Top Chef DC Episode 8 Recap

[In honor of today's guest chef, I bring you Café Atlantico and tiny pretty jicama-avocado ravioli.]

The Quickfire: Marcus Samuelsson doles out the challenge--immunity to the person who makes the top Ethiopian-inspired dish.  INJERA! We love it.  But is it kosher for Passover?  Careful not to overspice, ever'body!  Angelo, Ed, and Kenny are all somewhat familiar with Ethiopian cuisine, so Kenny feels confident.  Kelly's never eaten Ethiopian food.  Umm.  Most of Samuelsson's comments as he went to each station were about how much or little heat there was.  At the bottom were Kevin (dish was shy), Stephen (interesting but meatballs were juicy), and Alex (stew was too dry).  Favorites were Amanda (yummy spicy tomato), Angelo (knowledge came through, it was beautiful), and Tiffany (modern approach).  Tiffany won immunity!  And she's from Dallas, and said there's not much Ethiopian food there.  But she used the spices, balanced up her flavors, and BAM she wins. 

The Elimination Challenge: In rolls a giant map.  They each need to choose a dish from a country represented on the map.  100 portions of each dish, served at the Meridian International Center to diplomats and such.  Plus, no kitchen--just sternos.  Tiffany draws the #1 to pick her country first, and grabs Mexico.  It is her day. 

Here's a little rundown of the assignments:

Alex - Spain - Veal, and a lot of other stuff.  Also we got to watch him fall while running in the kitchen.
Angelo - Japan - Tuna ribbons (?) with something avocado and something wasabi.
Ed - China - He's "had a lot of Chinese girlfriends," so he's got this.  Tea-smoked duck breast sounds interesting though.
Kevin - India - Oy.  Stewed chicken with parsnip, etc.  He's not totally sure.  Then we see him talking to his kid on the phone--that's never a good sign.
Kenny - Thailand
Amanda - France - Boeuf bourguignon
Tiffany - Mexico - Chicken tamales with radish pico de gallo. 
Kelly - Italy - Beef carpaccio; looks gorgeous.  A guy from the Italian embassy loved it.

Stephen - Brazil- Only good if he bought it from a cart for $5, says a Brazilian.

Setup is a little hectic, things are getting overcooked, dry, etc.  Tiffany is behind, still chopping things up.  Kelly's beef looks pretty awesome.

Guest judge José Andrés!!!  He tweeted about his appearance, so I was well-prepared.  Poor Alex, stuck with Spanish tapas.  Of the man from Oyamel and Cafe Atlantico and his own flippin' show about Spanish food. 

Kevin had no clue, but he did well--Chef Andrés  loves just the smell of it.  And he loves the look of Angelo's tuna--the color, specifically.  And Tiffany wins, too!  Guests, Chef Andrés, and Tom are all psyched.  Kenny's Thai is balanced and yum. 

A lot of people were good--our guess is that Alex or Stephen go home.  Maybe Amanda, but probably not.  And it's 9:42.

Kevin, Kelly, & Tiffany are brought in to Judge's Table, and you know they are on top.  Tiffany provided Gail's dream of a very meaty tamale.  Kevin's dish had great layers.  Kelly's food was great and she had that local spin--her beef was from the great Commonwealth of Virginia, and she made sure we knew it.  TIFFANY WINS!  And she is two for two today.  She gets an extra $10K from a sponsor, too, with $10K matched (by the sponsor or Bravo, I'm not sure) to DC Central Kitchen (which really touched Chef Andrés).  Extra mazel tov to her because that could have gone allll wrong with Chef Andrés there.

Alex (Chef Andrés wanted to enjoy it because it was Spain, but that wasn't possible), Ed (overpromised and underdelivered), and Stephen (badly-cooked rice, too much garlic) were at the bottom.  If it were up to me, just ax all three.  Why not?  Alas, it's Stephen

I'm glad we're whittling down here, but I have to say that I just don't see a star this season.  A Jen.  A Steph.  A Bryan.  A Kevin.  I don't love anyone.  But if Tiffany won, I think I'd smile.

Lastly, Padma, your necklace is crazy.  Not a fan of bibs.  Now we're watching a couple of married fitness instructors look for their ginormous second home in Fiji.  Jealous much?


  1. I agree--no stars! Tiffany definitely stepped out in this episode, though. Good for her. Jose Andres and Marcus Samuelsson were both cuties. I have to say that the district has really been bringing it in the guest judge department.

  2. I really am starting to love Tiffany. And am so, so glad that Stephen finally went home. It's because Chef Andres loves me.