Eric Ripert

Eric Ripert comments on the difficulties the chefs faced working together in this week's Elimination Challenge.

on Jul 14, 2010

Quickfire Challenge: Well I thought the crab challenge was a very good one because we are in a region for the blue crab, and there are a lot of them in the Chesapeake Bay. And everybody was freaked out by the crabs moving. They are very fast; they can pinch you and hurt you very quickly, those crabs. Timothy seemed to be very comfortable with them because he has a restaurant in the region, and he therefore was handling them properly. And I thought he would have a good shot of shining in that episode. I don’t think he made the crabs shine at all because he didn’t win that episode. It doesn’t matter if you cook with Asian style or any style of cooking. What matters is to bring the right seasoning and the right ingredients in a sauce or in a garnish to make the crab the star of the plate, and Timothy seems to have forgotten that, probably in his seasoning or something. But the crab was not the star of the plate, and therefore he lost against Ed. Angelo has the reputation of being very Machiavellic and calculating things to let others be mislead or bring them to a loss – and then is trying to help Tamesha with showing her how to do it. And obviously everyone is questioning his intentions because we don’t know where he’s going.

Elimination Challenge: The Elimination Challenge was definitely a challenge for them. In the house you saw Angelo and Kenny fighting to take over the team, and it was actually very entertaining to see them arguing like that. Timothy was kind of in the middle, but not interacting that much. Finally, they had a team, and went to the country. I thought it was a very difficult challenge because of the lack of equipment and the lack of cooking stations that they had. Also, they were very limited in their vegetables and meat. All the ingredients were very sparse, and it was difficult for them to create something. I was actually very, very surprised to eat such great food in the middle of a field, not knowing that they had to fight for space and fire and ingredients. Kenny, in this episode, did really well; his eggplant was delicious and very tasty, and we all agreed at the table that it was the winning dish. Also, we enjoyed very much the dishes from Kelly and Andrea, and the fact that Kelly made a crumble as well was a very good surprise; that crumble was very delicious. We enjoyed it very much.

I think it was also an easy choice to choose who was going home, and it was Timothy. He really did a poor job with his vegetables, and I didn’t even remember seeing those vegetables on the plate. Tom caught the fact that Timothy supposedly had asparagus for color, and it didn’t really bring any flavor. So if you use an ingredient, especially a beautiful ingredient like an asparagus, and if that ingredient doesn’t bring anything to your dish, do not use it because you are spoiling it. And maybe someone could have used that asparagus and done something great with it. Timothy had already had the mini-fight about the beets, and now he was putting asparagus just for the color? I mean, it didn’t really make much sense.

Viewer Questions: I’m going to answer the question of Jackie D., and it’s about chefs bragging about their talent, or not bragging about their talent. And because Top Chef is television, I think you need to sell yourself to begin with by talking about the talents that you have. I don’t think you have to overly brag about your talents, because then your cooking is going to make you shine or not. But it is always good to be articulate about why you are on Top Chef, and why you want to win the challenge, and what are your qualities as a cook. But it is true that some of the chefs have a tendency to exaggerate their talent, and it could be maybe a kind of insecurity. And by bragging they try to fight that insecurity, I don’t know. And it's true that talking a little bit about yourself is good, and then cooking a good dish is really, definitely the right thing to do.

So, all of my comments for Episode 5 are done. I will definitely see you next week to comment on Episode 6.