Top Chef: DC Moving and Shaking

And we’re back…and it seems like nothing has changed. Kenny starts by talking about being a beast in the kitchen, while Angelo pines for Tamesha.

We’re introduced to the very sexy Congressman Aaron Schock (R-IL)–who talks about the lessons incoming freshmen learn about ethics, particularly in regards to food. The chefs have to prepare an hor d’oeuvres served on a toothpick in order to abide by the lobbying laws that prohibit MOC from getting free meals.

It doesn’t seem like too tough a challenge, though some of the chefs seem to have a hard time coming up with an idea. Those included Alex, Ed, and Kelly–who ended up in the bottom of the heap.

In the top were Kevin (grilled pork & mushroom kabob with sherry vinegar), Angelo (cucumber cup with spiced shrimp & cashews), and Stephen (scallop & beef with crispy potato, bernaise sauce). We can tell Rep. Schock likes Stephen’s dish when after tasting it he smiles and says “Mmm…meaty.” Alas, Angelo pulls out the win with his “old school” cucumber cup.

We keep the DC tradition in the elimination challenge: the power lunch, where the chefs will be taking over the kitchen at The Palm. Each chef will use one of five of the proteins on The Palm’s menu to serve lunch for 24 guests. Kevin and Kenny both get lamb, and I’m excited to see what sorts of dishes they come up with. Meanwhile, Ed and Angelo get stuck with the lobster and spend most of their prep time breaking down the 4 pound beasts.

We kick off day two of cooking with Bruce Bozzi, whose great-great grandfather opened The Palm. He informs the chefs that this is the first time they have turned the kitchen over to anyone besides their own chefs and also presents the prize: a painting of the winning’s chef face on the wall at The Palm and the winning dish on the menu.

Back in the kitchen, Ed can’t find his pea puree, and the next thing we know we see Alex plating a nice green pea puree. I see foreshadowing…

Joining the judges were DC power lunchers are DC “movers and shakers” Senator Mark Warner (R-VA), John Podesta (Center for American Progress), Mika Brzezinski (MSNBC), Joe Scarborough (MSNBC), Kelly O’Donnell (NBC), Luke Russert (NBC), Savannah Guthrie (NBC), and Art Smith (Art and Soul).

The food received mixed reviews–and there were certainly some that looked and sounded better than others. Alex, Tiffany, and Ed get called back to the judges’ table first and are told they have the best dishes of the day. Despite Tiffany’s concerns of an over-cooked swordfish, the judges loved the flavors and the moisture. Ed’s slow butter-poached lobster ballotine gets praise as well, but we know the whole judging is going to be about the peas. Alex’s dish was praised for being light and the perfect portion size. Art Smith comments that the best part was the pea puree–and the camera pans straight to Ed’s unhappy face.

Winner of the week? Alex. Uh-oh. Shit’s going to go down.

At the bottom are Andrea, Kelly, and Kevin. They tell Kevin that his tomato concasse was too spicy and that the lamb was prepared poorly and overcooked. Andrea’s swordfish was also cooked poorly, and the judges said her couscous risotto was overly sweet. Kelly’s dish was meant to play homage to the steakhouse, but her plate was over-salted.

The loser, whose dish was a “power nap,” is Andrea. Saw that one coming.

Until next week, DC.

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About Rachel

Life is an adventure. Live it.
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