Top Chef: Caucasian Dim Sum

Categories: Marx, Top Chef

Mike and Angelo put on their game faces.

This week's Quickfire Challenge was essentially conceived as a chance for Tom to show off his kitchen prowess and Padma to show us the very bad things that can happen when horizontal stripes meet puffed sleeves.


For the Quickfire, Tom cooked a dish of black sea bass with clams, tomato, and zucchini in eight minutes and 37 seconds, which meant the contestants had to cook their own dishes in the same amount of time or less. The winner would get immunity and a Toyota Prius, which gave Padma an excuse to say "Toyota Prius" no less than 15 times in the next four minutes.

Marcel got points for craftiness after grabbing Tom's unused sea bass instead of joining the bum rush to the pantry, while Angelo ignored the judges' instructions not to make something raw and Jamie took the opportunity to confess that she's also pretty fast, har har. Sadly, the one measly clam she managed to make before time was called failed to convince the judges of her kitchen velocity. Angelo was also chided for making "Asian crudo," and Dale won only scornful pity for the literally two pad Thai noodles he managed to slop in a bowl before admitting they were "doo-doo."

On the Toyota Prius end of things, the judges liked crafty Marcel's black sea bass with dashi broth, Richard's foie gras with corn, and Mike's pan-roasted branzino. The branzino won the challenge, and the car, which we then got numerous gratuitous close-up shots of as Mike declared himself both "stoked and pumped."

For the Elimination Challenge, Padma announced, the chefs would have to go to Chinatown to serve dim sum to the locals at Grand Harmony, a Mott Street establishment that even the Yelpers don't seem to very much care for. But Marcel got excited anyway, because "going to Chinatown is like going to China" -- you get "cheap massages!"

Everything about the idea of reality TV contestants attempting high-volume dim sum service whispered "shitshow." As the challenge drew closer and we watched Jamie plot a scallop dumpling, Casey buy a bag of chicken feet, and Jamie and Antonia attempt to season long beans, those whispers became strangled screams.

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