Last night’s episode of Bravo TV’s ‘Top Chef’ began somberly as there are only five chefs remaining. In alphabetical order they are: Angelo, Ed, Kelly, Kevin and Tiffany. As the gang arrives in the Top Chef kitchen, they are met by Padma who introduces them to Dana Cowin. She is the wine expert for Food & Wine magazine.
The Quick Fire Challenge is to create a dish paired with one of the several wines provided. The results were mixed as some had less experience. The worst were Kevin and Kelly. The favorites were Angelo and Tiffany. Angelo’s fois gras dish won the QFC and as a prize, got a 6-day trip to London. Padma then informed the chefs that the Final Four would be leaving Washington after this next challenge and head for Singapore!
The gang assembles at the Goddard Space Flight Center where Tom introduces them to Vicky, a NASA nutrition expert. Two astronauts onboard the International Space Station inform the chefs as to what the Elimination Challenge entails. They must make a meal that can be used in the micro-gravity of Earth orbit.
Vicky adds additional details, telling the chefs that foods too high in sugar or with pieces too large do not freeze dry well. Tom adds that they will be cooking for eight, including former astronaut, Buzz Aldrin. The winning dish will be processed by NASA and served to astronauts on board one of the two remaining space shuttle flights.
The chefs depart and head to Whole Foods for some shopping. Angelo will be making candied-ginger short ribs. Kevin is going for the NY strip steak. Ed is making rack of lamb and both Tiffany and Kelly tackle halibut. The next day, the chefs learn that the winner also gets a new car, a Toyota Avalon!
The judges and guests arrived at the Ronald Reagan Trade Center for the meals. Along with Tom and Padma, we have Vicky, Buzz, and astronauts Sandy Magus and Leeland Melvis, plus Eric Ripert and the evil Anthony Bourdain. Buzz Aldrin admitted that he still has his spoon from Apollo 11 used to eat the mushy food of those days.
The service went well, none of the food was spat out or trashed too much. Kelly and Kevin’s dishes were liked but considered not easily transformable into space food. Ed and Tiffany’s dishes drew some criticism over being too complicated and disorganized. Angelo’s short ribs were enjoyed by all except Tom and the general consensus was that it would be the best to be adapted for space travel.
At the Judge’s Table, all five faced Tom, Padma, Eric and the evil Anthony Bourdain. Tiffany drew the most fire from the judges for her disorganized mess of a fish dish. Kevin took some heat over doing such a simple meal of steak and fried onion rings (which are nearly impossible to convert to space food).
In the end, Angelo was declared the winner. Not only did he win a trip to London for the Quick Fire, but he won the Toyota Avalon, plus NASA is treating him to attend the launch of the space shuttle that will carry his meal into Earth orbit! How cool is that!? As for the loser of the evening, it was Tiffany. The judges gave her the boot, so she will not be advancing to the semi-finals in Singapore. Top Chef will resume there next week as the finalists cook their best meals.