Top Chef, Season 5, Episode 8

Down on the Farm

As always, you should stop reading if you don’t want the ending of this episode spoiled for you.


Things kick off with Hung, the winner of season 3 of Top Chef, as the guest judge. Fabio knows that Hung loves fresh food, and he sees a tarp covering something rectangular, so he thinks that there is an “ah-kwah-rium” down there. Fabio’s expression, and the way he says “aquarium” is so funny, you have to see it for yourself. I’d buy this episode on iTunes just for that.

Hung was the fastest chef in Top Chef history, and in his honor, the chefs have to make the tastiest dish possible while not using any fresh ingredients. Padma removes the tarp, revealing pantry items — most of which are terrible products that self respecting chefs would not use. Though the labels have been editted out, you can see various items which include the follow: Vienna sausages, wheat germ, Velveeta, canned soups, vegetables, fruits, and clams, box-mix mashed potatoes, canned fish, canned chili with beans, canned crab, instant noodles, and more.

In honor of Hung, the contestants are only given 15 minutes to create their dish. Hilarious.

Hosea decides to make a split pea soup with ham/spam. Sounds disgusting to me, but Hung loved it. Jeff is doing fried conch with a pina colada and a coconut dipping sauce. Jamie is taking the easy way out and making a bruschetta with garbanzo beans, marinated artichokes, and bread. Stefan asks Hosea if he can take the rest of his Spam, then proceeds to talk about how he’s a genius and how his soup and grilled cheese/Velveeta sandwiches with Spam-infused baked beans is going to kick everyone’s ass. Leah fries up some waffles and cooks them so hard, they become rock hard. Radhika takes the same route as Jamie and mixes some beans with tahini and toasts some bread. Stefan ends up winning, since he did both a soup AND a sandwich, whereas Hosea only did a soup. Hosea proceeds to kick himself for letting Stefan take the Spam earlier.

Elimination Challenge

The chefs have to cook a seasonal, family-style lunch, including dessert, for 16 people per team. The chefs draw knives and break off into their teams, by protein: pork, chicken, and lamb. Ariane is uncomfortable about being on the same team as Leah and Hosea because she’s the odd one out. Jamie gets placed on the same team as Stefan and Carla, and Stefan causes problems again, as usual. Jeff, Radhika, and Fabio plan on doing some simple, but fresh and seasonal foods for lunch.

The next morning, all the chefs pile into the cars and drive off to somewhere in New York. The signs on the screen say Blue Hill at Stone Barns and I have to pause the video. WOW. Dan Barber is fantastic, and the chefs get to work with the food that’s grown on the farms there.

The menus have to be revised, since they will not be shopping at Whole Foods. Here’s what they’re making:

Team Pork:
– Seared pork loin
– Sausage ravioli with pesto
– Fried green tomatoes
– Grilled corn salad with bacon
– creme brulee

Team chicken:
– Chicken cutlet with grilled corn salad
– Lemon-herb roasted chicken
– Chicken ravioli soup
– Nectarine & Strawberry tartlet

Team lamb:
– Roasted duo of lamb
– Heirloom tomato salad
– Rosemary & garlic-roasted potatoes
– Swiss chard
– Summer berry trifle

Team chicken wins it — that is to say that each of the three chefs win.

Team pork and team lamb are on the bottom.

The bad things about team pork were that Radhika did almost no work, the creme brulee was too sweet, Fabio put too much pesto on the ravioli, and Jeff with the hair made the mistake of cutting the fat off of the pork and cutting the meat off of the bone.

The bad things about team lamb were that there was no teamwork. The lamb was butchered and tenderized when it should have been left on the bone, especially because it was baby lamb, which is already very tender. Then, the roulade was tied incorrectly. Ariane, who does not have as much experience butchering lamb as Hosea, got no help. And again, she had to tie the roasts herself, even though Leah has more experience tying roasts. As a result, the lamb dish turns out terribly, which is especially bad at a place where it is all about honoring your food and elevating it and making it taste as good as possible.

Ariane has to pack her knives and go home. Pretty much everyone is angry.


2 Responses to “Top Chef, Season 5, Episode 8”

  1. angry? whose angry? her hair was gettin so wild lookin.

  2. Haha, I’m angry. Poor team cougar’s mascot. I will always love her and now want to road trip to her restaurant. I haaaaate Leeeeeeeahhhhhhhhh…

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