complements to make.  Gail says that Carla was stewing and wouldn’t let herself call anyone out, Padma thinks she should have. Dana thinks NY Daniel did very small components, badly. Gail says he failed and Padma thinks his palate is lacking. Tom thinks his continued defense of a bad dish was mind-boggling

Back in the Stew Room, NY Daniel and Eugene exchange phone numbers in anticipation of getting knifed. Gail says Eugene should have tossed the rice; she “doesn’t want to eat bad rice.” Dana agrees and wonders about his judgment.

Commercials – Enough with the damn Real Housewives! Man, they already disgust me before ever seeing one second of an episode. 

Elimination – Tom thinks that judging was harsh because it was a very personal challenge and they expected amazing.

Blue Team – boring, dishes like this won’t win and if they keep it up, they will all be gone sooner rather than later.

New Team – Bad conception and execution. Eugene had overcooked rice and shrimp and served bad rice. Carla should have spoken up when it was going wrong. NY Daniel? Tom still doesn’t think he understands that the dish was bad and he just wasted his time out there. Tom would like to send them all home.

Padma knifes NY Daniel. Good riddance. Amazingly, he cocks an eyebrow as if surprised. He doesn’t think he should have gone and that the judges didn’t get what he was doing. He thinks he could have been there longer if he threw someone under the bus. Who? Eugene? Dude, try to find a clue. He then makes a very long stupid football analogy about how refs miss calls but the call has to stand. Whatever. Shut up. Go home. Bye bye.

Next week – Martha Stewart. And the specialty meats woman from last season. This could be good.


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