Top Chef Episode 6: Under Pressure

Ted Allen from Bravo’s Queer Eye was the guest judge on last night’s episode of Top Chef. The contestants were obviously excited to meet him and to cook for him and his friends at a dinner party at restaurant Frisson.

The chefs were also excited to finally get a chance to cook something of their choosing and really shine. They each chose a course of a multi-course meal and went to work purchasing ingredients. When all the planning and purchasing was done, the producers pulled a nasty trick to see how the chefs would do under pressure. They randomly reassigned courses, so each chef had to make someone else’s course with the accompanying ingredients.

Harold, who has come frustratingly close to beating Stephen on several occasions, got the short end of the stick when he was assigned to do Stephen’s dessert. Harold had originally chosen to do the beef dish, and now he was stuck with a three-dish chocolate dessert. The funniest part of the show was when Stephen was showing Harold the ingredients for the chocolate dessert: black tea, saffron, candied ginger…After a string of expletives, a perplexed Harold said, “I don’t cook like this!”

Earlier, during the Quickfire challenge, which Harold clearly should have won if Ted Allen hadn’t been so wowed by Stephen’s presentation (which looked like twigs on a plate, if you ask me), Harold complained that “Stephen and I have such a different style. I just don’t feel it’s food.”

Dave backed him up with, “It was all about presentation. He had a huge plate with six little clams on it. That’s not food. It’s a painting.” For Stephen’s recipe for Poached Baby Manila Clams over Grilled Sea Beans, click here.

Stephen, who had immunity, was originally doing dessert to be a team player because none of the chefs are pastry chefs, and all feel dessert is their weakest dish. He probably wouldn’t have volunteered on his own, but Tiffani asked him right in front of the main judge and Stephen would have looked like a real jerk if he hadn’t agreed.

The embattled Harold (who, in my opinion, should be in the top three at the end, with Lee Ann and Tiffani) pulled it off, and even more amazingly, he and Stephen worked well together and took team credit for both of their dishes.

Andrea was asked to leave for her lack of effort and for failing to bring her own vision to her dish, but Miguel and Dave were also on the chopping block for their food and also for Miguel’s meltdown in the kitchen after adding salt instead of sugar to a sorbet and Dave for being an emotional wreck.