Thursday, June 14, 2007

Top Chef: No Love For The South (6/13/07)

Top Chef returned last night with its 3rd installment, a new city, and 15 new chefs. Everyone has their eye on the prize: a feature in Food & Wine magazine, a showcase at the annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, a trip to the French Alps, and of course, $100,000 to help make their dream of opening their own restaurant a reality. This season promises to be bigger & better with the best chefs we’ve seen yet!

The chefs arrive at Casa Casuarina, Miami Beach’s historic mansion, for a meet-and-greet buffet complete with champagne. Padma & Tom stop by to greet the chefs but it’s not just pleasure, it’s business too. Their first quickfire challenge starts right here, right now. The chefs must use what is remaining on the table to create an amuse bouche, which is a dish that comes first & sets the tone for the entire meal. The only utensils they were allowed to use were the plastic ones set out for the buffet. Tom gets right to business judging & deems the least favorites: Dale, Clay, & Tre. On the other hand, the 3 favorites were: Micah, Sara, & Hung. Micah’s “Tuscan Sushi Revisited” dish earns her the win & she has immunity from elimination.

The chefs arrive at the elimination challenge to find a table full of unusual proteins laid out before them. They must use these ingredients to create a surf & turf entrée & show that they can stand out in a crowd. The chefs draw knives to determine the order in which they will choose their protein. They are allotted 30 minutes & $30 to buy the rest of their ingredients as well as 2 hours to prep & cook their entree. Anthony Bourdain will serve as the special guest judge on this elimination challenge.

The contestants are split into 2 groups of 8. The first group will prep, cook, and present to the judges followed by the second group. In the first group, Howie commits a huge error by not getting his frogs legs on the plate in time – he serves an incomplete dish. Dale makes his own mistake in the second group, choosing ingredients he’s never even tasted! At the judges’ table, Hung & Tre are called in as the strongest chefs in this challenge. The winner of the first elimination challenge is Tre, thanks to his superb dish: ostrich fillet with tomato risotto & abalone sauce.

The judges then call in Howie, Brian, Clay, and Dale as the weaker performers. The judges felt that southern chef Clay overcooked his wild boar & made stuffing that they found inedible. However, their main problem was his constant excuses for his sub-par dish & in the end, he was asked to pack up his knives & go.

A new episode of Top Chef will air on Bravo Wednesday night at 10pm EST

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