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Top Chef: DC – Episode 10 Commentary – Hot Dogs! Peanuts! Raw Fish!


Quickfire – Padma is joined by Top Chef: Masters Finalist Rick Moonen, of RM Seafood in Vegas, and she proceeds to rattle off several food-based clichés. That’s the challenge – pick your food cliché and use it to make a dish. Meh. An ok challenge, but not all that exciting. I would have given good money for one of them to pick “Hide the Salami.” I’ll give you dollars for donuts that it would be good. Hey…

Muffin – “Hot Potato” – Herb and Roasted Garlic Gnocchi, Spring Vegetables, and Mushroom Fricassee. He is flying around the kitchen. He also criticizes Amanda’s style as being an “annoying slob and has no technique.” In turn, Amanda is skeptical of Muffin’s crazy, frantic, sweaty, red-faced task of making gnocchi an hour. Moonen asks about the herbs, and Padma thinks it is a “lovely spring dish.”

Tiffany – “Spill the Beans” – Pan-seared Cod over Stewed Beans, Swiss Chard, Carrots, and Bacon. She elects to use canned beans instead of fresh because dry beans take too long to cook. Probably a good choice in a Quickfire, not as much in an Elimination. Moonen calls her out on the beans, but she explains she used bacon as flavor.

Sbarro – “Bring Home The Bacon” – Bacon 3 Ways: Bacon Puree, Chopped Bacon and Bacon Froth with a Poached Egg. Not much from his cooking, he just comments about how Angelo is a bit odd, “Eccentric people cook eccentrically.” Moonen likes the breakfast theme and how aromatic it is.

Kelly – “Sour Grapes” – Pan-roasted Chicken Breast, Caramelized Brussels Sprout leaves, and Red Grape Sauce. She is really organized, and she is not a big fan of the others’ sloppiness. Moonen finds it interesting.

Angelo – “Bigger Fish to Fry” – Chile-crusted Tilapia Satay with Asian Tartar Sauce, Sambal and Sriracha. Angelo rambles about some “Ancient Chinese Preparation.” Throughout the cooking for the challenge he is muttering to himself, and Sbarro points out how he seems to be coming apart at the seams. Moonen merely nods.

Amanda – “The Big Cheese” – Macaroni and Cheese with Bacon and Jalapenos with Pork Chop Side. I must admit, this looked really good to me. Angelo comments about how Amanda is a dark horse and is very passionate and smart. Granted, this is before the raw fish. Moonen clearly doesn’t agree with my thoughts on the dish…

BAD
Amanda – It was a sledge hammer to the gut and heavy handed. Amanda confesses that she was surprised by this and she is having a “pity party” in her head.

Kelly – the sprouts and grape puree was just odd.

GOOD
Sbarro – It brought a new level of lightness and balance, leading Moonen to want to lick it clean. Producers mercifully spared us that visual.

Muffin – The gnocchi was well-conceived, light and well-cooked. Muffin gets the win, and the prize of having the dish included in the Schwan’s home delivery frozen food menu. Angelo can see his face on the package.


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