Top Chef Recap: 6/27

Though last week’s grilling challenge was a hit for the cheftestants, this week’s seafood dive was not as successful. With only 13 remaining chefs, this quickfire challenge required each chef to create a scrumptious and inspiring shellfish dish in only 30 minutes.

After “fishing” out their soon-to-be meal from a tank including clams, scallops, mussels, conch, crayfish, and more, the cheftestants deliberated on just how they were going to clean and cook their dishes in so little time.

Since we are already into the third week of the competition, Guest Judge Alfred Portale along with the rest of the judges were expecting more than amateur dishes from these 13 talented chefs.

According to one of the cheftestants, “the less you do with seafood the better it is, because it’s already phenomenal.” Apparently Hung disagreed with this, claiming his monkey could cook better than some of his fellow competitors.

Brian won over all the judges’ appetite yet again; he is on a winning streak and may be the chef to beat in the competition. The judges loved his ability to put together a complete presentation, as well as the progression from raw to cooked shelfish.

The elimination challenge took a very different route than the quickfire challenge. As Lakshmi said, the dishes were going “from something very fresh to something a little bit more stale.” Not having a clue what food she could be describing, the cheftestants were on their toes and ready to cook.

They were instructed to “update” the traditional American cuisine to modern, healthy, low cholesterol and low fat, while adding their own spin, signature, and touch to their creations. From a tuna casserole to fried chicken, the dishes covered all areas of classic family American food.

The cheftestants’ nerves were hyping up by the minute, with only $75 to shop for ingredients. In 24 hours they would be cooking on location to members of the Miami Elks Club Lodge.

After chaos in the kitchen--such as the oven being on cool down instead of heating mode-- the chefs (and judges) were less than pleased with many of their own dishes.

Howie’s reinvention of pork chops managed to reward him as the winner along with a personal invitation from Portale to join him and his chefs in New York and have some cooking fun. Micah’s dry meatloaf, however, simply was not tasty enough for her to pull through to the next round.

We’ll see if next week’s challenges, as obscure as they may (and most likely will) be, can raise the spirits and flavor of the cheftestants and their dishes.

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