The second episode of Top Chef New York brings to light some constant truisms of the show: 1) You never get too much character development in the early eps because there are too many chefs to fit in an hour, unless 2) you're someone with an accent and a penchant for saying things like "Is not how many dragons you kills, is who takes a-home dee princess." That, friends, was from Moorpark's Fabio Viviani. Last night gives us more with our three locals, a lot of Colicchio with bonus Damon Wise footage, Craft NY, and vindictive chefs who didn't get picked for the show. Let's recap!
1) Quickfire: After some serious bonding between our two Euro-Angelenos (Euro Duo, Euro Twins, whatever) Fabio Viviani and Stefan Richter, the chefs are off to make hot dogs for guest judge Donatella Arpaia. The idea of making hot dogs, apparently, throws everyone into a tailspin. Along with ridiculousness like "sushi hot dogs," the losing dish comes from Baltimorean Jill who wraps a store-bought dog in rice paper, and winner is Radhika's Indian version. Stefan was singled out as one of the worst with his global take (and "he's miserable" about it); Fabio singled out on top with his Mediterranean take; Alex was unmemorable.
2) Elimination Challenge: The chefs have to cook a luncheon at---twist!---Tom Colicchio's New York baby Craft. And bigger twist: The diners are all NY chefs that didn't make the cut this season. After pretty boy Jeff decides to take matters in his own hands to organize everyone into their three groups of five, each person decides their own dish, and then it's off to Whole Foods where Jill makes it clear what outfit is de rigueur for shopping in Baltimore--pink sequined tank tops--and buys ostrich eggs. For quiche. Hosea tries to find Dungeness crab?in New York?in August (he does run a seafood restaurant in Denver, after all). Fabio goes for the meat: beef carpaccio app with spherified olives. Stefan very confident with his halibut main course. Alex does pork tenderloin over mashed potatoes.
3) Fave quote #1: "I've never opened one before. It's an egg. I can work with an egg." – Jill. Fave quote #2: "I think there's a difference between playing it safe and playing it ridiculous and that was ridiculous." – SF's Jamie on Jill's choice of ostrich egg.
4) A Moment With Colicchio: Reminding the chefs to not taste food with a spoon and put it back in the food.
5) Eugene and the EuroTwins: "Sure they can cook their asses off, but they aren't the only ones that can. The flight from Europe was far here, but I’m pretty sure the flight back will be even harder." Once again, folks, they flew from Los Angeles. EuroAngelenos.
6) Decisions: The room full of TC castoffs are brutal, as everyone knew they would be. Alex's pork is "not Top Chef material." Stefan's ravioli, however, is impressive. And everyone's blown away by the simplicity of Fabio's beef carpaccio and arugula salad, especially the olives because spherical olives will always impress.
7) Judges Table: Not shockingly, Hosea's crab salad, Arianne's too-sweet lemon desser (which Padma spit out into her napkin!), and Jill's ostrich egg get them in the bottom. Carla's apple tart, Jamie's chilled corn soup, and Fabio's salad are the tops. Fabio, the charmer, can't believe he's at the judges table since he sells thousands of that same salad every week. Of course, he was there because it was the winning dish. He airkisses everyone---possibly a TC first---and now everyone thinks he's adorable. He's tied with his European Brother of Another Color for wins (Stefan won the first challenge), which means this just might be a strong season for Team Los Angeles. After giving "the lamest defense of her food in five seasons," according to Gail, Jill from Baltimore packs her knives.
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