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Top Chef: New York, Episode 11 – There Are No Eels In Colorado


Tom is with them for the meal and tells them that one more course is coming. Everyone watching at home knows that it ain’t gonna be dessert. It is the knife block. Fabio seems to have wanted dessert. Their challenge is to recreate the menu. Carla thinks that is like re-creating the Garden of Eden. That was a big ERIC. Finn admits to not paying close attention during the service.

However, he gets to pick which of the six dishes he wants to cook – a really big advantage for Finn. He picks the lobster. Hosea knew it. Finn had already figured out the ingredients and Hosea thinks it was the easy way out. Sure it was, this is a crazy hard challenge – make the one you know you can make. The other five are now slaves to the randomness of the knife pull. Carla gets the escolar. Hosea the monkfish, Leah the mahi-mahi, Fabio the snapper and Jamie is stuck with the bass. Which she hated. That bodes very badly for our little lesbian.

Commercials – Alec Baldwin for Hulu and in the commercial he mocks TV watchers. While pimping for a TV viewing website. That just seems wrong. That would be like a beer commercial mocking alcoholics.

Two hours to prepare. There is smelling, zipping, tasting. There is also a tray of ingredients for each dish – but no instructions on how to make them. Wow – that is hard. Carla has never oil-poached in her life. Jamie has never braised celery or made the sauce before. Hosea has to help her take apart the ham. Jamie is also distracted by Ripert and staff watching them cook. Finn is tearing that lobster apart with German-like efficiency. He shows us how to take off the shells – including the butt.

Leah amazingly tells us that she was the lead fish cook at a previous job. Really? She was in charge of fish? Hosea says he is not “schooled as a chef.” This haunts him from time to time as he has never used this spice. He sees eggs and bread crumbs in the ingredients and deduces that he must bread the fish.

Leah drops her knife and Fabio dumps some broth. Fabio laments the challenge and that Ripert cooks these with 30 years of experience and that this is going to taste like Fabio cooking Ripert. He wonders about the Italian vs. French tastes, but thinks it should be ok as the two nations share a border. I crossed that border once – lots and lots of tunnels. Leah is confused by the miso and Finn advises her to add more. She thinks the butter is there to be mixed in with the miso and so she wisks it in.

Ripert takes Tom’s role to check on the chefs – but he adds a Tim Gunn element by actually giving them notes. He tells Finn that the asparagus should not be cooked. Leah is informed that it is too oily and that the broth is too intense. Carla is close with her sauce and just needs some acidity for the rich, flavorful fish. Carla is trained in French cooking and is feeling rather comfortable. Hosea has put way too much spice in the fish and needs to dry the fish out (or so it seems he said that). Hosea says that if you mess up the fish, you lost the dish.

Jamie does not get a visit. Why? Because she wasn’t prepared for him. Uh oh.

I can’t even talk about Padma right now. She has left me at a loss for words with how she looks. It’s almost not even human. The two hours are done and they now have 15 minutes to finalize the dishes. Tom thinks this is going to be career changing for these six chefs because of the mere fact that they can cook Ripert’s dishes…and hey, Tom is ERICing!

Fabio is first. He is searing the bread a bit and thinks he may have over done it somewhat. It seems as if the judges are getting the contestant’s dish and the actual dish as prepared by Ripert’s restaurant. Padma agrees that the bread was overdone. Ripert thinks the flavors were very close. Toby thought it was not a bad ompression, but the details were the differences. Tom thought it was like a forged painting, it was a good one but sill a forgery. More ERICing.

Leah can’t get her fish cooked properly. She puts it in for another minute. She thinks she effed it up, the miso too. Tom agrees that the miso is not thick enough. Padma thinks there is a definite difference. Tom says the fish is overcooked and that you can only taste ginger. Toby thinks Leah’s mahi-mahi is the same old dull fish that you get in the islands, while Ripert’s is a new discovery. More ERICing. Ripert is pleased with Toby’s praise. All Hail Ripert! Padma jokes that he is the Top Chef.

Finn feels good about his dish. He thinks it is exactly the same but the his sauce is a bit thicker, but not enough to break the camel’s back. Padma sees the difference in sauce immediately. Ripert admits that they make theirs with a blender, but Finn made it by hand. Padma thinks the lobster is identical. Toby says that if he didn’t know how it was supposed to be made, he would like Finn’s version.

Carla is worried because the fryer is not hot enough. Two weeks ago, she had issues with the freezer, and now she has trouble with the fryer! Is Lisa’s Rice Gremlin from last season going after Carla’s appliances? As a result, she can’t get the chips done properly and is now running behind. The other chefs help her plate and enable her to properly finish. Fabio even helps her find the crispiest chips. Ripert notices the crispy issue right away. Tom thinks that this was a tough one because of the subtleties of the dish and that Carla did a good job. Ripert agrees that she was loyal to the dish. Hootie Hoo!

Meanwhile, did you hear that Hosea is a fish chef? Really, he is! He refuses to lose on a fish challenge. He is concerned about the wetness of the monkfish and that the crust is the wrong color. Uh oh, Hosea. Ripert thinks he is close on the sauce, but Tom thinks he is not close on the actual fish cooking. Padma thinks it looks different, and Ripert thinks that he put too much spice and crusted it. Tom thinks that the monkfish did not sit for long enough. He informs Ripert of Hosea’s Fish God status and that he faces quite a bit of mocking back in Boulder should he lose. Ripert seems to not have known. Tom says that something should have been in Hosea’s “sweet spot” was the least precise of them all.


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