Top Chef Recap: All In The Family

Last week on Top Chef Dale gets kicked off for a lousy Amberjack and the cheftestants were shocked, especially Richard.

It's up to the final five. One step away from the final four. Pressure is on. Padma comes into the cheftestants' condo unannounced. Richard says this is a zoo, don't get near the animals. Padma says get your chef coats on and go on the roof. Antonia says Padma is going to say here's your Quickfire - you have to jump off the roof and fry an egg on your way down.

Quickfire Challenge

Padma says they're taking a ferry to Ellis Island and the Quickfire is happening right here. The Cheftestants have to make a meal using only the crappy touristy stuff found at the ferry's snack bar. The cheftestants have from the time the ship's horn sounds the first time to the time the horn sounds again. This means that they have no idea how much time they have, but since I'm from New York and did a yearly field trip to Ellis Island and The Statue of Liberty, I'll say about 30 minutes is the time limit.The stuff they have to work with are hotdogs, nacho chips, cheese whiz, soda - can we reiterate "crap"?  Mike says there's no kitchen equipment, there's no food, there's nothing.

Antonia is trying to make a grilled cheese on the hot dog griller. Richard grabs hot dogs, puts them in a bag with boiling water and is steaming them. Carla makes an orange salad (where the hell did she find an orange, papaya juice and rosemary?), Mike makes a soup from bread and bagged pork rinds. Carla says Richard is known for his dishes, but Richards dish is a hot dog with a lot of stuff on it. Times up.

Dan Barber, the chef of Blue Hill, is the guest chef. Since he's all about organic and farm to table cuisine, judging a quickfire about making crap from crap is the perfect match for his unique culinary talents (NOT)! The cheftestants make the following crap (did we mention crap yet?):

Richard makes Hot dogs with lots of stuff on them (which looks like what you would get on the ferry, anyway).

Tiffany makes nachos with cheese and banana peppers (which looks like what you would get onthe ferry, anyway too).

Mike makes peasant style soup made out of hot dog buns, sour cream and cheese (which looks like what you clean up after a really nasty ferry ride).

Carla makes an orange and papaya salad (again - where the f**k did she get fruit)? 

Antonia makes grilled cheese on raisin bread (basically taking apart two prepackaged sandwiches and switching contents and bread and toasting them).

Dan, clearly insulted by the shit that he's eaten, tells Tiffany the dish was too much of a throwaway and that Mike's dish could have sunk the ship. He also says Antonia's technique was great and Carla's salad was refreshing. And Carla wins. 

Elimination Challenge

Padma says they're to assemble the perfect dish that represents their heritage. Top Chef hired the best genealogist in the country to help them know their lineage. The cheftestants relatives are there to surprise them. Antonia and Mike find out that they're related distantly. Antonia says Richard is her arch enemy because he farts. Now Mike says he wants her to stay because she's his cousin. Richard wishes he's Italian because he's Irish and what the hell can he cook? He says Whisky and potatoes are nice but really... Mike and Antonia are now buddies, though Antonia says that he still flicks boogers and farts. 

The Cheftestants make:

Carla - Braised pork shoulder with grits and biscuits. Gail loves the grits. Tom says that he's not sure what's going to happen at judges table).

Tiffany - Braised short ribs with stewed okra and oxtail marmalade (Tom says her family is well fed. Tom says he doesn't like okra because of the slime and Tiffany's mother gives him major stank eye).

Antonia - Braised veal with fava bean risotto (Tom says Antonia's dish was packed with flavor)

Richard - Braised short rib with fried bone marrow, potatoes and pickled glasswort (Tom says the food was all right. not alright, but "all right").

Mike -  Potato Gnocchi and whipped burrata (Tom says there has been a lot of gnocchi problems but it was delicious).

Judge's Table

Padma wants to see everyone at judges table.

Carla said going to Ellis Island was amazing. Gail said she loved the broth and then the cheddar biscuits came down the table and they were great. Carla says she used liquid nitrogen on the biscuits.

Richard says it was quite emotional to have family there. Tom said that Richard came up with an interesting dish and the story came out in the dish.

Antonia says that hers was a peasant dish. Tom says risotto was always tricky in the show, but her confidence came through in the dish.

Tiffany says that okra is easy to cook and Tom says that he's an okra convert and that the slimy wasn't slimy, it was rich.

Mike says when his grandmother cooked she would cook from early in the morning to late in the day. Gail said the moral of the story is listen to your mother because the dish was great. Tom said it was a simple dish, but so soulful. Mike is crying because he misses his grandmother.

The winner is Antonia. She wins a Toyota hybrid and a place in the finals. Padma says Richard please pack your knives...you're going to the Bahamas (such a mean joke, Padma).

Tom says that they were nitpicking and...Carla and Tiffany are both going to the Bahamas - wha??

Next week - Padma in a bikini, Bahamas junkanoo, a fire and diving for dinner.

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Laine Doss is the food and spirits editor for Miami New Times, covering the restaurant and bar scene in South Florida. She has been featured on Cooking Channel’s Eat Street and Food Network’s Great Food Truck Race. Doss won an Alternative Weekly award for her feature on what it’s like to wait tables. In a previous life, she appeared off-Broadway and shook many a cocktail as a bartender at venues in South Florida and New York City. When she’s not writing, you can find Doss running some marathon then celebrating at the nearest watering hole.
Contact: Laine Doss