Last night's episode of Top Chef was quite the doozy. Perched high in the Rockies, the quizzically rustic nature of the Quickfire Challenge—a wilderness fish cook-off judged by none other than seafood chef extraordinaire Eric Ripert—was a bit of an odd choice considering the importance of each competition at this point in the show. Also, as pointed out on Rocco's Blog, depicting Aspen as a cow town is anything but accurate. After all, has Entourage has taught us nothing?
In the end, it was Brian who got the ax, a fittingly surprising decision to cap a controversial episode. Aside from a notable silence from one Mr. Bourdain, the interwebs are abuzz this morning:
From Brian's exit video: "To be honest, I was a little surprised that I got kicked off tonight. I actually thought I was in line to win it, because I was the last one to go and there were some very long-winded conversation about how people's food was and this and this and this and when we got to me, it seemed that Chef Colicchio said I actually—as wild and crazy as that dish was—I actually really enjoyed the flavor profiles and I didn't here from any of the three judges, and I actually thought I was in line to win. I really, seriously thought I was in line to win this." [Bravo]
From our girl Lesley down at Eater LA: "Dale completes the trifecta, and he's now our favorite (we're fickle). His speech about how he ended up in the competition (lost a job, lost vision, but "found" himself) was actually quite moving because it seemed extremely sincere ... still hate his Mohawk and manpris, but damn Dale, you got spirit, kid. It's anyone's game now." [Eater LA]
From Tom Colicchio: "I felt a bit bad for the chefs -- scaling and filleting a fish while hunched over a sawed-off stump is bad enough. Cooking said fish for Eric Ripert, chef of perhaps this country's most revered seafood restaurant ? yeah, that was kind of messed up." [Bravo]
From commenter Kelly: "My jaw never hit the floor soooo hard. I couldn't believe Hung was chosen to stay. Though his techniques are almost flawless the show IS called Top Chef. Love that Dale won!!! I am routin' [sic] for Casey though." [Bravo]
From Blogging Top Chef: "I'd like to say a few words about a chef I know, an acquaintance of mine. His name is Brian Malarky, and he has the heart of a Top Chef and that rare form of cooking which allows him to fool himself and his judges -- fish. He has a mental attitude which makes me wary to know a chef who spills out "seafood," 24 hours a day, every day of his life. Now, you flatter me by giving me this position of power. But I say to you here and now, Brian Malarky is a man of many hats yet limited recipes who could receive the Top Seafood Chef award. It's my decision tonight and Brian Malarky's tomorrow. I love Brian Malarky’s fish. And I'd like all of you to love his fish, too. And tonight, when you hit your knees: please ask God to love his fish." [Blogging Top Chef]
From Rocco's Blog: "Tonight’s Rocky Mountain challenge was a far cry from last week's dignified New York City competition. I have to say, that this Quickfire Challenge reminded me of a frat house hazing. There they were hunched over, ankle-high in weeds, on a slope by a river, using butane camping burners. The dichotomy of this picture is that the town of Aspen is anything but a cow town. In the ski season, you are more likely to see a pair of Prada heels than cowboy boots. Out of season, it's a town of local mega moguls. If you've never been to Aspen, you should know it is the most affluent ski resort in America. It is a gastronomic destination with many great restaurants, and the home of Food & Wine Classic In Aspen, and quite the social scene with incredible slopes. Cooking in a barn and roping calves isn’t my idea of inspiration, but then neither was the hangar at Newark. Regardless, every TCC made a good effort and delivered in spite of the uphill battle." [Bravo]
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