Guest Judge: Maria Frumkin, DUO Restaurant, Miami, FL
Quickfire Winner: Joey Paulino, Cafe des Artistes, New York, NY
Challenge Winner: Howie Kleinberg, The Food Gang, Surfside, FL
Eliminated: Lia Bardeen, Jean-Georges, New York, NY
In the 5th episode of Bravo‘s Top Chef, Guest Judge Maria Frumkin, of the acclaimed DUO Restaurant in Miami, FL, graces us with her presence. The native of Argentina has been decorated with honors as a pastry chef, a skill proven vacant in most Top Chef contestants over the past 3 seasons.
Evidently, Padma and I think alike on many levels (some unmentionable) in her reference to last week’s “dessert debacle” by Team Dale. So, this week Padma challenged all of the chefs to create anything they wished using a frozen pie crust.
Dale really had aspirations of redeeming himself in the Quickfire, but it was Joey who snatched the immunity with his humble pastry pairing. With roots similar to Tom himself, Joey has begun to understand the competition for what it is. His complaining has never solved anything, and instead has bonded with Howie and has found his groove.
Still, I believe Joey is somewhat immature under all that exterior and the pressure will most likely get to him before it’s all said and done. On the other hand, Hung‘s as immature as can be. He is still challenging the judges and honestly believes the things that come out of his mouth. I’m embarassed for him at this point.
But more importantly, Casey Thompson is beginning to slip in the ranks. Since the show actually has credibility, I’m not sure how long being attractive can keep you in a competition like this. And the whole Lynyrd Skynyrd look just isn’t working either.
The problem is if we lose her, then we lose the audience. So Casey better bring her A game next week or we might have to start watching men cook.
So, the Elimination Challenge asked the chefs to cater a “Latin Lunch” for stars of the Telemundo novella “Dame Chocolate.” Originally, the chefs were allotted 3 hours to prepare their dishes. After concepts and dishes had already been initiated, Tom entered the kitchen declaring the lunch had been moved forward 1.5 hours. The chefs handled the news in a variety of ways.
Howie decided to braise his pork to maintain the juices that are lost often times in a catered lunch. Much to Tom’s dismay, the braised pork dish went over very well with the judges, and Howie triumphed.
Upon receiving a bottle of Argentinian wine from Frumkin as a token of accomplishment, Howie then awarded the prize to his new best bud Joey. Throughout the lunch, Howie was feasting on Joey’s Bean Stew w/ Lobster, Shrimp, Chicken & Chorizo, an homage to his “Spanish” boys from back home.
For the elimination proceedings, Hung, Casey, and Sara N. were all at risk, but Lia was chopped as predicted. The judges were lost to the concept of her Smoked Rainbow Trout with Polenta Cake. It just didn’t translate to the task at hand and she was asked to pack her knives.
We are really starting to get an idea of what these chefs are able to bring to the table every week. Some only cook fish and some only pork, but they will be fine as long as the weaker chefs are still around. When we get down to 5, then we will need to see Howie cook some fish, and Malarkey and Hung (if around) cook some meat. Regardless, Harold would demolish any of them in any challenge with only a butter knife.