Almost Embarrassing

Eric Ripert explains how close Angelo was to going home.

Full Transript: So this is Episode 10 of Top Chef. And I'm commenting on the Quickfire, which was very challenging. They started with one ingredient, which was fish, and then boxes of secret ingredients started to appear and made the challenge even more intricate, and difficult, and challenging, obviously, to all the candidates.

I think Angelo had the right idea when he thought he should be very broad in terms of vision and wait to see the ingredients coming and not take a risk. I would have used the same strategy myself because those boxes were again full of surprise. Passion fruit is definitely something that is not easy to use in savory food.

So Tiffany won making that fish stew. I think it's well deserved, it was not an easy path as well, because when you start a stew and suddenly, you have again that passion fruit appearing, what are you going to do with your stew, how are you going to integrate into it, and so on. And she find a way. And her dish looks really delicious and she was also very happy to win, and I think it was well-deserved.

Going to the CIA is not just like a walk in the park and we were very impressed and surprised also by the warmth of the team at the CIA, which welcomed us. Mr. Leon Panetta was more than charming. It was really an experience, a lifetime experience, that we all had, and we were really grateful to walk in the most secretive place in America.

The challenge was to take a classic dish and to hide it and make something else with it. A cobb salad is not easy to disguise, but they had an entire night to think about it, an entire day to prepare. It was actually, instead of a challenge, a great opportunity for them to shine and to show their creativity and technique. And we discovered pretty much all of the dishes that were presented in front of us.

But some of them were delicious, and Tiffany won with her lamb, because it was really, really delicious. We all really liked it at the table. Some of them were mediocre, and it was almost an embarrassment for us to have to share those dishes with the rest of the team at the table, because at this level of the competition, especially with someone like Angelo, you would expect something creative, exciting, and delicious, but it was just a dried piece of dough with some mushy beef on top. It was very disappointing.

Angelo didn't go home because Alex really cooked for us something terrible. Between Angelo and Alex, Angelo was definitely the winner. Alex's dish was borderline inedible. We had a hard time to swallow the first bite, and I don't think anyone went for more than two bites on this dish. And that saved Angelo, if not Angelo would have gone home, because using that pastry was definitely a shortcut.

Ed's Chicken Cordon Bleu definitely looked like a Chicken Cordon Bleu. But the execution was perfection and the flavors were absolutely delicious, so Ed had to go on top and couldn’t be on the bottom.

Kelly had the Kung Pao Shrimp, and she was very smart to look behind bottles of Chinese ingredients to find out what it meant. And myself I ask her at the table, "What is it?" Because like her, I was very ignorant about it. I don't know if I would have been as quick in trying to find information about it, but she did actually pretty well, her food was very good.

Alex is losing and going home. The team is I think happy to see Alex go home. He had a hard time to integrate himself into that team. He had some attitude towards some of the contestants, which were aggressive, and he didn't make too many friends during that season. And I don't know in real life what kind of cooking he does, and I really hope he does better food than what we have seen on the challenge that he lost.

This is Eric Ripert commenting on Episode 10 at the C.I.A. for Top Chef in Washington D.C.

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