While this season of Top Chef has, save for a few tears, been drama-free, last night’s episode made up for lost ground. When expert chefs Dominique Crenn and Julian Serrano weren’t arguing over chocolate chicken and corn silk nests, the cheftestants were feeling betrayed and hurt by one of their own. But before any of that went down, we watched a Quickfire Challenge judged by the always amiable, bow tie-wearing Jacques Pépin. He gave the chefs a quick lesson on how to make his favorite dish, Dover sole with artichokes and asparagus, and then told them to recreate it in 35 minutes.
After sweating over trying to impress the great Pépin, the chefs met Crenn and Serrano. For the Elimination Challenge, they divided into two teams—the French half led by Crenn and the Spanish team led by Serrano—and told to prepare a five-course meal that featured almonds, olives, chicken, mussels and chocolate. During the meal Crenn and Serrano heatedly debated the “new cooking,” proving that cheftestants aren’t the only ones with tempers. But the real tension took place at the Judges’ Table, where unfortunately one talented cheftestant was sent home for a dish that was only slightly flawed. For those playing F&W’s Fantasy Top Chef, here are the points earned and lost by chefs last night.
Nina Compton: +10 for winning the Elimination Challenge with her simple, classic potato salad with shrimp and olives. Total points: 64