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Top Chef: Las Vegas, Episode 7 – Sending Home the Wrong Ash


The results – The judges talked over themselves a lot, so it was hard to attribute many of the comments to the correct person.

Ashley/Eli. Armstrong – Grilled Spot Prawns with Red Beet Crème Fraiche sauce, gnocchi and kale. Douglas informs us that the prawns are “precious seafood” and that Ashley did not “cherish them.” Tom points out the saltiness.

Robin/MM. Yagihashi – Marinated mushroom & pickled Asian pear roll with seared tuna and scallop. It got overall good results, although Tom pointed out the tension between the two chefs and wonders if the tuna and scallop were too similar.

Laurine/BryanBot. Florence – Halibut with sherry chorizo vinaigrette, yellow corn cake and avocado mousse. It is given praise for the layering and texture. Toby loves the smoky flavor of the chorizo and how it compliments the halibut.

Kevin/Jenn. Douglas – BBQ Kobe Beef with cardamom, tomato and ginger broth. Tyler thought it was fabulous and loved the fragrance and texture of Jenn’s sauce. We learn later on that Toby couldn’t get enough of this dish.

Hawk/Ash. Silverton – Pancetta wrapped halibut with egg yolk ravioli, asparagus and fennel salad. The fish was mushy and overcooked. Tom did not care much for the yolk and fish combo.

Padma wisely changed her outfit and comes to reward the Kevin/Jenn and Laurine/BryanBot teams as the Top Two. Kevin and Jenn compliment each other and claim ownership on the beef and sauce, respectively. Jenn has worked very, very well in the group challenges, if you haven’t noticed. Tom tells them Toby took it home in a doggie bag. Tom also tells Laurine and BryanBot that they did some great editing on the dish to make it work. Tyler felt the vinaigrette was the real stunner.

Kevin/Jenn win the challenge, and Jenn wins the reward – a $10,000 gift card from Macy’s. She promises Kevin a suit. Surprisingly, MM/Robin earn third place – a move that seems to have tricked the cameraman who was fixed on MM when the Bottom Two were announced.

Hawk. tried to explain that the power went out on their feeble workstation which caused the fish to be ruined. Tyler called him out on that by stating that chefs often cook in difficult places. However, I doubt a hallway/dining room is one of them. Tom simply thought halibut was the wrong type of fish to cook.
Ash. as mentioned before essentially blew kisses to Hawk, and said Hawk’s ideas were better than his. Tom rightly questioned whether Ash thinks he can win based upon Hawk’s awesomeness. Ash almost turns 180 degrees from hero worship to betrayal by saying that he can win because even Hawk can overcook fish.
Ashley. admits to undercooking the prawns to avoid overcooking. Toby wonders if gnocchi was too heavy for al fresco dining. Ashley comes close to blaming Eli for making it too salty but doesn’t take that extra step. A step which may have saved her.
Eli. Pretty much admits to doing nothing, prompting Tom to tell the team they overcooked the food and made it salty and tough.

Ashley gets sent home. She is gracious, but in tears. The Road to the Final Four for Jenn, Kevin, Hawk and BryanBot just got a whole lot easier.

Quickfire Hits – Not too many, but here’s a few:

• Pretty hysterical to see the chefs pile into the house once the challenge began to grab up the best slots. I think the Mikes wrecked themselves in the process.

• MM was ruthless. Regarding Robin – “I know she knows I’m a better cook than her without a doubt. She’ll listen to me, what I have to say. It’s my way or the highway.” I find it incredible that he can stand upright, considering he carries the weight of his ego on his shoulders at all times.

• Did it also seem to you that MM implied that he gave Robin – who, alone among the pair, had experience cooking Asian food – useless tasks to do, and then threw them out?

• Eli seems to have forgotten that Tom is not there to coach, he is there to observe. He is not as helpful as Tim Gunn (especially this week – Shirin got some stellar Gunnian tips), but he does give subtle clues. Pay attention to Tom if he asks you about something, chances are he thinks you’re crazy for trying it.

• Ash seriously took time away to set the table. Why? Because he didn’t really do anything. It is long past the time for him to be sent home.

• I really thought Laurine and BryanBot were going to be the third place team since they got such minimal airtime. However, when they were placed in the top tier, you knew it was clearly going to be Kevin/Jenn, who got a lot of attention this episode.

• My favorite part of the episode was the first time we were treated to some real brotherly love, as opposed to simply reaction shots implying sibling rivalry. Hawk was beating himself up over the fish fiasco, and BryanBot came over to console him. Later on in the Stew Room, Kevin was innocently trying to break down what went wrong with the bottom teams. BryanBot got very snippy and demanded they not talk about it and to let the chefs describe when they return from the judges’ beatdown. Kevin didn’t mean anything by it, but BryanBot, in his usual emotionless manner, was clearly and honestly concerned for his brother. Nice moments for him.

Next week – Some huge event and Eli and Robin have words. Robin doesn’t want to be his mom. I’m sure that will be a lovely moment in TV history.

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