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Top Chef Fodder

Top Chef: Camping

Now, I know that this is Top Chef Las Vegas, but it seems to me that they are pulling out way too many non-traditional ingredients to use in quickfires. Last week, snails. This week? The mystery ingredient? Cactus. Huh? OK, to be fair, they did leave it up to the audience to choose the ingredient, but you know that will always result in the weirdest thing being chosen. Ah, well, at least it wasn't durian.

I doubt that any of these chefs have ever worked with cactus. Tim Love is here to judge the quickfire -- you may remember him from Top Chef Masters. It is also a high stakes quickfire, the winner will get 15K. However, the winner will not get immunity.

The chefs that didn't do well with the cactus were Ash, Ron and Michael.

The ones that did the best job of dealing with the ingredient were Laurine, Mike and Mattin. The one that won was Mike.

For the elimination challenge, they will be going camping. They will prepare lunch outdoors for two dozen cowboys. The ranch is rustic, and they will be spending the night on the ranch to get them ready. The ranch, is just that. They arrive and see that there are fire pits for them to cook in and they will be sleeping in teepees. No really, small teepees that sleep two. Now, bugs, snakes, scorpions would all be in my mind when I find out that they will have to sleep there. Yikes. I would not be a happy camper -- pardon the pun.

The chefs are all saying that it is like 100 degrees outside and that is before they get near the fires they have to cook on. Yikes. I don't see any refrigerators either. I hope there is something to keep their food cold -- it turns out that they are using coolers. I hope that they bought dry ice to keep their stuff cold.

Now for the food: Mike -- pork gyro with apple and fennel tzatziki. Eli -- tuna sandwich with sun-dried tomato mayo and radish salad. Laurine -- sauteed arctic char with tonatillo salsa, corn salsa and grilled potato. Ash -- grilled chicken paillard with corn succotash. Mattin - ceviche three ways salmon with apple, spicy tuna and cod with corn. Robin -- grilled romaine salad with drunjen prawns and spicy chicken sausage. Bryan -- roasted pork loin, corn polenta, dandelion greens and glazed rutabaga. Jennifer -- snapper with duck confit, daikon, carrot and tomato water salad. Ashley -- seared halibut with avocado mousse, bacon, tomato and braised romaine. Ron -- coconut, lime, mango and tuna ceviche, and a haitian coconut mojito. Kevin -- roasted duck breast with mole and tequila marinated watermelon. Michael -- dahsi with miso and mirin cured black cod and watermelon.

So, for the first time this season, we have Tom spitting out food. That can't be good. Mattin's ceviche was too raw and fishy for Tom. Robin's shrimp was also inedible. Tim said it tasted like chlorine yum! Ron's mojito was, according to Pama, disgusting. So, we know who is in the bottom three.

The top three cheftestants are Laurine, Ashley, Michael and Bryan. The judges liked all of their dishes. The one that really won them over was: Bryan! Congratulations! In the end, they sent Mattin home. He seemed surprised, but after last week's performance, I don't know why.

Tune in next week to see where Top Chef takes their contestants!

Posted by Wendy on September 20, 2009 5:22 PM
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