Top Chef

Top Chef Recap: Duck Nuts and Boat Rides

Photo: David Giesbrecht/Bravo

Top Chef’s producers know how creepy Angelo is, and the challenges in last night’s episode enhanced this quality. Hence the Quickfire, which asked the chefs to cook using exotic proteins ranging from yak to llama to duck white kidneys — which, as Angelo discovered only after he selected them, are not kidneys at all, but testicles. “I just poked around the testicles, and it’s kind of soft,” Angelo remarked creepily, as he decided to make a testicle marshmallow. That is one s’more we would not want to try.

A number of chefs freaked out, but none so strongly as Andrea, who wasn’t so much concerned about her protein, but about guest judge Michelle Bernstein, her fellow curly-blonde-haired rival in Miami. The rest were troubled by their dish; it took Amanda quite a long time to figure out how to break into her emu eggs (with a hack saw, in case you decide to try this at home). Just as she was ready to get crackin’, Padma strolled in with a curveball, perhaps because Angelo was getting a little too pokey with those testicles.

She announced that the chefs had to stop what they were doing and begin cooking with the protein to their left, sticking Kevin with the duck balls. “I have never worked with duck testicles or any testicles,” Kevin panicked unnecessarily, as Stephen, Alex, and Andrea made the worst dishes. Kelly took the win for her goat-cheese-and-emu-egg omelette, giving her both immunity and a pass from cooking in the elimination challenge. Considering she couldn’t tell the difference between the emu yolks and whites, she got a pretty good deal.

Speaking of the elimination challenge, the judges really hammered home that the name of the prepare-a-cold-dish challenge — where the chefs would be judged by their peers — was the Cold War. Both the chefs and judges mentioned the Cold War so many times that we began to wonder if this was some sort of product placement for history. The chefs planned their menus on a boat ride around the Potomac, and Captain Kenny Obvious pointed out that the paranoia during the Cold War tied into how the chefs felt about being judged by their peers. The Cold War boat ride was certainly a hotbed of scheming, as Angelo hopped around offering advice while the others glared suspiciously, and Ed and Tiffany whispered sweet nothings to each other on the side of the ship. Ed wasn’t too worried about Angelo’s scheming and creeping, as he used to bang Angelo’s girlfriend in college.

Back on the mainland, Angelo picked out some “sexy” salmon while Tamesha got scary. After trying as hard as she could to be P.C. about Amanda (“she needs to take a chill pill,” “we have personality differences”) she suddenly threw in, “I could probably strangle her in a heartbeat.” Whoa. This is Top Chef, not Survivor (or Top Scallops, as Tamesha later learned).

Group A (Kevin, Ed, Kenny, Amanda, and Alex) cooked first, with Group B (Tiffany, Angelo, Tamesha, Steven, Andrea) judging, and boy, was this group harsh. Angelo and Tamesha hated on pretty much every dish, but Tom called them out on complaining about a lack of acidity in Kevin’s tuna and veal with romaine, pine nuts, and Mediterranean condiments, as the dish had both tomato and lemon. Since they ended up picking Kevin as the winner of the group, we’re guessing the acidity was just fine. Andrea’s main problem was with the chunk of cartilage she found in Amanda’s chicken galantine, but the chefs ultimately voted Kenny and his grilled-lamb salad and lamb carpaccio into the bottom.

Group A was a lot easier on Group B, even though as soon as they sat down Tom gushed, “You should have heard what they said about your food, oh my God.” The chefs quickly voted Tiffany’s peppercorn-and fennel-crusted ahi tuna in gazpacho the group winner, while knocking Tamesha’s seared scallops with rhubarb jus, long pepper, and basil into the bottom. The judges were quite happy with the top two and gave the win to Kevin, who also won a six-night trip to Hawaii. As for the bottom two, the judges took issue with Kenny’s use of too many ingredients and flavors. Kenny stood by his dish, arguing that he got voted into the bottom because he posed a huge threat. Guest judge Michelle snappily replied that not knowing our Mr. Black Angus, she could talk to the end of the show about each piece of his dish. Despite her rant, the loss went to Tamesha’s overpowering pepper and weirdly cooked scallops. We’re sorry, but DUH. Was anyone really surprised? Were you expecting food to win out over potential drama? The battle of Kenny and Angelo is just too good to send him home so soon.

Next week: Tiffany flirts with Ed even though she’s engaged! Kenny drops his food! Alex steals Ed’s pea purée! But how will Angelo take the loss of his ladyfriend?!

Cold War