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Top Chef: New York, Episode 6 – You Don’t Win With Deviled Eggs


Statue of Liberty. Padma and Martha begin the judging:
Eugene – Spicy Korean Stew with Pork and Mushrooms, Cilantro Sour Cream and Won Ton Chips. Martha asks about the thickening and he cops to the corn starch. She is clearly dismissive of it.
Finn – Veal Celtic Goulash with Potatoes and Chanterelle Mushrooms. Martha asks if the fungus grows where he works. He said they grow where he grew up too. She gives a traditional Martha story about picking them in the summertime.
Hosea – Paella with Seafood, Chicken and Chorizo. He says it is “quick, fast, and do it anyway you want.” I’ll let is pass about using both quick and fast as adjectives there. Martha and Padma both like it. Hosea interviews that “Martha Stewart gave my paella props. I’m a happy little chef right now.” Then he chuckles. I like Hosea.
Melissa – Pork Tenderloin with Braised Cabbage, Apple, Bacon, Orange and Fennel. She grew up in Maryland with an apple orchard behind her house. And I am always completely distracted by Melissa’s giant bangs. In fact, it may be her new name. Martha likes the flavor in Bangs’ pork.
Jeff – Potato Risotto with Crispy Pork and Sautéed Brussels Sprouts. May I say, ew? Martha thinks it is unusual. Padma asks if there is vinegar. There is. Martha thinks it is “Pungent.” That is rarely a good word. Jeff knows that Martha didn’t care for it.
Jamie – Potato and Kale Stew with Scallops and Fried Sage. Scallops and Liquid. Padma is curious about scallops being a winter food. Jamie thinks they are and is backed up by Martha. She Marthas that she digs for them in Maine in January.
The Nanny – Cauliflower Puree with Herb Rubbed Filet Mignon. She and Martha exchange Jersey acknowledgements. Notice how The Nanny is clearly from Jersey but Martha has no accent at all? Anyway, Martha comments about how there is “lots of butter” on the filet. The Nanny corrects her that there is no butter. Martha guesses oil. Nope. Thanks for playing. It is actually cream. Martha nods and right here I predicted The Nanny would win for simply stumping Martha Stewart.
Carla – Brined Turkey Breast with Apple and Dried Cherry Stuffing. Martha thinks the Nashville native’s dish was “tasty.”
Fabio – Roasted Mushroom Polenta with Seared Duck Breast. Martha simply says thank you. Uh oh.
We don’t get to see Radhika’s or Leah’s dishes.

Judging – Martha scolds them a bit for not really listening to her Einstein quote. Her bottom three:
Jeff – She didn’t like the taste, it was too starchy and heavy despite risotto being one of her favorites
Eugene – She was surprised she didn’t like it. It was on the verge of being good, but she hated the corn starch. Eugene is beginning to annoy me a bit as he interviews that he thought he did a great dish, that Martha was hating on the corn starch and that “lots of housewives out there use corn starch.” First, when Martha Stewart criticizes you, perhaps you should listen. And second, stop condescending to housewives, many of whom have better training than you in the kitchen.
Fabio – She wanted to see the mushrooms and it was a grey color and that turned her off. Fabio chokes out that he respects that opinion. Then he interviews a little more comically, but just as arrogantly, that he had a vein in his neck throbbing. He thinks his grandma would be ashamed of Martha. Come on guys, if you can’t take criticism, get out of the kitchen!

Who did Martha like?
Hosea – He chose a dish designed for one pot cooking and he clearly knows how to make paella
Jamie – The scallop was perfect and the kale is a good winter veggie.
The Nanny – Martha doesn’t eat a lot of beef, but this was well cooked, the puree was “smooth as silk” and she got fooled with the butter thing.

Clearly the Nanny is winning the autographed copy of Martha’s new book. Jamie puts on the Kate Winslet Oscar night face and laments in her confessional about just missing a win again. She is also wearing an incredible cook burger and fries t-shirt.

Elimination Challenge – They will be catering a charity event for amfAR – the American Foundation for AIDS Research. There will be about 250 people there. The Nanny comments on how hard that will be for them to do solo. Padma then calls in the Harlem Gospel Choir. They file in and are singing the “12 Days of Christmas.” This is…well…strange. Carla starts to say something but my damn Comcast cuts out for a moment. Hosea knows that something is up as the choir sings the “partridge in a pear tree” part. It was here that I knew what the challenge would be.

Padma has them draw knives. Finn goes first and gets 12 – a singer steps up and sings “12 drummers drumming” and the chefs know what is up. They each get a line in the song and will have three hours to prepare and one the next day to cook. Natasha Richardson is the celebrity board member of amfAR that is hosting the event – for those that don’t know her; she is an underrated actress, daughter of Vanessa Redgrave and wife of Qui-Gon Jinn himself, Liam Neeson. Also judging, Chef Michelle Bernstein – or as I remember her, the judge during the exotic specialty meats challenges in past years. Carla’s mind is already blown by the enormity of this challenge.

Commercials – The extra scene this week is the chefs singing their line from the song. The Nanny and Radhika seem to get into it he most. I also notice that Four Calling Birds is skipped. Then it hits me…only 11 chefs are left. Why didn’t they do this challenge in the last episode?

Whole Foods. 45 minutes to shop and $800. Carla says you can’t fudge food for 300 people. Oooh, fudge. Hosea has “11 Pipers Piping” and immediately thought of smokey food. Jeff has “10 Lords a Leaping” and again Comcast messes up. Jeff seems to be looking for frog’s legs and failing. He remembers some cheese from Cyprus and elects to go with an island hopping theme. Finn has “12 drummers drumming” and has chosen chicken pot pie. I assume because of drumsticks or because a pot pie looks like a drum. Leah has “3 French Hens” and is going with a “straightforward” and “safe” dish. Remember that.


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