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Top Chef 3.3 - Family Favorites Recap

*Zzzzzz* Oh sorry about that. Last night's Top Chef sorta knocked me out there. Did you guys watch it? What did you think? Although Ted Allen was finally there, and the guest judge - Alfred Portale - had the potential to make it all work, I have to admit, I was utterly bored. Even the challenge - update old school American classics - seemed recycled. I know I'm being a bit hypocritical, first I complain that it's too dramatic and not focused on the food, and now I'm complaining that there's not enough drama. Can't I have my cake and eat it too? Or should that be, have my conch and eat it too? If you're still curious to see what happened, and there is actually one small off-air controversy,

The show begins with Padma unveiling a large tank full of shellfish. Each contestant then steps up to the tank and fills the net as full as they can. They each can only take what they get in one scoop. Hung is up first and immediately begins fishing around for the best bits. His fellow cheftestants seem a bit upset by this and Sara N. even declares, "Jesus Hung, save some for the rest of us."

Once he's done with his haul - he actually drops one and disrespectfully says he doesn't need it - the rest of the folks get theirs. Tre ends up getting a small amount, while others get things they've never worked with. In the end the bottom 3 quickfire dishes are Micah's (girl really needed some help getting the conch out of its shell), Camille's (who?) and Tre's (looks like my current fave is really slipping). The top 3 are: Howie (who's back from the chopping block), CJ (who's dish actually looked unappetizing to me) and Brian (who works with seafood on a regular basis). The overall winner is Brian who receives immunity from the elimination.

After the quickfire, the chefs now select "traditional family favorites" to update. Only there's one small catch, instead of just updating them, they have to update them into modern low cholesterol meals. Hung, who the editors have started to make out as the "bad guy" declares to the camera, "All those dishes look disgusting to me." Unfortunately for him, since he got to choose shellfish first, he had to choose his traditional dish last (fried chicken). Once dishes are selected they have $75 to shop, 30 minutes to prep and two hours to cook on location at the Miami Elk's Club Lodge.

We keep getting info about Dale's pre-cooked chicken and instant mashed potatoes, making us believe he's going to be ousted, but woah ho! That's just fancy editing! Dale actually ended up in the top 2 - that's right they only chose 2 top dishes - along with Howie. In the end Howie wins with his Fennel Crusted Pork Chops. However I think it was only because Dale's chicken & dumplings were partially store bought.

So now that you know the winners, how about the losers? Oh my there were actually quite a few disasters. In fact 5 people are called into judge's panel: Micah, CJ, Lia, Sara and Brian. Since Brian has immunity they can't kick him off, however they bring him in to yell at him for serving a high-cholesterol lobster and for playing it safe with seafood.

Once Brian leaves, the judges then start ripping into the other dishes. Sara M.'s chicken a la king was more like (as Tom said) "chicken don king" as it bore absolutely no resemblance to its dish. Lia didn't do enough cooking on her franks & beans - to which she retorted, "I guess I really didn't understand how complex franks & beans are." CJ's tuna casserole was too green, too muddy and too frightening - although they did give him props for cholesterol-reducing flax seed chips and the fact that he took a risk. However it is Micah, with a terrible meatloaf - Alfred said it was, "Bad. Really Bad." - who is asked to leave.

Now's when I'd like to mention something about Micah. When she served her dish, she made a mention of how "Us Americans" eat it with ketchup. I thought it was condescending, as did the judges. She also makes several references to her not knowing anything about American food - she did this last week too. Now, I'm not one to judge, if she says she's from South Africa, then she's from South Africa. However, there's been a few things uncovered to suggest that she's not really from South Africa after all. Either way, she sounded happy to get off of the show before things turn ugly.

Whether or not it gets uglier, I just hope it gets more interesting. Now back to that nap...

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Join The Conversation
mme-sky mme-sky 10 years
I've never been able to tell the difference between instant and "fresh" mashed potatoes -- as long as you use plain ol' potato flakes & doctor them as you would regular potatoes, there is no difference in texture or flavor. I don't know why, but I tolerate Hung's brashness and ego. Did anyone know that Padma is married to Salman Rushdie? I just saw their photos on a party planning website. Crazy!
smp7328 smp7328 10 years
Yeah, the sweat was just a little much for my liking. I felt bad for Tre getting such a small amount out of the tank for the quick fire challenge. And Hung needs to be the next one to go. He is just annoying.
crispet1 crispet1 10 years
Instant mashed potatoes? I never liked those.
ccy ccy 10 years
This episode was definately a snooze-o-ramma. Hopefully next week will be better since they will be working in groups. Howie's sweating really grossed me out and I had to feel sorry for the people eating his food. Maybe sweat is his secret ingredient? And again, what was with the quickfire prize of books? Not that I don't love cookbooks. I own a ton of them myself. But it just seems odd...
scooterbrown scooterbrown 10 years
Was I the only one who was confused by the editing in the quickfire? Maybe I missed it, but I didn't hear anywhere in Padma's rules that it only had once chance to get everything in their net. Plus, I thought they had 30 seconds. Anyway, the editing has been way off on several episodes, introducing the chefs 30 minutes into the show and what not. :(
olliecat olliecat 10 years
I agree, this week's was a little boring. I think it would have been way more interesting if they had gotten a guest judge who's written a low-fat cooking book or is the editor of a health food magazine b/c then that person could have weighed in on how the contestants could have made the dishes tasty but healthy. Plus, I was slightly annoyed by the contestants reaction to the challenge. A couple of them expressed disgust at the meals!! I'm getting a little tired of the media's assault on fatty food -- I understand there's an important underlying health issue, but not everyone has the time/energy to go low-fat with every meal. Guess I'm just tired of all the preaching!
kiddylnd kiddylnd 10 years
Howie needs to go. Period. Followed shortly thereafter by Hung. I know he adds to the drama, and I know he is a good chef, but he just bugs me too much. ICK!
LaLa0428 LaLa0428 10 years
I agree the entire season, has not been the most exciting. I miss Sam, anyway, I knew her accent sounded muddled to me. Not that I'm an expert, but I thought she was trying to do New Zealand or Australia. Everyones clear disdain for the American classics, kind of annoyed me just a bit. I like crème brûlée, but hey I also enjoy a good tater tot too.
mwmsjuly19 mwmsjuly19 10 years
Why can't I get into this show this season? Bleh.
chellybean chellybean 10 years
I don't care unless it involves gratuitous Tom Colicchio shots! Is that so wrong?
mello mello 10 years
I can't ever get into Top Chef until some of the bad people leave. There are just too many people right now and it's boring to me. Though I'm glad Micah left.
Food Food 10 years
oh i totally forgot to mention the sweat, they only showed it briefly but yes. There's a reason joey wears that rambo bandana, howie might want to try the same. i mean i have a thing i wear to keep my hair out of my face and food, it's sort of the same thing, no?
Seraphim Seraphim 10 years
haha i watched it, my boyfriend and i are avid top chef watchers. i must say that i agree with you...ZZZzzZZZzzzzzZZz I'm glad the cry baby flew the coop though :) and yes i saw the sweat!!! ewwwwww i mean, at least have a towel handy!
Lara16 Lara16 10 years
I haven't had a chance to watch it yet, so thanks for the update. I never really cared for Micah and her accent/condescending attitude; however, did anyone mention anything about Howie sweating all over his food? It was in last week's preview - yuck!!
LuciLu LuciLu 10 years
I was bored as well... I need more drama and yummy food to peak my interest. I do love this show, dont get me wrong, but it needs more "spice". :)
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