Top Chef 3 Miami: Episode 4 - Camille Gets Canned
Episode 304: “Cooking by Numbers”
Quickfire Challenge: Casey
BEST OF EPISODE 304
BEST CALL OSHA MOMENT
BEST STATING THE OBVIOUS MOMENT
BEST LET’S BE HONEST ABOUT THIS MESS LINE
QUICKFIRE CHALLENGE: GET BOMBED WITH BOMBAY
One of the great benefits of the Quickfire Challenge is that they’re quick, but not quick enough for us to miss this week’s shamelessly promoted product on Top Chef—Bombay Gin. Mind you, I must say I prefer me some Bombay for happy hour rather than a plastic food container—I only saw one Gladware product placement shot throughout the entire 45 minutes of the show.
Padma Lakshmi introduced the remaining twelve chefs to Jamie Walker, a Global Master Mixologist. Darn. What does that make your average bartender on South Beach? A third world underachiever? Anyway, the chefs had to draw knives to pair a fancy-schmancy gin drink to a starter course. Now, let’s talk about quality booze, folks. Gin is alcohol distilled with botanicals such as coriander seeds, juniper berries, lavender, lemon peel, licorice and other fragrant goodies. Call me a purist, but when you start mixing crap with my liquor, it aint gonna taste like liquor no more.
What’s the point of selling Bombay’s distinctive recipe and infusing process if you’re going to commit the sacrilege of adding chocolate and mint to a gin martini? Yuck! I have to agree with Hung about serving gin with sophisticated food. “I don’t like hard alcohol. It doesn’t go with the refined, beautiful and elegant food that I cook.”
It seems that Bravo’s producers never listen to my sage advice—no pun intended. So the chefs had to pick up on this trend of perfect pairings with liquor. I thought Joey’s pairing of a watermelon and chili martini (a passable idea for a cool summer drink) with balsamic scallops, arugula and blueberry and grape salad sounded delicious. Actually, most of the dishes sounded great!
Casey won with her “harebrained” idea of pairing a Rickey with French Toast. A Rickey is normally just gin with limes and carbonated water, but was disgraced here with the addition of strawberry and balsamic vinegar. Actually she could’ve served a salad with her drink and substituted it for dressing. In any case, her French Toast Baguette with Pecan Crusted Foie Gras and Raspberry Sauce was a big hit with judge Walker. “Bold flavors, beautifully executed and a fantastic starter,” according to judge Walker. I have to agree. What’s more, it’d probably make a great hangover breakfast after one too many martinis.
ELIMINATION CHALLENGE: THREE’S COMPANY
Last week I said that judge Portale was as exciting as tapioca, but he was Gene Simmons compared to Barton G! Could someone please take Barton’s pulse and make sure he’s still alive? The premier Miami party planner and restaurateur known for his flamboyant and whimsical style—yes, the very same man who owns a pet monkey named Sabrina—was about as stale and heavy on camera as poor Camille’s pineapple upside down cake. Heh. I guess you are what you eat!
This week’s elimination challenge was all about teamwork. The remaining 12 chefs had 10 minutes to choose four groups of three and decide who would cook what in a four-course tasting menu. Each course had to use the same main ingredient, prepared three different ways.
True colors were shown as Dale risked pot and pan to stay away from Howie, who came off like a bulldog. “I want out of this team now!” He switched to the dessert team while Hung moved over to first course.
The gang shopped at Fresh Market with a measly $150. Team Tuna—Howie, Joey and Casey—argued over that extra shallot that would take them over budget. Actually, most of the teams had issues with protein costing a large percentage of their alloted cash. With Tuna at $20 a pound, that team only had $50 left for the rest of their menu. You have to wonder if Team Pineapple—Sarah M, Camille and Dale—had any cash left over!
In the kitchen, Joey took judge Colicchio’s comments about soy sauce personally, hurling a barrage of bleeps in a let’s-add-that-fabricated-drama-on-Top-Chef sort of way. “Right away he believes it’s not going to work. I think Chef Tom just came over because he likes to ruffle my feathers a little bit. He knows he can get under my skin.” No, Joey. I believe the only thing that goes under the skin is a twig of rosemary and a pat of butter under a poultry breast. Get over it.
Dinner was served at Barton G’s new Biscayne Boulevard outfit with snooze-inducing Barton, regular guest judge Ted Allen and members of the Chain des Rotisseurs, an international gastronomic society founded in Paris in 1950. So let me get this straight—you join a group of people who like to eat and drink? And then you get bling-bling grown-up scout medals to put on your sash just for eating, drinking and appreciating good food and camaraderie at the table? Sign me up!
The judges gave the Tuna Team a great deal of poo poo over their lack of cohesion. Casey had immunity, but as team members, Howie and Joey should’ve tried her tartare. Casey broke down right in front of the judges with a teary-eyed guilt fit about her under-seasoned tuna being one of the worst dishes of the whole challenge: “Immunity isn’t worth it,” she cried.
Dessert was a such a disaster, you’d think the judges would’ve jumped ship on the Titanic on purpose just to avoid it. Team Pineapple bombed the fourth course, failing basic skills like powdered gelatin and baking 101. “Read the box,” Colicchio said. The judges ripped the team a new crock pot because they took a chance with skills they simply hadn’t mastered. “Why chance it for an audience that’s going to make or break you?” Padma asked. Camille’s upside down cake received comments such as:
Like Micah’s meatloaf, Camille’s version of traditional American upside down pineapple cake was unacceptable to the judges. But Camille packed her knives in good spirits, letting us know she learned a great deal from all the other chefs in the competition. And like Micah, she was happy to return to her daughter, not to mention her groovy, thriving neighborhood restaurant Paloma in Brooklyn. Best wishes, Camille! May you rock on as well.
Click here to see Camille’s exit interview.
Team Shrimp received unanimous praise. The judges loved Hung’s corn-based foam, Brian’s ceviche and of course, Lia’s winning olive oil poached shrimp. “It was really poetic,” according to Ted Allen. Lia was thrilled to hear the words “loved the dish” from Colicchio’s mouth. “That’s huge for me.” Congratulations, Lia!
NEXT COURSE: With only 11 chefs remaining, who will pack their knives?
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