Top Chef D.C. Episode 10: Not-So-Brilliant Disguise

"I'm not sure that wd-420 would have been a better name, Padma."

My DVR didn’t need to work this week as I was watching live. No Memorex for me, baby. Future (C’mon, Bravo!) cheftestant Ed Hardy and I were IMing throughout. And, just like last week, we’re sharing our convo about everyone’s fave cooking contest.

Hey, Ed…first thoughts at beginning of this episode…is Alex going down? And, would you just do your best to not help him in the kitchen?

I absolutely think Alex will be going down. Everyone thinks only the food matters the most in a kitchen, but, in reality, relationships are important. No matter what your culinary ability you can always use a little help. Alex has obviously done nothing on-screen or off-screen to endear himself with his fellow cheftestants. I would have given him that can opener he was looking for, but only after freezing it in a block of ice first.

Is Angelo sincere? He’s all “Kenny was the biggest threat,” but he hated him. Are these crocodile tears — or good editing?

More than anything else, Kenny going home might have damaged Angelo’s bravado. Remember the old Angelo from Episode 1 when he wanted to be the first cheftestant to win every challenge? Where has he gone? When Kenny left he might have taken some of Angelo’s confidence with him, and so, in a way, he might miss him. A bit.

Wylie Dufresne (wd-50) is in the house. What would your concerns be about cooking for WD?

Wylie is a true American innovator. He invented fried mayonnaise, for heaven’s sake. Whatever creative instincts I have will pale in comparison to Wylie’s. I do not envy these competitors in the least.

Kevin wonders if Will Smith was busy.
"I wonder if I can Fedex my girlfriend here?"

What is up with Angelo in this QFC? Is he off his game because he couldn’t cook off his menu at Xie Xie? Also, does he have a mail-order bride?

Every chef has his comfort zone, and Angelo has just been forced out of his… for the entire episode. Everybody has a different creative process in the kitchen and apparently Angelo’s is based on working with ingredients that he chooses (that, coincidentally, are also in his walk-in at Xie-Xie).

Mail-order bride? I must have missed something. Maybe I was getting a refill on my bourbon or possibly I was busy rubbing Dial Nutriskin(TM) all over my body. I don’t know anything about a mail-order bride.

I think Angelo said his girlfriend is in Russia and he wants to bring her here. To be discussed. So, ramps are rampant in New York every spring. How is it possible that some chefs have never cooked with them when we can’t get away from them?

It’s actually possible. Ramps aren’t readily available outside of the East Coast. For our OpenTable diners not in the know, ramps are a spring vegetable that are like a cross between garlic and spring onions. Also called the “Tennessee Truffle” they’re good as a pesto, a salad ingredient, a sauteed item and anything else you can think of. I’d like to congratulate Top Chef for including a lot of regional ingredients in the mystery baskets this episode (Rockfish, Hominy Grits, Ramps).

Which dish would you most like to have drawn and WWED?

Kevin’s Cobb Salad. Kevin just ended up making a salad. I would have made a Cobb salad ravoli. One ravioli with bacon inside, one with wilted romaine, one with avocado, etc. Maybe a bleu cheese infused white wine sauce to finish.

I like everything about that. Will you make that for me when I come for dinner? Thanks! What do you make of Kelly not having made any Chinese food? Ever?

I had to rewind several times to make sure she actually said that. This might be a clue to her eventual downfall. Somewhere between Step 1: Culinary School Grad and Step: 8 Eponymous Restaurant (Kelly Liken) should be Step 5: Fool around a couple times with classic Asian dishes.

Angelo’s doing a beef wellington pizza? Is this “Chefs Gone Wild”? He’s buying pastry? Wha…?

Where are the Voltaggio Brothers when you need them? Pizza with puff pastry is not a deconstructed dish, especially when puff pastry is a major part of the original dish. For the record, it is not possible to make puff pastry in a Top Chef competition but that is no excuse for Angelo’s creative failure.

So, at the CIA headquarters, I assume that for national security reasons, no one is allowed to bring in liquid nitrogen or the like. How possible is it to push the molecular gastronomy envelope?

You could still bring in transglutaminase (meat glue) or maybe a little sodium alginate to make caviar out of everything. Heck, you can even do it at home now!

Talk to me about rice cookers. My experience with them has been abysmal, and I do not trust them.

Kelly’s problem seems to have more to do with altitude than rice cookers. I would have checked my rice after 20 minutes because I’m an intelligent chef who lives at sea level. Kelly seems to have “set it and forget it” and probably let that rice cooker just keep running. As long as you exercise a little common sense, rice cookers can be a dependable kitchen tool.

Chef Ed Hardy agrees that Tiffany is on fire!

How cool is Tiffany?

Wow. She won two challenges tonight and two in the last episode. She’s on a roll. She’s genuinely a nice human being. She’s my new favorite. Watch out culinary world, here comes Tiffany!

So, we agree that Alex should have gone home?

Is water wet? Is Nutriskin great for smooth skin? Is Amanda annoying? Yes, Yes, and Yes.

One last question: Who killed JFK?

Vegans. Leon Panetta told me.

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