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Return To The Planet Of The Apes

Carlos Fernandez tells Hung to stop the arrogant and Howie to play nice.


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A cold stone challenge ... 45 minutes ... whatever turns you on. Sounds like simple advice, but turns out to be really difficult for a few. I think one of the interesting things to come out of this was basic K.I.S.S. -- 'keep it simple stupid'. Several of the chefs, in their zeal to be different, came up with very odd ice cream combinations. Perhaps the best example of this was Hung: Cauliflower and ice cream?!? How could he get it so wrong? Maybe he just doesn't know what turns him on. I think it's time for Hung to step aside and let his monkey do the cooking for a change! HA! Dale shone through with his straightforward and classic combo -- peach cobbler and vanilla ice cream. What could be better? It looks, sounds, and I am sure tastes delicious. I was so glad to see that the judging for this challenge to be so unpretentious. Bravo to Dale!

"Yay, a night off in Miami Beach." Sure ... and look out for the flying pigs! When I heard this, I didn't believe it for a second. "Top Chef" Season 2 has left me a very suspicious person ... no one can sneak up on me now. LOL! As a viewer I really enjoy the team challenges. You get to see more of the true personalities of each chef as well as how they work with others. This is one of the most important, and often overlooked, aspects of being a great chef since you are rarely alone in a professional kitchen. The orange team's menu, on sound alone, seemed likely to be the winner. The black team's choice of grits and wings would seem to be difficult to eat standing up. But execution and hype ruled the day (and let's face it; there is a lot of hype involved in the food industry). Brian proved the perfect MC. He is the rare combination of chef and front man. He showed just how important the front of the house is to getting behind the product and selling it. Many chefs are introverts and therefore must rely on others to hawk their creations. The black team was really lucky to have Brian as their leader. Whatever he was on, I want some of it!

Unfortunately CJ just couldn't compete with that, even though he seems to be the unofficial interview recap guy. He just couldn't get his team focused. Which brings us to Sara N. C'mon ... if you loose the blender top -- improvise! Throw on some plastic wrap and move on. And I was shocked at Howie. He is from South Florida and doesn't seem to know the difference between a Cuban sandwich and a Media y Noche?!? (note to Howie: It's the bread ... and if you aren't going to press it, call it something else). Now for my rant ... Hung: Stop being an arrogant little pr*** and concentrate on cooking. Howie: Learn how to play well with others. Some have compared you to a bulldog, but I don't see any need to insult the bulldog (at least we didn't see you sweating into your food this week). While these qualities may help you guys to make it to the finals, they won't help you in the real world. To survive in any professional kitchen, you must learn how to communicate and work with others, but I digress ...

And please let me know your personal rants! I'm curious to know your take on the different personalities at play. At the end of the day, it was all about execution. Congrats to the black team -- you deserved this win. Goodbye to Sara N ... it seemed like you were ready to go (I know the feeling). I understand some folks may not have liked your steady, regulated pace, but I can tell you from my experience that those traits, properly focused, can serve you well in the kitchen, just as the tortoise eventually overtook the hare ...

When you get a chance, check out my webisode this week on Miami Spice" I show you how to make a wonderful pasta with goat cheese crema that you will adore! Until next time, stay tuned and Break An Egg!

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