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Top Chef: Uncommon Sense and Sensuality (Episode 11 Recap)

If you haven't watched last night's episode, titled "Sense and Sensuality" then beware, there are big time spoilers ahead! Now, for those of you that did watch it, can I just say, "DRAMA!" - this is the kind of stuff that makes for good TV. I mean (spoilers begin now, so if you haven't watched and are still reading, well, I tried to warn you), how often do you get to see gorgeous food, shaved heads, and wrestling matches all in the same hour!?

Since this was the last elimination round before the chefs meet back up in Hawaii, the stakes were HIGH. I mean, who wants to make it this far, only to pack their knives at the last minute. Even better question: Who wants to get that far and then have to pack their knives because of their actions and not their food???

To check out my full recap, including winners, losers, drastic measures and more,

The episode starts off with guest judge Chef Eric Ripert (of NYC's Le Bernardin) and yet another sponsored commercial, er I mean, quickfire challenge. This time it was by Nestlé Chocolatier (which I'm mentioning only because I find it interesting that Nestlé has come up with a new premium brand... I guess that means I fell for the marketing).

For the quickfire challenge, our beloved chefs were asked to make either a sweet or a savory dish featuring chocolate. Ilan lost with a horrific looking chocolate ganache with chicken livers (I thought it sounded interesting, but in the end, even I was repulsed, and I'll eat just about everything) and Sam won with a shrimp, banana concoction.

Bravo TV has stopped posting the recipes for the quickfires, but here's what everyone made:

  • Elia: Poached chicken topped with chili chocolate sauce and caramelized pecans AND "Kiss" - Creamed mousse of ginger and chocolate with strawberry and mint crumble
  • Sam: Shrimp with bananas, chocolate chipotle, black bean and cilantro pesto sauce
  • Cliff: Braised chicken piquillo peppers, rosemary and chocolate sauce potatoes
  • Ilan: Chicken liver chocolate ganache with fried ginger and sherry sauce
  • Marcel: Potato cannelonis filled with coffee whip cream and chocolate mousse with vanilla powder

After the quickfire, the contestants were told they needed to make a five course romantic dinner. Since Sam won the quickfire, he got to choose which course he was making and which protein he was using. He chose scallops and lobster, which meant that no one else could use either scallops or lobster.

When the contestants arrive in Santa Barbara (where the romantic meal took place), they were greeted with a tiny kitchen. Surprisingly, the meal goes off pretty effortlessly. Sam is up first and asks Marcel if he can help plate, but Marcel says he can't because he's busy prepping. So, when it came Marcel's turn to plate, Sam said he couldn't help since Marcel didn't help him. However Sam says he couldn't be "that guy" and ended up helping anyways. The only other kitchen drama occurred when Elia's chocolate hearts couldn't be whipped up fast enough and she claimed that she "quit." Also calling it the first time she's put out something she's not happy with.

The judges eat it up. For the most part they like everything (I think this may be a Top Chef first). The only exception being Cliff's beef dish which they claimed to be like hotel food (Chef Tom also stated that Cliff's greens were worthless). They also noticed that Elia's "chocolate hearts" were missing, but Padma liked it, she thought the dessert was romantic.

Here's what everyone made and in the order it was served:

  • Sam: Seared Scallops with Lobster Plum Sauce and Beets
  • Ilan: Fideos with Clams and Saffron
  • Marcel: Salmon with Celeriac & Beets
  • Cliff: Sirloin with Lentil Puree
  • Elia: "The Kiss" Chocolate Mousse with a Chocolate Heart served on a Pastry Heart
  • So, the chefs cooked a great meal, the judges loved it, it's going to be a tough panel, but WAIT. What's this? We have what, 15 minutes left in the episode? Turns out our fledgling chefs, high off of adrenaline head back to the lofts, where they get tanked and decide to shave their heads.

    Yes. That's right. SHAVE THEIR HEADS.
    Ilan and Elia shave their heads, Sam chickens out, Cliff is already shaved down, so that leaves Marcel. Poor sleeping Marcel. Now, I'm all over the map with what I think about him, he's endearing one minute, annoying as hell the next, and as much as I can't stand the Teen Wolf hairdo, this is "joke" that's just not funny. I mean the guy is asleep, minding his own business and then Cliff grabs him. He literally yanks him off the couch and holds him in some weird wrestling pin. It was frustrating and uncomfortable to watch. No one wanted it to happen, but no one stopped it either. Sam just sits there, Ilan continues to film and then finally Cliff lets go. Marcel eventually ends up sleeping in the bathroom, I assume with the door locked for safety. And now Cliff seems like an okay fellow, but all season long we've seen some nasty mean streaks and violent tendencies come out. I would have probably also spent the evening locked away.

    The next morning the chefs are met by Chef Tom, who arrives and looks quite frightening. He asks everyone but Cliff to leave the room and then WHAT WHAT? Cliff it's time to pack your knives and go. Turns out there's a small clause in their Bravo TV contracts that state, if you touch another contestant, you're out. Cliff is obviously shocked by this, but accepts his departure gracefully.

    Back at the judge's table, the rest of the judges learn of Cliff's departure. They are truly shocked (although Padma definitely looked more shocked once she saw Elia's shaved head) and appalled that this could happen. However, they all agree that Cliff's was the weakest dish and that he probably would have gone home anyway. They then analyze all the other dishes and talk about letting one, if not two, of the remaining four go (hrmmm... I thought they liked the meal?). When the contestants return, Padma tells Sam and Ilan they they are still in the running, but that Elia and Marcel need to "pack their knives and go... TO HAWAII!"

    I'll admit now, although my brain knew there was no way they could only bring two chefs to the finals, I totally fell for it.

    Now, a few things to discuss:

    • Elia: I LOVE her with a shaved head!
    • What would you have done if you were Marcel
    • Would you eat chocolate and chicken livers together?
    • What do you think of Chef Tom? How about his dismissal style?
    • Padma's outfits - come on tell me what you really think!
    • Anything else that comes to mind? Discuss in the comments below!

    Source: Bravo TV

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Join The Conversation
BrunetteSugar BrunetteSugar 9 years
Ok, so... I know that this is mean to say. I know that I would never want to be awaken in such a manner but don't you think Marcel deserved a head lock a little bit after that horrible rap thing he did on the roof last week. That was just painful for all of us to watch... I mean I'm just saying.... I was really happy that Sam and Ilan did so well in the Elimination Challenge. Both dished looked to die for. I love love love clams... Ilan's dish def had my vote as the best! As much as I love red-meat (trust me, I would eat it 7 nights a week if it wasn't unhealthy and expensive!), Cliff's dish did not look so appealing. Lentin Puree??? Um... No! Marcel's fish looked beautiful (with the little hearts) but why did he insist on also using beets??? Sam was already using them. Get over it and move on Marcel. PICK SOMETHING ELSE. Sam won that Quickfire and the "right" to choose. Who wants 2 servings of beets anyways? (Not Me!) I thought Elia's dessert looked beautiful and I love chocolate and berries so I bet it was fabulous. She kinda annoys me and she does not seem like a "top chef" to me. I am sure she is good and could woop my a** in the kitchen but she does not yet seem to have top chef material. Maybe in a few years, with some more experience and training. Padma annoys me to death. I hate the way she talks and what she says. I can not stand her clothes. I really hope they find someone new next season (again!). I also can not stand Gail. She really is a drama queen. I love the whole shaving of the heads. I wish I was that brave bc I really hate my hair. Ilan still looks super hott! And Elia looks cute still too! Cliff's actions, though funny, were out of line. He was not going to advance anyways. He def was not going to make it any further. So, I guess things happen for a reason. I am glad that he did not make a scene and accepted it like a man. Very classy (minus the wrestling) Top Chef makes for a GREAT hour of tv! Gourmet food and tons of drama! Yum-O!
alison3001 alison3001 9 years
aside from cliff being a moron and grabbing marcel, i think he should have been voted off this week anyway. he hasn't done anything exceptional and you may remember that his dish was the only dish with sand at the beach competition. also, like you said, he's not a good team player in the kitchen and he has an attitude problem when he is stressed. with that said, check out my myspace investigation on who is going to win top chef! it's totally gonna be elia! http://mystique.vox.com/library/post/top-chef-predictions.html
a-nonny-mouse a-nonny-mouse 9 years
Elia is ADORABLE with her sweet little shaved head -- she's totally a righteous babe! I *love* her even more, now. (And I doubly-love her personality. She's such a keeper. I was relieved to see she didn't get the boot -- but what was UP with the fact that she got no credit for doing a dessert? I know she didn't have to, but what kind of romantic dinner can a person have with NO dessert? ) I'm just thrilled that I'm *not* Marcel -- I felt bad for him (that was NOT funny), but he's still a huge dweeb. (Elia was in a different room when all this happened, right? I'm still not sure why *she* got in trouble alongside the guys. Did she actually have any part in even the idea of that prank?) Liver is disgusting. Chef Tom is fine. His dismissal style was fine. I don't mind him. (Note: I think Cliff took it like a Champ! Kudos to him for having some class and leaving with dignity, without any argument or anger.) Padma is a lovely woman, and her clothing choices baffle me. I hope Elia does not get eliminated this time around. I simply adore her. I'd be down for a Elia/Sam showdown for the final two. (Marcel needs to get cut from the competition. I like Ilan -- and I have a strong feeling that the final two will be Ilan and Sam -- but I still want Elia to go all the way.)
JessNess JessNess 9 years
Elia looked like an elf with a shaved head
Gold_DustWoman Gold_DustWoman 9 years
Elia looks way cool with her head shaved...and Padma never ever stops posing...
aembry396 aembry396 9 years
OH, and Elan's clam dish looked AMAZING, and I"ve never had clams before! What do people think about the hostess, Padma. I'm torn Preppy to the max!
aembry396 aembry396 9 years
Point 1. I LOVE Elia. She is so cool. I wish I was cool enough to shave my head...and I am totally a hate-myself-when-im-not-perfect perfectionist Point 2. I love Elan, but he is kinda nuts. You are right about the chocolate and chicken livers: I still want him over Marchel Point 3. I hate Marcel more than everyone Point 4. Sam is hot, and I think he will win. He's almost as good as last year winner, Harold. (okay Harold isn't as cute but he is geeky hot with good cookin' so I'm not gonna turn him away) Point 5. I have a love hate relationship with Cliff Preppy to the max!
kiddylnd kiddylnd 9 years
I can't believe that I decided to go to bed after the quickfire challenge! I'll have to catch it on a repeat now...
yayita yayita 9 years
what?? damb, Im gonna download this.. looks like a bunch of crazy chefs :p
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