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Top Chef: New York, Episode 7 – Man, Dr. Romano Is a Tough Judge


Commercials – Dr. Pepper seems to have roped Brian Malarkey and Steph into their web. They are making Mama Malarkey Macaroons. They sound good. Damn, Dr. Pepper got to me too!

The chefs are chilling at the apartment as Tom enters. Quick! Hide the weed! Fabio is pissed because the place is a mess. Tom tells them that they will be judged blind in this challenge as they have free reign on their dishes. They will be judged by a collection of foodies and critics. They want to see what the chefs are capable of doing. Fabio explains that this does not mean the judges are blindfolded, it means that the dishes come out together and they will not know who cooked what.

Oh, and Tom confirms that two chefs are going thanks to the reprieve from last week. Hosea does that math that with Radhika being immune, that there is a 20% chance of elimination. The will cook at the Astor Center and will be split into two groups with Radhika choosing her group. Her only criteria – not being on Finn’s team.

Whole Foods – Part 1 – Bangs is picking out tuna for tacos. Really. With free reign to make anything at all, she is choosing something you can get on a Chili’s menu. Eugene has chosen a whole fish. And yes, he won’t be taking off the head or tail. Jamie thinks that Eugene’s dish sounds “f’n weird.”

Prep Time. Crushing. Chopping. Fish. Bacon. Some weird green liquid. Radhika talks about her dish and says the word “bisque” about 200 times in 15 seconds. Fabio is making pasta. Of course. He says that he is basically made out of meat and pasta. He talks about his grandma’s 500 recipes – as he started I thought he was going to say she was 500 years old. I am ashamed of myself.

Jeff serves family style all the time and selects his proteins. Carla takes a minute to hear her intuition. She wants to make a veggie dish but has decided to add scallops. Hey, that’s Jamie’s job.

Boil. Chop. And scallops. Wait? Jamie is making them again! She says she wants to prove to the judges – only two of which were there for the last challenge – that she can make them. Unlike the other times she made them on this show apparently. Fabio wants to tell her that this is Top Chef, not Top Scallop.

Eugene is deep-frying his fish. He doesn’t think anyone else would have the balls to do his dish. I think he means brains. Hosea thinks that Bangs is making safe food. She talks about her dish while wearing a giant purple scarf that looks to be about to choke her to death. Fabio’s lamb comes out undercooked. Uh oh.

Commercials – How did Inside the Actor’s Studio find a good actor that hasn’t been on before? I may watch that Laura Linney interview.

The Judges file in and there is Toby – he basically looks like Dr. Romano, mixed with Wallace Shawn and wearing Austin Powers’ glasses. There is much last minute seasoning and plating in the kitchen. High fives as they finish.

The second team shows up for their turn and lo and behold, there are the judges. They find out that they are going to be the foodies and critics that Tom mentioned before. So the judging table consists of Tom, Padma, Jabba, Toby and half the chefs. That’s kind of cool. The first group brings out their food and laughs. Fabio confesses that he thinks the other chefs will be harsh. They come back to the kitchen and find a closed circuit TV – they will get to watch the judging. Basically, it is a way for the producers to provide drama between the chefs and for the chefs to learn what kind of judge Toby is going to be.

They start with Radhika – Curried Crab Bisque with a Lemon Scented Crab Salad. Finn doesn’t care for it, it hurts his taste buds. Toby thinks that we have finally found the WMDs that they were “searching for” in Iraq, and it is right there in his bowl. Carla confesses rather hilariously “this is the new judge? Gail? Gail?” Tom laughs and wonders how he can follow the WMD line.

Next is Hosea – Bacon Wrapped Halibut with Roasted Vegetables in a Beurre Blanc Sauce. Carla thinks that the vegetables are so good, but they upstage the fish and bacon. Toby compares it to fine English actors taking supporting roles in American movies and upstaging the leads. Think – Sir John Gielgud in Arthur.

Jamie – Seared Scallops with Fennel, Garlic, Oranges and Olives. Jeff likes it, and Toby thinks all of the flavors complement each other well. Jamie leaps up and calls it “awesome.”

Fabio – Rack of Lamb with Cheese Ravioli and Mushroom Sauce. Finn thinks the lamb is undercooked and Fabio knows it. The Nanny concurs. Jabba seems to have liked it anyway. We all know Hutts like their meat raw.

Eugene – Crispy Red Snapper with Tomato, Basil and Daikon Fettuccine. Jeff loved the presentation. Finn wonders about the choice of cooking the Daikon, which should be cold. Toby thinks the whole thing was the “bland leading the bland.”

Bangs – Ahi Tuna Crudo Tacos. Leah liked it but thinks it needed salt. The Nanny thought it was too fishy. Toby thinks that the chef who made it lacked confidence and thinks it tasted like cat food. If you freeze frame on Bangs when he said that, you could see her heart break, just like Ralph Wiggam. She confesses that she knows better than this.

This round over, the B Team goes in to cook. Carla is glad to be in the B Team because she knows what she is up against. The flip side is that the A Team knows what was said and could be harsh as retaliation or strategically. Jeff is looking for sugar and says he has the most prep of anyone. Finn is slicing up a duck and says the recipe is from the Czech Republic where he was born. He isn’t a real Finn! He says that every Southern German and Austrian is turning over in their graves as he cooks. He is stirring up quite a bit of cabbage right now.


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