Recap: 'Top Chef Masters,' Season 5, Episode 6
Seven chefs remained heading into this week’s episode, which forced the chefs to do something that’s always a bit tricky: cook for kids. But before that, the chefs met writer, actress, and "romantic comedy aficionado" Mindy Kaling, who challenged them to take a romantic comedy and distill it into a dish. The chef who made the best dish would win $5,000 for their charity, and they had 30 minutes to cook something up. Here’s what they ended up with for the Quickfire:
Sue (Knocked Up): Salty cayenne chips and pickles with vanilla ice cream and dark chocolate
David (Sweet Home Alabama): Southern grits with fried duck, slow-roasted tomatillo, and angry chile threads
Douglas (Midnight in Paris): Scrambled eggs and caviar with pommes frites
Neal (Vicky Cristina Barcelona): Mediterranean sea bass and lobster with chile and pepper broth
Bryan (Mystic Pizza): Poached oysters with burrata, prosciutto, kale, migas, and oyster broth
Sang (When Harry Met Sally): Apple pie compote with dates, Chinese cookie crumble, and vanilla bourbon ice cream
Jennifer (Roman Holiday): Insalata di frutti di mare, poached scallops, romanesco, and focaccia crostini
Kaling wasn’t a fan of Sang’s (it didn’t really live up to apple pie à la mode expectations) or Jennifer’s, which just wasn’t as good as the others. She liked Neal’s sea bass, which was "sexy, hearty, and spicy," Douglas' scrambled eggs, because it was perfect date food, and she thought Sue’s was just about perfect as well. Douglas ended up winning $5,000 for his charity, Green Dog Rescue.
Onto the Elimination Challenge, when we learned that David’s sous chef won the Battle of the Sous Chefs, winning David immunity. Moving right along, some crazy-costumed people danced into the set, the cast of Yo Gabba Gabba. The chefs were challenged to create a dish that’s nutritious and delicious, to be served to 60 kids. The winner would receive $10,000 and, oh yeah, this challenge was a double elimination. But that wasn’t all: they had to choose foods kids don’t like — avocados, cottage cheese, beets, cauliflower, eggplant, melon, and Brussels sprouts — which Sue, Jennifer, and Neal had to incorporate into their dish because their sous chefs didn’t do well in the earlier battle.
The kids streamed in, the chefs served them, and Sang called the whole scene a "Chuck E. Cheese on acid." Here are the dishes the kids were served:
Jennifer: Melon-yogurt parfait "sandwich" with pickled Brussels sprouts and mint
Sang: Teriyaki chicken meatballs with cauliflower foam and sweet pickles
Neal: Pasta with Brussels sprouts and spinach Bolognese
Douglas: Eggplant jelly with crispy rice
David: Avocado yogurt and white chocolate pudding with gingered fruit ratatouille
Sue: Mac and cheese with maple-glazed Brussels sprouts and bacon
Bryan: Ruby beet sorbet with toasted granola and vanilla yogurt dome
Douglas, Neal, and Sang were called into the room first, and they turned out to be the ones on top (even Douglas, who served eggplant jelly). Douglas’ dish had a deep savoriness, Sang’s meatballs were great and the cauliflower foam was fun, and Neal’s pasta tasted great and incorporated the Brussels sprouts in a genius way. Neal ended up winning the challenge, and $10,000 for his charity, Alex’s Lemonade Stand.
Jennifer, Sue, and Bryan got called back, and they were obviously on the bottom (David had immunity, lucky him). Jennifer’s parfait looked like an ice cream sandwich but was too sour from the pickled Brussels sprouts. Sue’s macaroni and cheese tasted good, but the bacon was unnecessary and the sprouts were very cabbage-y. Bryan’s dish was the least favorite for a lot of kids, and while it was beautiful, it tasted "dry and dirty," according to Gail.
In the end, Sue and Jennifer, the competition’s only two remaining women, got the boot, because the kids didn’t like their food. It was pretty clear that this episode shouldn’t have been the one where two chefs were eliminated, and it appears as if the judges (producers?) had the same thought, as Sue and Jennifer were invited to cook in a Battle of the Sous Chefs, and the winner would be allowed back into the competition. They joined up with their seconds-in-command for the online challenge and cooked some more food, but we won’t know until next week who’s allowed back.