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Top Chef 3.4 - Cooking By Numbers Recap

Did you watch Top Chef last night? If so what did you think? I think it's starting to get interesting, but there are still a few too many characters for me to keep straight. After a two week hiatus, it was almost difficult to get back into as I kept having to say, "Who's that?" or "Wait, who's that girl?" However, once things got "cooking" (sorry I couldn't resist), I got back into the groove and was ready for a visual feast.

Things start off with an interesting quickfire challenge. Padma and Jamie Walker - guest judge and "global master mixologist for Bombay Sapphire Gin" - presents them with 12 mixed drinks and asks them to create proper food pairings. Immediately we cut to Hung who, having drawn a Raspberry Mint Martini, is bitching pouting about how his food is too good for hard alcohol. He then goes on and on about sweetness always going good with creaminess. To find out who wins the quickfire and who gets sent home at the end,

After tasting all the dishes, Walker puts Joey's "little bit clumsy" dish and Hung's in the bottom two. Hung questions him and asks for Walker to say that sweetness and creaminess don't always go hand in hand. Walker easily obliges. The top three dishes ended up belonging to Tre, Dale and Casey. I thought Dale was going to win, as he had previous experience pairing food and mixed drinks, however it was Casey who took home the immunity. Congrats to her, but can I just ask, did anyone else say, "Who?" when Casey won? She hadn't exactly gotten much screen time prior to this...

Once the quickfire is settled the cheftestants are told to divide themselves into four groups of three for a team challenge. Each team will be responsible for a portion of a 4-course meal and have 2 hours to cook, 30 minutes to shop and $150 to spend. The first thing I noticed was, unlike previous team challenges, the contestants get to break themselves into teams. I was immediately impressed with how diplomatic they were by doing a random name draw for teams. However, the diplomacy was too good to last and the contestants immediately start arguing and the teams reshuffle. In the end we are left with:

Team 1 - Brian, Hung and Lia with a trio of shrimp
Team 2 - Casey, Joey and Howie with a trio of tuna
Team 3 - CJ, Tre and Sara N. with a trio of beef
Team 4 - Sara M., Camille and Dale with a trio of pineapple

It's interesting to note that 1) Joey and Howie are on a team together even though they didn't have to be. 2) Even though no one said there must be a dessert course, Dale has decided they should do a dessert and even goes as far as to decide his team should do a tropical one. 3) Brian, the seafood chef, is once again doing a seafood dish.

When the food is served (they feed the judges, guest judge/restauranteur Barton G. Weiss, and culinary eating club extraordinaire Chaine des Rotisseurs), the shrimp is very successful, the tuna is weak/strong/muddy, the beef is beautiful (although Sara N.'s beef is compared to Denny's roast beef), and the pineapple dessert is a disaster.

The shrimp team is called out as the winners and the best dish goes to Lia with her Poached Shrimp with Lime Syrup. I'm glad to see a lady finally win an Elimination Challenge, but I feel like I hardly know her - hopefully we'll hear more from her soon.

When it comes to the losing team, both the tuna team and the dessert team are called out. Casey's dish is declared the worst, but she has immunity, so it doesn't really matter. Joey & Howie - former foes and current BFFs - are chastised for not tasting Casey's food and for not having a cohesive theme. However the dessert team was far worse, they took a risk and it failed and when all was said and done, Camille (again, "who?") is asked to pack her knives and go.

So what did you guys think? Do you think Brian can skate by on his seafood for much longer? How about Dale's demand for a dessert course, do you think he should have gone? What about Sara M.'s poor use of gelatin? Tell us your thoughts below!

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Food Food 10 years
ddene - it was a from a car accident - it's an interesting story actually
ddene5713 ddene5713 10 years
where did she get that scar from?
sm225 sm225 10 years
The awful-pineapple-upside-down-cake-girl who went home? I didn't know who she was. I LOVE this show - but I'm more focused on sweaty Howie, the tall guy, Ego-boy (Hung) and others... OK - here's the thing. Doesn't Tom seem crankier than usual this season? Why do I get the STRONG VIBE that there is something going on between him and Padma??? Both of them didn't blog this week - she's getting divorced - there is SOMETHING going on there I think...
ccy ccy 10 years
I was sooo rooting for Dale to win the quickfire. (I have a soft spot for a man with a mini mohawk and can get away with male capris!) Seafood guy is going to coast on the seafood train as long as possible I think. And yes, Ilan did do it last year with the spanish style but it's there is a difference between your crutch being an ethnic style as opposed to a specific protein.
rothchild rothchild 10 years
Padma is very annoying. I know she is a major improvement compared to last years Katie Joel but can she please get some speech therapy? I don't want to be mean spirited but she cannot pronounce anything appropriately. On to the chefs. Howie sweating over his food was disgusting. I think that the producers set the drama with the tuna group. There was no way that Casey's dish was the worst out of all the dishes, but they made it seem that way. Those desserts looked terrible and since when was pineapple upside down cake brown? Camille was a snore and it seems, so was her food. Brian (seafood guy) should step it up a bit and venture out of his seafood safety net (although it worked for Ilan last year with his spanish food). I do like this season even though I am still not clear on who everyone is by their name. Maybe by next weeks episode.
PennyCheesecake PennyCheesecake 10 years
Lia was on the block on last weeks episode, right? The one at the Elks Club when she made that yucky pork & beans? I would really like to see a woman take the top chef title. I was watching old episodes recently too, and I think the first season is still my favorite, with Leanne and Harold and Tiffani (okay, she was kind of a horrible person, but the girl could cook!). I think it is really telling that we have overlooked the female contestants on this season, because quite a few of the guys are so front-and-center (and annoyingly-arrogant). I don't know if Casey or Lia could run away with the competition - they seem to lack experience, which may come from being so young (my other complaint about this cast) - but I will be rooting for them anyway!
SaraSmile SaraSmile 10 years
Heehee - cheftestants. I am so over Padma now with the whole divorce thing. I know I shouldnt jump to conclusions, but I guess she figures since she is more of a household name in the States now, she doesnt need to be Mrs. Salman Rushdie anymore. Lame. (However, this being said, I was watching repeats of season one a few nights ago and no love was lost over wooden Katie Lee Joel. Maybe next season find a host without a famous older husband and with a little more personality?)
Cheetah521 Cheetah521 10 years
Casey bugs me a little because she seems to be too snotty and "too good" for everybody else. I didn't know who Camille was until last night, when she was up on the chopping block I was like "Who is that?" I'm happy to see Lia getting some screen time finally. And the best line of the show was when Jamie Walker commented to the really tall guy (CJ? see...too many contestants grr!) "You're really tall" and he responded by saying "I'm flattered you noticed" I don't know why, but i thought that was really funny!
stefsprl stefsprl 10 years
Lia's shrimp looked SO yummy! I was so glad that she won. And honestly, I think that Sara M. should have gone home rather than Camille, but they did say the pineapple upside down cake was awful. p.s. Sumnboutme -- Padma got her scar from a car accident according to Wikipedia...
sumnboutme sumnboutme 10 years
I Tivo-ed it and will probably watch it next week. I wonder how Padma got her scar...I have a similar scar.
Lara16 Lara16 10 years
Is it just me or does Casey remind anyone else of Jennifer Aniston? I got the impression she was a strong contender from the beginning of the show, yet could not understand why she got so little screen time. I am glad that she won the quickfire challenge, though. I didn't really know much about Camille except that she had a funny accent... I remember she had previously said that she liked to use 'cheeez' to flavor her food and she was actually talking about 'teas'.
Fashion Fashion 10 years
Go Lia! I know her! xo
sugarbecky sugarbecky 10 years
I thought Casey was going to sacrifice herself despite her immunity; I guess not. Not too sad to see Camille go, she hadn't added much to the show previously. I love how Hung thinks none of these important chefs "understand" his dishes. I think they do, Hung, and they are underwhelmed.
partysugar partysugar 10 years
Me too Crispet!
sparklemeetspop sparklemeetspop 10 years
Sara doesn't seem to be that strong of a contender, which is why I was a little surprised she didn't go home. Is it just me, or is Padma looking a skinnier than normal? Maybe she's freaking out about all the food she's "forced" to eat on the show. Such a hard job... haha.
crispet1 crispet1 10 years
I missed it, but I plan to catch a repeat this weekend.
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