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It’s that time of week again- time to see some huge egos preparing food I’ve never heard of, time for Top Chef. First up is a helpful recap of last week’s episode, just in case you missed one of the 600 airings Bravo showed. Goodbye again, Lisa, and hello Miguel. The footage really seems to be setting Miguel up for a rough week, but I guess we’ll see. And, let me just say that last week I found myself warming up to Stephen a little, so I hope he can keep up the momentum and make the leap from smarmy ass to egotistical jerk. Then maybe someday he can become mildly irritating. Just something to strive for, Stephen.

We’re shown some girl talk between Lee Anne and Andrea about Miguel. No, they don’t think he’s hawt, they think he’s too competitive and will be the next to go. Well, ladies, this is a competition after all, so I don’t think being competitive is necessarily a bad thing.

Miguel must not have been a dishwasher before hotel chef, because he loads the house dishwasher up with dishes… and liquid dish soap, and then is surprised with the huge sudsy mess he ends up with. He states that he can’t trust anyone in the house, and gets angry at the other chefs because although they all saw the mess, no one stepped in to help him clean it up. Well, Miguel, I have to admit that if I lived with you, a 27 year old man who has worked in and around kitchens for a very long time, I would have left you to clean up the mess too. And, I probably would have laughed at you while you did it.

It’s a Queer Eye crossover!
The chefs enter the kitchen for the Quickfire Challenge and are excited to see Queer Eye for the Sraight Guy’s culinary guru; Ted Allen standing with the host I think is so bland I have not bothered to learn her name.

Today’s challenge? Laid out on the tables are gourmet ingredients as far as the eye can see, and next to each ingredient is the per ounce price of the food. The chefs have 20 minutes to make an appetizer using these ingredients, but the cost must be less than three dollars. Wow. 20 minutes. It took me 20 minutes just to take notes on the first 5 minutes of the show, so I hope the chefs can pull this off.

The chefs get to work, and there is a lot of chaos in the kitchen. Well, actually, most of the chaos revolves around Dave who has just got to calm down already! Jeesh- the man’s blood pressure must be out of this world. Though most of the other chefs attack the task calmly, there is a lot of rushing around, and we see various exciting ingredients being tossed around. Harold even has a blowtorch! Oooh… his appetizer will be tasty and dangerous! Then someone turns off Miguel’s burner, and I smell conspiracy. Miguel’s right, he can’t trust anyone else in the competition.

The 20 minutes pass like a flash, and the chefs bring their creations to Ted for judgment.

Stephen uses clams, sea beans and carrots to make his Poached Baby Manila Clams over Grilled Sea Beans, and to me it looks more like artwork than an appetizer, but Ted enjoys it, calling it exquisite.

Miguel’s Antipasti Plate is made with asparagus, pears and cheese. When he tries to describe the dish to Ted, he falters and has to be prompted to finish. Ted doesn’t seem impressed with the appetizer, or Miguel’s presentation skills, and moves on to the next dish.

Lee Anne has prepared Deep Fried Oysters with Reduced Lemon Garlic Cream, and Ted is excited about the presentation, and asks Lee Anne if she’s trying to seduce him. He calls her dish classic, with a nice twist.

Harold wielded the blow torch to make Bacon Wrapped Trevisano with Gorgonzola Brule, and Ted tells him he’s partial to food made with a blow torch and bacon.

Tiffani uses oysters, avocados and cilantro to make her Oysters Three Ways. Ted jokes that he’s allergic to shellfish, and then calls the dish wonderful.

Andrea chose to prepare a Carrot and Pear Salad, using… carrots and pears. She tells Ted that she likes to incorporate salty, sweet, bitter and pungent tastes in her dishes, and Ted jokes that she’s just described his co-workers. Andrea tells Ted the dish will give him a nice BM, and I’m sure this excites him to no end.

Dave is the last one up, and has prepared Chamin and Oregano Chicken Skewers with Abodo Honey Butter. He calls it functional and flavorful, and Ted doesn’t really say anything, which is not a good sign for Dave.

Ted is a nice, cuddly, diplomatic judge, and congratulates all of the chefs for their unique and tasty appetizers. Except for Miguel. He didn’t much care for Miguel’s creation. Now, he doesn’t actually say that last part, but I know he’s thinking it. Ted declares Tiffani, Lee Anne, Harold and Stephen the frontrunners, and then crowns Stephen the King of the Cheap Appetizer Quickfire for his twigs and clams scattered on a plate.

Harold is not pleased that Stephen won the task, because Stephen is just about presentation and does not prepare soulful food. I couldn’t agree more, Harold, if there’s one thing I hate, it’s soulless food!

Food you want to eat… sort of.
Tonight Ted Allen is having a celebratory launch party for his new cookbook, Food You Want to Eat. He’s holding it at swanky eatery, Frisson, and has invited eight guests- all members of the culinary elite.

I’m sure the chefs are wondering what this has to do with them, until Ted announces that our esteemed chefs will be preparing the meal. Since there are 7 chefs, Ted expects 7 courses, and they had better be good, darn it because if they’re not, Ted will be embarrassed, which will make him a cranky judge and no one wants that! The chefs have a budget of $50 per guest, and must work together to plan a cohesive menu. This ought to be good.

The chefs meet to divide the courses, and since none of them are proficient pastry chefs, Tiffani suggests that Stephen take the dessert course since he has immunity. That way, no chef will go home because of the dreaded dessert. Tiffani is smart, and suggests this in front of Judge Tom Colicchio, so Stephen really has no choice but to agree. Miguel takes the cold appetizer course, Dave- soup, Andrea- fish, Tiffani- gnocchi, Harold- meat, Lee Anne- pre dessert and Stephen- dessert.

After the meeting, we see some nice footage of the chefs hanging out together, barbequing and getting along, which is nice. No one is sniping or being smarmy, (I’m looking at you, Stephen!). Hopefully the chefs will be able to continue their harmony through to the next day’s elimination challenge.

Friction at Frisson
The chefs go on a gourmet shopping spree, and then arrive at Frisson to prepare the meal. They’re wowed by the restaurant’s décor, and the kitchen, and set to work, but they’re interrupted by Judge Tom Colicchio who is about to throw a wrench into their well- organized plans.

Tom tells them he’s about to turn up the pressure a little, because each chef must now draw a knife from the block, and prepare the course that they draw. Uh,oh. The chefs will be responsible for the course they draw and will be judged on the course that they prepare. They can choose to help each other or not, and someone will be packing their knives based on their performance tonight.

After the chef shuffle, the following chefs are responsible for the following dishes:
Course 1- Andrea- Smoked Scallops and Caviar on Latkes
Course 2- Stephen- Chanterelle Soup
Course 3- Dave- John Dory Fish
Course 4- Lee Anne- Duck Breast with Fig Stuffed Gnocchi
Course 5- Tiffani- Roast Prime Beef and Swiss Chard
Course 6- Miguel- Fourme ‘D Ambert Cheese and Beet Sorbet
Course 7- Harold- Chocolate Dessert Trio

None of the chefs seem happy with the change. They all thought they were going to shine with their signature dishes, and now they’re stuck making someone else’s signature dish. The unhappiest chef seems to be Harold, who tells us that Stephen has all sorts of weird, ambitious ingredients that Harold is not sure what to do with. He says “Dude, what the f***? You f***ing hosed me!” I think he might be overreacting a bit, there’s no way Stephen knew about the twist beforehand… or did he? No, I’m pretty sure he didn’t know about it.

I’m happy to see that all of the chefs band together to help one another out for the good of the meal. There’s a little bit of chaos, and a lot of swearing, but the chefs are getting the job done.

Miguel can’t remember the name of the cheese he’s preparing, and butchers it in front of Judge Tom Colicchio, and then adds salt to the beet sorbet instead of sugar. Rookie mistake, Miguel. Lee Anne says he ruined the sorbet, and Miguel freaks out because he ruined the sorbet. With the number of F-bombs being dropped on this show tonight, I fell like I’m watching an episode of The Osbournes. Since he’s ruined his own course, Miguel decides to micromanage Andrea’s, and she lets him because she’s not into the whole fried food thing.

The guests arrive, and we see that there are assorted food critics, chefs and wine and cheese experts in attendance. Wow. I’ll bet this group will not be kind with the judging. I hope our chefs are up to snuff.

For the most part, the guests seem to like the food. They think Dave’s vegetables are bland and undercooked, Lee Anne’s food is the best yet, Tiffani’s dish was delicious and had nice presentation, Miguel’s cracker was tasty, but the beet salad was overwhelmed, and Harold’s dessert was too rich, but the cake was good, although a little dry.

The diners applaud the chefs, and Ted tells them that they exceeded his expectations.

Sometimes it’s hard to hear the truth.
The judges discuss the task, and Ted states that the food was pretty uniformly good so it’s going to come down to some gaps in presentation.

The best: Tiffani, Lee Anne and Stephen. The judges inform these three that they are the standouts from the competition, and then name Lee Anne as best of the best. The judges then put the top three on the spot and ask them how well the chefs worked together, (but I think they really want to know who the biggest disaster was), and the top three point out Miguel’s salt/ sugar error as the highlight of the evening.

When asked who they would eliminate. Tiffani votes Miguel because he flipped out over his error, Stephen says it was a shame to see, and that Andrea and Dave are weaker chefs than Miguel, and Lee Anne pretends not to understand the question and says that Miguel did the best he could with the dish… which brings us to:

The worst: Dave, Miguel and Andrea. The best three chefs tell the others that the judges would like to see Dave, Miguel and Andrea, and Harold breathes a sigh of relief, happy to be alone in the mediocre category.

The judges spell out exactly what went wrong. Dave’s dish was flavorful, but the vegetables were lacking. Although he tried to keep true to Andrea’s vision, he should have put more of himself, (and maybe some butter) in the dish. Here, Dave basically starts to cry and says that he has the passion to be a great chef. Heartless Tom appreciates the feeling, but tells him that at the Judge’s Table, it’s all about the food.

Miguel had a bad night. He screwed up the sorbet, and still doesn’t know the name of the cheese he was working with. Although he mostly fixed his dish in the end, Tom tells him that both Lee Anne and Tiffani thought he was a mess, and Tiffani said that he should go home.

When the judges ask Andrea about her dish, she tells them that she just made the latkes. And served them cold. They are not impressed with her answer, and tell her she brought nothing to the table.

Ultimately, Andrea is sent packing, (again), but not before some fireworks between Miguel and Tiffani, and some weeping from Dave.

Next week’s show looks crazy! Tune in to see some major meltdowns, and Dave utter the line “I’m not your bitch, bitch!” I can’t wait.

I’m eating frozen cookie dough out of a plastic wrapper, but you can reach me at SueEllenMishke@fansofrealitytv .com