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Ming. Sigh.'s Editor isn't shy about her feelings for guest judge Ming Tsai.

Hi, again! First, I want to start by saying that you guys are amazing. I've been sharing your culinary film suggestions with the office all week. I have to say the Silence of the Lambs was my favorite, albeit a bit creepy. Forrest Gump gets runner-up.

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Watch Top Chef on Bravo and next day on Peacock.

To "mary cusma," saying:

"The outside of the plate is surrounded with colorful veggies...whipped potatoes with a drop of beet juice(pink) whipped cauliflower(white) baby carrots(orange) etc. "stuck in the middle" is seared pork with a blood orange reduction. Guess the movie:)"

And dammit -- I have no idea! Babe? Someone help me out! The sad part is I was a film major.

Also, thanks "d" for the catch -- "Dale" has been changed to "Spike" in last week's entry.

OK, onto this week's challenge. I'm a total sucker for the non-cooking Quickfire Challenges. My favorite from last year was the technique challenge -- I could literally watch Hung break down that chicken all day. This week, the chefs had to show what their palates are made of, and honestly, it was pretty revealing. Every chef I've spoken to has said how important having a good palate is. So this challenge kind of revealed some of the chefs' weaknesses and the chefs' strengths. I've mentioned Antonia as being on my radar before, but her Quickfire win made her even more intriguing. It also put Ryan in a somewhat better light -- maybe his palate will help him out in the competition. I was shocked that Stephanie didn't do better. But let's also remember, that Season 3's Dale Levitski had a self-admitted poor sense of smell, which definitely affects the palate, and made it to the final two. So, we'll see.

The Elimination Challenge brought another team challenge, and while we've had what seems like nothing but team challenges so far, I think actually they're kind of helpful. With so many chefs still on the show, it's easier to give all the chefs the same amount of attention if they're in groups. I'm not saying that's why it's done, because frankly i have no idea, but i can appreciate it. This week, the chefs had to create first courses for a Meals on Wheels event with guest judge Ming Tsai. For those who remember, Ming Tsai was Guest Judge in Season 2 and told Josie what was what when she couldn't pronounce "pho," and I haven't forgotten how to pronounce it. So, thanks Ming! And, again, he's dreamy.

Let's break down the groups. First there was Fire. I couldn't understand why the chefs didn't create something hot from the get-go. I know it's a first course, but that seemed kind of obvious to me. Lisa has single-handedly proven that you will be rewarded for speaking up. Kudos on the win. That bacon sounded gooood. I also want to point out that Stephanie was a very good mediator between Lisa and Dale.

Team Air didn't get much attention, but they kind of messed up with their duck by not rendering the fat correctly. I've been ordering duck a lot lately (had an excellent duck at Harold Dieterle's restaurant Perilla), and I can't even imagine how unappetizing the fat must be without being rendered correctly. The team also decided to make a little drink on the side, which seemed like an after-thought.


Team Water. Oy. I've already mentioned that I don't like salmon, but as Ted points out in his blog, you could see the impressions from the plastic bag on the fish! Also, Andrew, you know I love you, but the faux caviar is over. I really think if he makes it one more time this season, he could go for it. I just want to see what else he's got up his sleeve. rate_405_earth_elim.jpg

And finally Team Earth. I do love beef carpaccio, but not a fan of the mushrooms. And so it came down to seasoning. Antonia got some flack for having immunity and still steering the team, but honestly, I thought that was commendable. While a soup could have been impressive (Elia did win for a stellar mushroom soup in Season 2), it didn't sound too wow-worthy. So, Zoi went home for not seasoning her food.

Aaand, the fight. Whoa!! It seemed like everyone had a bit of aggression built up, and it showed. Honestly, I could barely follow what the fight was even about, but everyone was yelling and probably made some enemies. If I may be so bold as to say I kinda think they all just need a little action .... But I digress. Dale vs.Lisa continues next week, so stay tuned!And now the fun parts of the show, the non-food parts! A few things:
1) Richard may think his charm has worn off on Tom, but it hasn't. Richard was crazy awkward trying to make jokes when Tom did his walk-through, but I thought it was adorable.

2) Antonia seems like a big Top Chef fan saying how much she loves the taste test Quickfires, and i kinda love her for it.

On a sidenote, a few of us had the opportunity to attend Food & Wine's Best New Chef Awards last week -- an event that the lovely Ms. Gail Simmons puts on. And I was in chef heaven. I was such a groupie, it was disgusting. I basically attacked Wylie Dufresne (I kid, I kid), and he couldn't have been, well, less overtly scared. (I was too nervous to do the same to Daniel Boulud.) Celebrating it's 20th anniversary, previous winners of the awards "hosted" little tables where people could sample their food, and Hung represented Top Chef and his current place of employment, Solo -- a kosher restaurant! Hung prepared a fabulous snapper ceviche with mango pearls, that was actually my personal favorite. It was somewhat of a Bravo/Top Chef reunion with Marcel, Hung, Harold, Tom, Rocco, and Gail all in attendance. So, big shout out to Gail for throwing such a great event.Also, just want to draw your attention to the fact that Tom's Blog is back this week! I know some of you were getting antsy, but the man is super-busy, and this week's blog is pretty exceptional, so enjoy.

Be sure to check out our new show Step it Up & Dance tomorrow. It's hosted by Elizabeth Berkley. And FYI, my nickname in high school was Jesse Spano, so tune in! I will be.

Anyway, comment away! Tell me what you thought of Ming, the fighting, the breakup of our first couple, and really, anything you want.

"See" you next week,

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