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We’re going to do this quick and dirty since your trusted weekly Top Chef recapper has been kidnapped or something. But in a good way. And we’ve already gotten rid of the most annoying cheftestant this season, so I won’t have to focus all my vitriol on a single person. Instead we’re at the point where the end is in sight and as a chef I start to enjoy the nuanced differences between everyone.

Let’s be honest with what we have left in the top six. Very capable chefs who have proven numerous times this season they deserve to be there. While achieving this they also excel at not being particularly memorable in any way. At this junction it’s all about who screws things up with a flat dessert or over seasons a simple grilled steak. Amanda’s oxidized tuna tartare I saw happening as she pushed the fish through a metal grinder. Not just the air, but contact with the metal is going to do bad things to tuna overnight. No matter how perfect her dish tastes, there’s just something disturbing about grey tuna tartare.

This week the cheftestants were tasked to upgrade ball park food. As usual certain people took the challenge at face value, deciding to prepare ball park style food but in a fresher way. Then others just lost their minds with ideas of dim sum dumbed down some. Look, I like Angelo. I think he’s a really good chef and I don’t see him being deliberately malicious to the competition. But he’s a frazzle brain sometimes.

Before they rose to that challenge the cheftestants first had to combat food idioms. Cute phrases that involved food items like “spill the beans” were the challenge this week. I like the Quick Fire challenges each week simply because they’re so often bullshit, and make the moment when Tom tells the final two that they can cook what they want all the more satisfying. I doubt anything will ever top the mystery box challenge for unnecessary difficulty. This week I noticed something named Ed. He made gnocchi, which you don’t see often on Top Chef, and awakened me to the idea that he was an Italian inspired chef. And uh, I also noticed Ed. Everyone talking about there’s no drama or surprise or interesting people on this season need to keep their eyes on the unobtrusive Ed. He’s going to end up winning the whole damn thing and people will be flabbergasted. But no, I warned you right here that something like this could happen. Hell, if Kenny can be sent home before Alex anything is possible.

Speaking of Ed, he continued along his Italian way by making an arancini like dish. Basically we most often call deep fried risotto balls arancini for simplicity sake. Technically there are distinct variations depending on what’s put inside, the shape, or where they originated from. Suppli are my favorite because you get that long gooey strand of mozzarella. Anyways, Ed puts out a shrimp and corn arancini. Which sounds fantastic. But it’s Tiffany I have to pick as my personal winner with her sausage meatball hybrid sub thing. I’m all for sushi, crab cakes, or fried risotto at the ball park if that’s what you want, and you’re willing to pay the exorbitant price. But personally I’ll go for the cold 24oz beer and the meatballs every time.

The judges decided that it was Ed’s fried rice balls that deserved the honors this week. I can’t disagree, but arancini are always a winning choice. On the other end of things poor Amanda got called out on her grey tuna tartare. I feel bad because it’s such a silly little mistake, but it’s the details that make you a better chef. Or as I’m told numerous times each week while working the line, “If you wanna shine West, you gotta polish!” So with that detail missed Amanda packs up her knives and goes home.

Angelo, Kevin and Kelly in the final three? You go ahead and hold on to that thought, but don’t ignore the faint whisper of Ed’s name as we come to the end of this season.

Photo by: David Giesbrecht/Bravo

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