Top Chef D.C. Episode 11: Amanda Strikes Out

It’s that time again. Aspiring cheftender Ed Hardy and I are chatting about this week’s episode, poking fun at Angelo (while also basking in his glowy good looks — at least I am; I won’t speak for Ed.).

"I'm not mad, Tom. I just thought we were ALL wearing jerseys today."

Okay, Ed, what up with Angelo saying he prays to chefs’ pics? C’mon!

Funny you should mention that. I actually have some chef photos up on my little private wall. All the best, of course. Giada, Nigella, Giada again. Doesn’t everybody?

This wall isn’t in your bathroom is it? Ack! Um, so is there anything wrong with Anthony Robbins? I like him, although he scares my husband — who refers to him as the lovechild of Andre the Giant and Lurch.

There is everything wrong with Tony Robbins. Have you seen the size of his mouth and teeth? I think he eats live suckling pigs whole.

Would you ever want to wind up on a Schwann’s package? Wait. Don’t answer that. You’re a famewhore, so if they put your picture on it, I know you would. But…at this point, maybe immunity is better?

Immunity is good, but cold hard cash from a major food corporation is better. Some chefs got into this biz to feed people and make this world a better place. I learned to cook so I could sell out and drink daquiris on the beach for the rest of my life.

Why didn’t anyone choose hide the salami? And WWED with that idiom?

This is just one of the many ways Chef Ed Hardy hides the salami.

I choose to hide the salami as much as possible. In fact, every day I’m thinking of new situations in which I can hide the salami. In this case, I would have stuffed a frenched chicken breast with Sopressata and Fontina and paired it with cherry tomato and a chicken demi-glace steeped with garlic, sage and Sopressata.

Sounds — and looks delish. How’d you cook that up so fast? Ha! So, Tiffany uses canned beans=Bad Idea Jeans. Shouldn’t she just have NOT chosen beans?

She could have chosen so many other things. It’s the Texas girl in her that pushed her to choose beans, I suppose. She made the best of a bad choice, though.

Is it true that eccentric people cook eccentric food, you weirdo?

Not being eccentric I wouldn’t know. My mom always said I wasn’t eccentric, just special. My therapist says that I’m not special, at least compared to his other chef/patient Angelo.

What in the wide world of sports is bacon puree? I love bacon, but that sounds gross. Also, how would you freeze bacon foam? Cryogenically?

I begrudgingly admit that Angelo has a point. You can’t freeze bacon foam. Ice crystals + foam = gloop. Also, I’m curious about the bacon puree. You can puree many many different things but bacon isn’t one of them. Pureed bacon just becomes bacon bits. And now you know. But Kevin made a delicious dish. With bacon in it. Who cares?

We haven’t taken our weekly swipe at Kelly, so here goes. I think her dish was way too deconstructed for Schwann’s, no?

Kelly who? Is she still on here? I hadn’t noticed her for a couple epsiodes. I think Kelly’s dish was way too yucky. Even for Schwanns. Some grape in your chicken salad? Good idea. Grape puree with Brussels sprouts and more grapes? Bad idea. And what happened to the “Sour” part of the dish?

I loved that Angelo was able to pull out the ancient Chinese secret. Why is he addicted to Asian?

I’ve got an ancient Top Chef Secret. Chefs that talk about ingredients that they didn’t use should go home early.

Despite Kelly's best efforts, Tiffany kowtows to no one.

Back to Kelly, why do people kowtow to her? And she does seem to play it safe by not sticking her neck out, agreed?

Chefs fall into two different categories. Control freaks and passive/aggressive freaks. As you know from being in a kitchen together, I’m in the passive/aggressive category, just like Kevin. Easygoing most of the time until we explode. Control freaks, like Kelly and Angelo, just love to try to stick their nose and opinion into everything. I’m shocked that Amanda gave up crab to Kelly so easily.

Interesting. I always assumed your meltdowns were triggered because your meds wore off. Anyway, Ed is a Sox fan, so I CANNOT believe he is not gonna pay homage to Kelly’s Roast Beef!

I’m a Braves fan. I know not of things Boston.

Fair enough. But you haven’t lived ’til you’ve had Kelly’s. Anyway, outside of roast beef, when I think baseball, I think…dim sum? And tuna tartare? And chicken on a stick? Ugh! I hate chicken skewers. They’re diet food, for Pete’s sake!

Chicken on a stick could have worked if Kevin executed it right and paired it with a monster dipping sauce instead of treating it like a wedding hors d’oeuvre.

Tiffany’s my girl. Sausage meatballs. MMM. Do I hear another MMM? Also, Ed’s shrimp and corn poppers thingy sounds pretty aight, too.

What solid thinking from these two. They both answer the question, “What do you want to munch on at a baseball game?” Ed combines corn, shrimp and jalapeno in a fried finger food item. And then he executes it well. Tiffany makes a deliciously drippy meatball sub. Why wouldn’t you grab one of these at a game? They both hit home runs on these dishes.

"Who are you calling 'fat'?"

Here come the players. Adam Dunn. Matt Caps. John Lavin. They all suck? Right? Kidding. I don’t know a ton about baseball, but they all look not very athletic. Or hot. At all. Kelly needs to get out more.

You’re surprised that baseball players aren’t in shape? Have you watched baseball before? Do you remember John Kruk and Cecil Fielder? Adam Dunn looks like an Adonis compared to those guys. And hey, at least they’re not the Mets.

Ouch. But the Mets have better food and beer at their stadium than anyone else. Blue Smoke! And Blue Point Beer! Now, I want BBQ and beer. Rats. So, what do you think about Kevin’s behavior in this EC?

Remember our previous conversation about passive/aggressives and control freaks? Dealing with someone like Angelo is like dealing with a thousand little pinpricks. Always with a know-it-all comment or unsolicited advice. It’s no wonder that Kevin went nuts. I would have dipped Angelo’s head in the deep-fryer.

Angelo’s mail-order bride makes an appearance of sorts via the phone. She sounds like, um, a baritone?  Weird. Also weird: Ed wins and gets a book…and OMG, thank goodness, a trip to Australia. But, I mean, who wants a cookbook? As a prize? C’mon!

Chef Rick Moonen is ready to sign copies of his cookbook!

Wow! I’m sure that the first thing that Ed Cotton is going to do is study that cookbook so that he can learn to cook!

I can’t get past Amanda’s tuna tartare. Is the question, “Would you have done tartare the day before?” or “WOULD YOU HAVE DONE TARTARE AT ALL?

I may not be the smartest, most disciplined or best looking chef around (Caroline’s note: That’s true.), but I do know one thing: If Eric Ripert and Rick Moonen are the judges then I’m not going to pick fish or do a fish dish that I’m not comfortable with.

So, Amanda is gone. I think we can agree she deserved to go. She said, “I’m going to remember this experience for the rest of my life.” — But I think it will be in the sad way. Like, she’ll be 9,000 years old, chain smoking with fluffy white dogs soiling the carpets in her rent-controlled apartment, talking about how it’s the cooking shows that got small. Am I right?

Someone will put her up on a wall. Maybe next to Giada and Nigella. But not me. Not anytime soon.

Obviously, when Angelo wins it all, it will be his centerfold in Food and Wine that will win a space on your wall.


Okay, well, I’m looking forward to next week to see if someone makes dehydrated space ice cream. And, to see if Buzz Aldrin punches anyone else out — or if Ed punches me out!


  1. Lori says


    Any chance you could keep the spoiler out of the headline for those of us Tivoing Top Chef and reading Open Table in an RSS feed? Maybe I’m the only one.

    Many thanks.

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