Top Chef Las Vegas: Foam on the Range

Top Chef Las Vegas: Foam on the Range

Joanna Miller
Sep 17, 2009

The cheftestants were roughing it this week as they headed out to the desert to cook a high-end meal. As you might expect, not everything went smoothly.

Note: We reveal the winner and losers below ...

The desert was front and center in this episode with guest judge Tim Love, and while there wasn't actually any foam, the chefs did bring their high-end sensibilities to the chuckwagon. Here are a few of our thoughts:

  1. Cactus should be cured. For the quickfire, the chefs were asked to make a dish with cactus. Michael I. turned out to be the only person who really knew his way around the prickly plant and won the challenge. The best way to get rid of the slimy texture is to cure it in salt, he explained, in possibly the most interesting piece of cooking advice in this episode. Somehow, either through his own efforts or the magic of television editing, Michael I. has seemed less obnoxious and more focused on the food in the last couple of episodes. We hope this trend continues, but we remain cautious.
  2. Roughing it can be ... rough. A few of the chefs seemed excited by the elimination challenge – cooking a high-end meal for a group of cowboys with little more than a few fire pits and some cast iron cookware. Others were not enthused and even seemed shocked by the sparse accommodations. (What were they expecting?) Eli said he doesn't believe in camping and feared his girlfriend might expect him to go now. (The horror!) Ron built a Voodoo barrier of sticks to keep snakes out of his tent.
  3. Calling all underdogs. Jennifer, Kevin, Michael I. and the Voltaggio brothers have been regulars in the winning group, but with three elimination wins, Bryan V. seems to be running away with the lead. We'd love to see the other six contestants get in there and really mix things up. Laurine and Ashley made it to the top four this week, so it's certainly possible.
  4. Enough with the ceviche. This season's chefs are really into ceviche, but when Mattin and Ron announced they'd be preparing it at the hot, dusty camp site, we had a bad feeling. Tom Colicchio ended up walking away from Mattin's rendition and throwing it into the sand. Ron's was deemed too sweet but "edible" though his coconut cocktail was "disgusting." Robin, too, had bad seafood luck with her drunken prawns that Tim Love compared to sucking on a piece of chlorine. In the end, it was Mattin who was asked to pack his knives. Au revoir!

Next week, Penn and Teller in the kitchen.

What did you think of the episode?

Previous Top Chef Las Vegas Roundups
Week 4: All Things French
Week 3: The Best of Plates, The Worst of Plates
Week 2: A Shot At Love With Tequila

(Images: Bravo)

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