Top Chef Season 7: Everyone Gets Crabs, Episode 5 Recap

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Photo by David Giesbrecht/Bravo
Andrea is finally on top!
This episode of Top Chef marked the first of the show's fauxmances, with the pairing off of Angelo and Tamesha in one corner, and Ed and Tiffany in another. Is it a sign of gamesmanship or true love? Or are these lusty chefs getting lonely in the Top Chef kitchen? I'll go with sheer horniness, as Alex, last week, remarked upon his predilection for hookers and blow (are we sure he's not from Miami?) and creepier-by-the-minute Angelo admitted to having crabs back in the day. TMI to be sure.

But speaking of crabs, that was the ingredient du jour for the Quickfire Challenge as our cheftestants (sorry Duran, I like this designation) had to prepare a meal from overflowing baskets teeming with live Maryland blue crabs. As Padma smirked, "You've got crabs," Angelo overshared by saying "I've had crabs. It brought back bad memories." Sorry, dude, no one wants to hear about your STDs before you are about to don chef whites and start cooking. Poor Patrick O'Connell, the judge who had to eat the crab concoctions.

However, our cheftestants rose to the occasion, with Ed borrowing Angelo's normal Asian territory and Kenny utilizing his crustacean three different ways. Our girl Andrea Curto-Randazzo remarked about the dearth of actual crabmeat in these tiny suckers: "In Miami, we have stone crabs, which are gigantic. There's not a lot of meat in blue crabs." Amanda, on the other hand, seemed to be cooking above her pay grade with a crab salad with sauterne ginger juniper gelee. Padma pronounced it "pungent," and not in a good way.

Andrea was also relegated to the bottom three because her heavy-handed use of potatoes overwhelmed the delicacy of the crab. "It wasn't news to me," she said during the Top Chef confessional. "I took my bottom three status and put it behind me." Kevin was similarly in the loser's camp.

On top were the two frontrunners, Angelo and Kenny, as well as Ed, who won his first Quickfire Challenge for his jumbo lump crab with Thai basil, mango and cucumber salad. "I feel like I'm coming out of my shell," he noted. Pun intended?

For the Elimination Challenge, the cheftestants were given little direction other than that they had to work together as a team to prepare a family-style meal using the certified organic and humane products from the Ayrshire farm in Virginia. Predictably, chaos ensued back at their brownstone with Angelo and Kenny battling it out for Alpha Male status. The best observation of the night came from Andrea, who commented, "This is a train wreck."

Since the gang couldn't work together as a single unit, they paired off into last week's duos. Kenny took over with his hot and sour eggplant curry, while Kevin recovered from his cauliflower cous cous spill with aplomb. Angelo continued his oversexed declarations by saying, "I basically made love to the duck." I'd hate to taste the resulting sauce.

I was most worried about Andrea who seemed plagued by self-doubt by her pork loin dish. "Since I've been in the middle so much, I'm always second guessing," she noted. "I don't know." Also, Miami girl was cold. I really hoped this wasn't a harbinger of things to come for the Water Club chef.

Luckily, Andrea pulled it out and her pork loin was lauded as one of the night's best. Also on top were Kevin, Kenny, and Kelly. Padma, clearly a curry expert, seemed to tip the win for "Big Daddy" Kenny.

Not faring so well were Tim, Amanda and Stephen. While all three seemed to make egregious errors (Amanda's "amateurish" minestrone soup had raw vegetables and was missing pasta; Tim's vegetables didn't register and Stephen's salad in a bowl had gloppy dressing), it was Tim who was sent home.

More interesting, however, were the previews for next week when we learn if "crabby" Angelo really digs Tamesha or if he is messing with her head. Thoughts on Angelo's possible Machiavellian scheming?

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