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Top Chef D.C., Sept. 1 – Run Short-Ribs Run!


Dawn Cowan thinks overall the dishes were well-executed. Kevin is in the bottom, she points out the quail was beautifully cooked, but the pairing just didn’t work. She also puts Kelly in the bottom because of the bleu cheese foam. She says it took it off the chart a little bit.

She likes Angelo’s dish and remarks that the lightness of the wine balanced the heaviness of the dish. Tiffany is also told she did really well and that her reduction was elegant. The winner of the trip to London is Angelo.

Since two of the chefs used Wagyu beef and I have never heard of it, I decided to do a little research. Turns out it is very similar to Kobe, the biggest difference that the cattle are not raised in Kobe, Japan. It has extensive fat marbling, Wagyu beef may look like it’s covered in snow, which would explain why some refer to it as “white” beef. Much of Wagyu beef is either prepared as steak tartar, or in quick pan searing methods because of all the fat.

I know why I have never had it before, Wagyu beef generally costs between $100-$150(USD) per pound, so proper cooking is essential. In Japan, it is not uncommon for Kobe or Wagyu beef to be sold in restaurants for about $300 (USD) per plate. Something tells me my local Harris Teeter does not stock it. I hate tasting or eating fat anyway, so it would be wasted on me. However, if you like that type of meat, it might be a fun thing to try on a splurge; just remember not to overcook it.

Angelo is excited to win the challenge and hopes that this will carry into the elimination challenge. Padma lets the final five know that for the first time, Top Chef will be bringing their final four to an international destination. Singapore is the home for the final challenges. Who knows, if Angelo makes it to final four maybe his Russian bride can meet him over there. This certainly falls into Angelo’s hands, who says he is tingling, since from the beginning he has shown strength in Asian-cooking and ingredients. Everyone’s jaws fall to the floor.

The chefs are sent to NASA and the Goddard Space Flight Center to find out the final challenge in D.C. Kelly admits she went to space camp when she was younger and is a space nerd; she is very excited. They are met there by Tom Colicchio and Vickie Kloeris of NASA. She is the Head Food Scientist and manages the food system for the international space station. They also get a message from two of the astronauts that are at the space station right now. They are told from space that the challenge is to make a dish, following zero gravity food guidelines, for the astronauts. The winning dish will be recreated and sent up to the space station during a future visit. This is a very interesting challenge. They will be cooking for a table of eight, which will include astronauts, scientists and judges. Buzz Aldron is one of the guest diners.

Their dish will need to be able to be freeze-dried and served in zero gravity. Vickie Kloeris goes over the guidelines with them. They cannot use a high level of sugar because it does not freeze-dry well. Large ingredient pieces do not freeze dry well either. They are lastly told that astronaut feedback has said that spicy foods in orbit taste well. I can’t help but think of what spicy Mexican food does to my husband’s stomach. I would not think that is a good thing in an enclosed space station. Aside from those few things they are open to whatever their imaginations tell them.

Off to Whole Foods with a budget of $200 and 30 minutes to shop; that is not a lot of money to serve 8 people with. Ed is shown getting ingredients for a Moroccan Rack of Lamb dish. Angelo is asking for boneless short ribs at the meat counter. Tiffany is inquiring about the freshest white fish available to the fish department. Kevin is looking at dry aged beef and a warm comforting down-to-earth feel. I have no idea what Kelly’s protein is; they only show her picking out onions.

Everyone seems excited and happy about this challenge. Kevin is concerned that his main stream American dish won’t have the same flair as all the ethnic dishes that are being made. Tiffany tells us that she is making a soulful simple dish that is great tasting, which is sticking to her style.

Tom comes into the kitchen to see what is going on. HE stops in with Angelo first who is making Ginger-Lacquered Short Ribs & Horseradish Crème Fraiche. Angelo shows him a diagram of how the dish will be plated. I have to wonder if plating is an important component of tastes in this dish how would it be freeze-dried and preserved the same way. Tom gives him a funny shocked face when he hears that he is making short ribs. Tom asks him how he is implementing Vickie’s guidelines. Angelo said he is consciously going light on the sugar. In my mind, I keep seeing astronauts trying to eat barbequed short ribs with little balls of sauce floating around the space station.

Next on Tom’s visit to the kitchen is Kelly. When Kelly tells Tom she is really into space, he tells her that it is either really cool or really nerdy. :lol: She is going to make a Pan-Roasted Halibut with Artichoke and Fennel Barigoule. No funny faces from Tom this time, just a cool.

Ed is the next stop. He is hoping his winning space dish will be Yogurt-Marinated Rack of Lamb & Grilled Satay of Lamb. Tom remarks that he doesn’t see too many Middle Eastern Astronauts up there, but Ed points out that they did say they liked spicy. Tom seems okay with that answer and moves on to Tiffany.


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