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Top Chef. Season 3. Miami. Chopping Block 4.

July 12, 2007

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Quickfire Guest Judge: Jamie Walker, Global Master Mixologist for Bombay Sapphire Gin
Challenge Guest Judge: Barton G. Weiss, Barton G., Miami Beach, FL
Quickfire Winner: Casey Thompson, Shinsei, Dallas, TX
Challenge Winner: Lia Bardeen, Jean-Georges, Brooklyn, NY
Eliminated:  Camille Becerra, Paloma, Brooklyn, NY

In the long-awaited 4th episode, Top Chef finally featured the female contestants. Last week, I offered opinions on the several ladies competing with about 50% accuracy. We’ll explore in a moment.

Casey’s Quickfire concoction

But first, the Quickfire challenge was judged by the esteemed Jamie Walker, Master Mixologist for Bombay Sapphire Gin. The test was to marry randomly selected cocktails with appropriate complementary dishes. Few flourished.

Jamie Walker, Bombay Sapphire

After receiving strong criticism, Hung naturally assumed Walker was “confused” about the effort. But then, we recall Hung suggesting that Alfred Portale “didn’t understand his dish concept” in Episode 1. I see a pattern forming.

This kid is so pig-headed that he even “called out” Walker after his assessment. Since the show is based on food though and not maturity level, I would like Hung to show evidence that he can prepare more than just seafood.

Hung claimed “sweetness always goes good with creaminess,” before adjoining his raspberry & mint martini to salmon with a sour cream & meyer lemon balsamic sauce. This being enough to hate the bastard, Walker disagreed, choosing Hung and Joey as the worst two in the Quickfire.

Hung Quickfire meltdown

Walker described Joey’s loser dish as “too robust, too heavy, a little bit clumsy…but, with the cocktail itself, it just didn’t balance.” But he could have been describing Joey or his dish.

Joey Paulino

Alas though, the Quickfire standout was Casey, who has somehow yet to be featured. She paired a French toast baguette, pecan-crusted foie gras & raspberry sauce with a strawberry balsamic rickey. With a vast liquor tolerance, Walker was so giddy over Casey’s concoction that he demanded body shots. Apparently, she had interest:

Casey Quickfire Concoction

After things got sloppy, Walker reiterated his satisfaction with Casey’s product.

The richness [of the experience] really worked. I like it. It works. It works very well.

With an afterglow from the win, Casey blissfully ventured into a threesome with Howie and Joey for the Elimination Challenge. When reality set in, Casey couragiously admitted to Howie that a threesome sounded appealing before she realized who would be participating.

Casey Levels with Howie

The power of this awkward triangle thrusted morale to the gutter, and Team Flubber faced elimination. But, Casey had the immunity, so ratings were safe while Howie and Joey were not. Luckily, Team Dale (w/ Sara & Camille) visibly pissed off the Elimination Guest Judge Barton G. Weiss of Miami Beach with their dessert debacle.

Constipated Colicchio

Again, the judges were not impressed. Tom even considers what Camille’s rubbery pineapple upside-down cake will be like on the way out. Then they chop her for having no idea how its actually made.

Camille is Chopped

It’s sad to see Camille go, but she offered no personality and didn’t have top chef skills. She didn’t seem to have very competitive blood either which is a liability among a group of selfish people.

Lia ended up winning the Elimination Challenge, showing skills I didn’t think she had. At the same time, Top Chef is set up to judge the contestants individually from challenge to challenge. Therefore, as we saw with Casey, winning a challenge could simply be the top of the roller coaster. Lia should still be watching her back.

Lia Wins Elimination Challenge