Arts Desk

Arts Roundup: Sam Kass Edition

Sam Kass, assistant chef at the White House

Sam Kass, assistant chef at the White House

Morning, readers. It's gonna be another hot one. Remember your sunscreen!

Michael Jackson died a year ago tomorrow, and a Northeast family has immortalized him by turning their house into a shrine. Um, no accounting for taste, I guess.

Fans of Southern rock, rejoice: the Allman Brothers' Greg Allman successfully underwent liver transplant surgery and said he's "feeling pretty good" in a statement. Here's to many more years of "Ramblin' Man" and "Jessica" performances at a state fair near you.

OK, let's get to it: You know the morning wouldn't be complete without a discussion of last night's Top Chef. Sam Kass, assistant chef at the White House, was the show's guest judge. Kass, a Kelly Slater-lookalike, was named one of People's 100 Most Beautiful People last year and has got to go down as one of the hottest guest judges in Top Chef history. Anyway, back to the food. For the quickfire challenge, the cheftestants were charged with making a bi-partisandwich: They divided into pairs and were given a half hour to make sandwiches while wearing a double apron and working with only one hand. Angelo and Kenny were in the top two again, working with Tracey and Ed, respectively. Angelo and Tracey ultimately won for their Asian-style fish sandwich with Angelo's "liquid love" sauce. When Kass and Padma approached the winning pair and asked how it was working with each other, Angelo said, "I feel like I'm working with my twin sister." Kass responded, "Obviously not identical." Ouch. Burn.

For the elimination challenge, the cheftestants divided into teams of four and headed over to Alice Deal Middle School in Upper Northwest. They made healthy lunches for 50 kids on a budget of $130 per team, or $2.60 per child–the budget that public schools have to work with for their lunch programs. Angelo and Tracey, as winners of the quickfire, chose to work with Kenny and Ed. "I think there's definitely some strategy," Kenny said. "If for whatever reason we end up in the bottom, I now have a 50 percent chance of going home instead of a 25 percent chance," noting Angelo's and Tracey's immunity. Despite the fact that the judges likes Tracey's chicken burger and Kenny's bread pudding, end up in the bottom they did, for a meal that lacked balance and nutritional value–largely because of Angelo's "vegetable" contribution, a tiny piece of celery topped with peanut butter mousse and served on a cookie.

Jacqueline, Amanda, Steven, and Tamesha also ended up in the bottom. Though the judges praised local Tamesha's salad, they took issue with Jacqueline's banana pudding (two lbs. of sugar!) and Amanda's sherry–yes, sherry–chicken. When the judges asked Amanda why she chose to braise her chicken in sherry for a roomful of kids, she responded, "I don't know, I like it." In the best line of the night, Gail responded, "I like a lot of things. I love vodka. I'm not cooking with it."

The judges then questioned Angelo's motives. "Would you have made that dish if you didn't have immunity?" Tom asked. "I can't answer that right now," Angelo responded. Um, what happened to that old standard of not caring about immunity, you're still out to cook ass and take names? While the cheftestants went back to the stew room as the judges deliberated, Angelo confessed to Tracey, "I don't like Kenny." Tom speculated that there was some gamesmanship going on with Angelo. Jacqueline, she of last week's grainy paté, ended up going home for her sugary pudding. And oh yeah, Kelly won for her carnitas tacos with homemade tortillas.

What'd you think of Angelo's behavior? Did Jacqueline deserve to go home, or did Amanda? Has Amanda emerged as a villain to rival Angelo? Was Kelly trying to take too much credit, or was her team just being overly sensitive?

Photo: locavorespirit.wordpress.com

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