Top Chef Recap: 8/1

Not only is back to school time coming up for most students, it hit the cheftestants hard last night, as well. Instead of the traditional quickfire challenge that includes actual cooking, there was an unusual spin added to this week’s interesting, but unexpected quickfire challenge.

After she introduced the acclaimed guest judge Rocco DiSpirito, Lakshmi informed the 10 remaining cheftestants that they were going to participate in a Culinary Smelling (and Tasting) Bee. Confused? Here’s what it entailed. They were each given an ingredient to identify. They could look, smell, taste, feel, and they were only given 5 seconds to identify the ingredient. If they succeeded, they moved on. If not, they were out of the Culinary Bee.

Casey pulled through with her outstanding culinary knowledge (or was it just luck?), winning herself immunity for the next round. On to the elimination challenge.

This week’s elimination challenge was definitely a challenge to say the least. Whenever the cheftestants are asked to pair up, we know we’re in for some serious kitchen drama. The pairs of chefs were told to create an Italian, Mediterranean style frozen pasta dinner for two made from frozen in only 10 minutes. The winners won two tickets each to Italy. Now that’s a motivation booster.

The first day of the elimination, they had $100 and two hours to go food shopping and make 15 portions, while the next day they only had one hour to set everything up to be served to customers at a local market.

Howie and his partner Sara M. were having serious issues. With Howie admitting he would never hire Sara to work in his kitchen because she is too stubborn and always wants everything her own way, things were not going too smoothly between the two of them. It’s all about the chemistry, and Howie and Sara M. were definitely not feeling it this week.

There were two favorites: CJ and Tre, and Dale and Casey with their turkey and pork meatballs. Tre and CJ ended up winning the elimination challenge, and more importantly, the trip to Italy.

Unfortunately, even though in the past Joey has won challenges, he was simply not strong enough this week. He was asked to pack his knives and head home, which he did after he sobbed his way back to the kitchen.

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