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Top Chef: Las Vegas, Episode 9 – REVolting Restaurant Wins


Mission – Tom immediately notices the lack of dessert.
MM – Um…thanks Laurine. Something with Asparagus? Padma thinks it needs salt. So much so that she demands more salt. By the way, I like how Padma takes the role of high maintenance guest during these challenges.

Jen – Trout with Brown Butter Emulsion, Hazelnuts and Braised Endive.
Jen – Alaskan Halibut with Mussels, Clams and Saffron Aioli in Consommé.

Jen is actually cooking her food to order. Even I know that is nuts. The judges find the trout “fishy” and the halibut to be ok. The consommé is not clear and they all find it disappointing.

Kevin/Laurine – Lamb with Carrot Jam, Green Bean Salad and Morel Mushroom Sauce.
Kevin – Glazed Pork Belly, Pork Sausage, Cornmeal Mousseline and Red-eye Gravy.

Kevin and Laurine cannot agree on what constitutes rare meat. Rick calls the rare lamb “Jell-O.” However, Tom thinks the sausage is very flavorful.

The judges shower love on REVolt, and in the process name Hawk as the winner. He gets the $10,000 chip gambled away by Mission.

Speaking of Mission, Kevin says they never second-guessed anything. They should have. Jen should have steamed her shellfish before preparing. Jen is stunned by the fact that her “sauce was broken.” She is reeling. Kevin’s preparing of the lamb gets hammered. Toby says Laurine looked like a deer in headlights. Tom says the problem rather succinctly – “You needed a leader.”
As for the Quickfire, this may be my favorite Quickfire Challenge ever. To sum up, two teams with four on a side make a meal via assembly line. Each member takes a 10-minute shift and picks up where the other left off. The twist – they are blindfolded until their turn comes up. Brilliant.

Jen and Eli started out for the teams with different strategies – Eli grabbed a bunch of stuff and prepared options. Jen started to make sauce and tried to direct the meal. Laurine and Robin followed, taking the second and weakest spot, not strong enough to start the meal, not good enough to close, and with the third chef in place to correct any potential errors. BryanBot and MM went third, and Kevin and Hawk closed. The closing role is very tough as they must finalize the meals and plate them in 10 minutes.

The results –
Jen’s team – Sablefish with Sautéed Mushrooms, Shiitake Broth and Radish Salad
Hawk’s team – Pan Roasted N.Y. Strip Steak with Whipped Miso, Avocado Puree and Pickled Vegetables.

Jen’s sauce actually seems to have put her team over the edge.

So – Final Seven, still no change from the expected boot order. Although both Hawk and Jen have had big scares in recent weeks. I still expect a finals consisting of three from Kevin, Hawk, BryanBot and Jen. But, of course, we still have to play the games.

Quickfire Hits

• Let me just say it – Jen was rocking that bikini at the start of the episode. I’m glad she’s sticking around for a little longer.

• Jen mistakenly called her Quickfire sablefish a trout – “I called black cod trout on national TV. Awesome.”

• Laurine said she had front of house experience and bragged to Tom that she would send back anything that didn’t look right. Talk about false advertising!

• Do I even need to mock the name REVolt? Insert your own joke here.

• I give Robin credit for pushing back on Hawk. While he is much stronger of a chef, and he did help her out on this one to help the team. She did execute it properly, and I like how she stands up for herself. I don’t hate Robin like the others do, but I am ready to see her go home already.

• Did you like the Superman-style music played during Eli’s getting ready montage? I did.

• Hawk – “Bryan is moving like a machine” It is confirmed!! He IS BryanBot!

• Extra – a montage of Hawk being “Mussolini Mike” and not accurately walking the line between confidence and arrogance.

• Kevin in Stew Room – “It might have been the worst cooking in our careers.”

• Robin and Hawk had it out during Judges Table – “there is a fine line between being helped and being dominated.” I think there’s a whole counter culture dedicated to that concept.

• Lastly, the Voltaggio brothers are a strange pair. After Hawk offers to split his winnings with the whole team, BryanBot throws a hissy fit because he doesn’t want Hawk’s unprofessional behavior to be rewarded. If this plot line is going to dominate the end of this season, it will get old. Fast.

Next week – Natalie Portman. That’s all I need to know.

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