Top Chef

Season 3 Episode 3

Family Favorites

Aired Wednesday 10:00 PM Jun 27, 2007 on Bravo
out of 10
User Rating
26 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

This week the remaining chefs must first catch fresh seafood, and then put a fresh twist on American dinner staples for members of the Miami Elks Club. Guest Judge: Alfred Portale QuickFire Challenge: Catch & Cook Shellfish Elimination Challenge: Update Classic Dishes into Modern Lower Cholesterol Meals Round Threemoreless

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  • They had a great Elimination Challenge, and they did nothing with it. But the QuickFire was a good one, so I guess it wasn't all bad. But this cast just isn't grabbing me the way the first season cast did, or even as the trainwreck second season did!moreless

    The QuickFire was a great one, and as someone who used to do kitchen prep for Red Lobster, I know a little something about the time consuming nature of shucking and cleaning seafood, though hardly to the extent that they were asked to do for the Challenge. It made things interesting, and almost all of the dishes looked like something I'd like to try, except for Hung's oddly titled Scallop Head and Bellies. Do scallops really have a head and a belly? This isn't the first time he's used seafood innards in a dish and while it seems to have been reasonably successful, it still sounds nasty!

    Moving on to the Elimination Challenge, I thought this was going to be a great opportunity for the chefs to display some creativity, but all we got was bad diet food! Even Dale, who obviously made something more tasty than the rest, just switched American homestyle for Lithuanian. It may be new for Americans, but it showed no originality or innovation, unless you count using boxed potato flakes instead of real potatoes as innovation. A reasonable time-saving device and a successful one, yes, but not an "update" by any stretch of the imagination!

    I can't argue against Micah being sent home, but just looking at the dishes, the one I'd least like to try is CJ's. I'm not a fan of peas, and my mother never put them in her tuna casserole, but even if I was a pea lover I can't imagine thinking that CJ's dish looked at all appetizing! Just by looking at it I got the impression that he didn't even use albacore tuna, since it looked fairly dark, which meant it had a stronger flavor to it. Maybe he thougtht he needed that to stand up to all the peas, but I still wonder.

    I have to say that I was a little disappointed by the Judges criticism of Sara M.'s chicken ala king. At least she used her imagination, and while I couldn't see the relationship her dish had to the original by just looking at it, knowing ahead of time that her dish was that classic I could see what she was going for. It might have failed as a dish, but at least she thought about it and tried to innovate, and she was one of the only ones to do so. All in all, a fairly weak episode in a relatively boring season.moreless
  • This episode was not as good as what is usually served up.

    Watching this episode, it didnt really jump out at me. For one thing, Hung was beyond his attitude than usual, and I think he may have turned down the oven on Sara purposely becuase of what happened in the Quickfire Challenge, and I cant believe that Micah was booted out, when CJ's dish looked even worse, but I have to admit, she made too many, "You Americans do this, and we do that" comments, which wasnt a crowd pleaser. Also the Joe/Howie confilcts were kept to a minimum which was good and bad. I'm just hoping that the next episode will step up to the plate.moreless
  • The chefs redo old family favorites and try to make them healthier.

    I find this season so far dissapointing! Does anyone else watch 'Iron Chef', now I don't expect the talent level here to be on that level, but at least in the same ballpark! These guys and gals, with the time and money they are given, repeatedly churn out unoriginal dishes! If there is a season 4, they need to find some of the chefs that Iron Chef finds, the talent level here is just not there...moreless
  • This episode shakes up the order a little bit.

    When I saw this show was going to be shown, I read through the different biographies. I thought this was an interesting mix of people and was hoping something a little different. I know that the chefs have seen the first season as a minimum so they know that sometimes staying safe gets you to the middle of the competition and then you can pick the time to make your move. It seems that there are way too many people trying to play it safe and few willing to take major chances.

    The quickfire showed that some of the people are starting to move up and down in my ratings of how they will finish. I can like a chef but if he has limited talent I know he cannot win. However chefs with talent do not always win the challenge. Howie definitely stepped up in the quickfire, and some of the early front runners Hung and Trey are starting to settle down a little.

    The elimination challenge was great, remaking comfort food into lower cholesterol and better tasting food. The way they chose what they were going to make was also fair, it made some of the chefs work outside their comfort zones. Hung doing fried chicken was interesting, his background is far from that. It was also hard for Micah who is new to this country and does not eat or make comfort foods.

    When I saw Howie pick pork again, I was surprised, after his disaster in the previous episode. But he went and showed why they picked him for the show, he was the winner but showed he can be original. What happened to Trey, I thought he was one of the real front runners, Hung was out of his comfort zone, and others are way over their heads. Do I think Howie will win, I do not know, but I have seen nothing from any of the women of the show to lead me to think any of them will win. And the men seem to be in the lead, but then anyone can have one really bad day and go home. Go Howie.moreless
  • Seafood and Family Favorites

    First off, Hung really irritated me this episode. He didn't even care about the poor crawfish and like someone said, he could've at least cleaned up after himself. He could've either put the crawfish in his bowl or back in the tank. He's not a favorite of mine. Tre was my favorite when the series started, but he was pretty quiet in this episode. I've always kinda liked Howie, so I'm glad he won this challenge. I was a little suprised Dale wasn't called on his premade rotisserie (sorry if I spelled that wrong) chicken. I don't know how fair that was. Anyway....I had a feeling Micah was going to go home because she just really seemed like she didn't want to be there from last week and she really didn't seem to care about really understanding the mealoaf dish. Next episode looks interesting as it will be the first time they have to work together.moreless

Featured Episode Clip

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (7)

    • Micah says that she's looking forward to working with conch in the QuickFire Challenge because she used to live in the Bahamas where it is commonly used. But when it comes time to shuck it she fails miserably, even trying to hammer one open!

    • In his interview for the camera, Hung says he turned the oven to "cool down" after his chicken was done, and says Sara M. was at fault for not checking to see if it was on. But when Sara asked him if he turned it off, he denied it.

    • First Run Fan Poll:

      Who is the better chef?

      A. Howie 88%
      B. Joey 12%

      (all percentages are as of the end of the episode.)

    • QuickFire Challenge Dishes Shown:

      • C.J. – Pan Roasted Fruits de Mer, Shaved Cauliflower with Saffron Paprika Vinaigrette & Olives
      • Casey – Linguine with Scallops, Mussels & Cockles, Cilantro Bread with Truffle Butter
      • Tre – Shellfish Poached in Fish Stock, Butter & Chive Oil with Summer Corn & Grilled Leek Compote
      • Micah – Conch Salad Ceviche Style with Sour Orange, Finished with "Sky Juice"
      • Brian – "3 Rivers": Wine, Butter, Garlic, Chives with Clams, Scallops, Mussels & Crayfish
      • Lia – Raw Bay Scallop, Dry Fig & Lemon Zest, Cockle with Tomato Water & Capellini with Crayfish
      • Sara M. – Cornmeal Crusted Conch with Citrus Butter, Mango & Cilantro Mignonette
      • Camille – Crayfish & Mussels in a Hibiscus Sauce, & Mussels Crusted with Tarragon
      • Hung – "East/West" Curry with Heads & Bellies of Scallops & Mussels with a Crunchy Crouton
      • Dale – Spicy Italian Sausage & Scallops with Tomato Sauce, Topped with an Egg
      • Howie – Ceviche of Conch, Scallops, Crayfish & Mussels with Crispy Plantain & Greens

    • Elimination Challenge Dishes:

      • C.J. – Tuna Casserole with Whole Wheat Pasta & Yogurt Topped with Flax Seed Tuile (Tuna casserole)
      • Sara M. – Chicken à la King with Purée of Mushroom Sauce, Couscous & Watercress Salad (Chicken à la king)
      • Lia – Grilled Chicken Sausage with Dijon Lentils, Carrots & Onions (Franks & beans)
      • Dale – Chicken Filled Potato Dumplings with Broccoli, Horseradish & Celery Root (Chicken & dumplings)
      • Hung – Skinless Chicken Marinated in Yogurt & Spices with Pasta & Vegetables (Fried chicken & macaroni & cheese)
      • Sara N. – Panko topped Snapper with Pine Nuts, Currants, Lentils & Roasted Beets (Fish sticks & french fries)
      • Micah – Italian Style Meatloaf with Smashed Garlic Potato & Roasted Pepper Sauces (Meatloaf & mashed potatoes)
      • Brian – Lobster & Shrimp Roll with Lobster Broth (Cabbage rolls)
      • Camille – Beef & Chili Salsa Taco, & Tuna Tomatillo Apple Taco (Tacos)
      • Casey – Rib Eye Sloppy Joes with Butter Pickle & Apricot Compote (Sloppy Joes & tater tots)
      • Joey – Low Cholesterol Lasagna with Turkey Sausage, Eggplant & Mushrooms (Lasagna)
      • Tre – Roast Chicken Cordon Bleu with Bluefoot Chanterelles, Asparagus & Parsnip Sauce. (Chicken cordon bleu)
      • Howie – Fennel Crusted Pork Chops with Apple Fennel Salad & Sultana Raisin Emulsion (Pork chops & applesauce)

    • Brian wins the QuickFire Challenge.

    • Micah packs her knives, and Howie wins the Challenge.

  • QUOTES (6)

    • Dale: Almost all of us received conch in our net, and there are many contraptions you need to get that $#!& out of the shell. But we have a half an hour to come up with a great shellfish dish, that I don't have time to dick around with a conch.

    • Hung: (referring to the QuickFire Challenge) Everyone is throwing shellfish with white wine, and there you go. Yeah, it's simple, but, my monkey can do that.

    • Micah: Meatloaf and mashed potatoes- I'm thinking this can't be too hard to improve upon.

    • Micah: I think cooking anything traditional is difficult because I think people expect something, because they have a preconceived notion in their mind of what they're going to eat.

    • Ted: (as they sample the contestants' dishes) We're in serious need of 'wow' here. We've had three courses of 'not wow'.

    • Lia: (at the Judges' Table) I guess I didn't understand how complex franks and beans are.

  • NOTES (8)

    • International Airdates:
      Australia – June 4, 2008 on Arena

    • Dale bought pre-cooked rotisserie chicken at the supermarket and used it, but he also used some chicken that he cooked himself. He reminded the Judges of this fact several times at the Judges' Table, but this footage didn't make the aired episode.

    • In the third season reunion show "Watch What Happens" each of the Judges is asked which is his favorite dish throughout the run of the show. Ted has two favorites, one of which was Howie's pork from this episode.

    • Lee Anne says in her blog that she turns on each of the ovens an hour ahead of time so that they will be fully up to temp for every Challenge. She also points out that when a convection oven has been switched to cool down mode the oven still retains a fair amount of heat and the fan continues to blow, so it would be quite natural for Sarah to think that the oven was still on.

    • In her blog, Lee Anne points out that the chefs only had to make five portions each of their dishes, so time constraints should not have been a major part of their Challenge this week .

    • In her blog, Lee Anne says that she hung a poster in the Top Chef Kitchen listing high cholesterol foods to help the chefs from inadvertantly using an ingredient that would get them in trouble, and that list included lobster.

    • In her blog, Lee Anne says that she used as of the leftover shellfish went into making a seafood and coconut ceviche for an Easter meal that she and her assistant Shannon cooked for the production crew on one of days off. She found this especially fun because she had never worked with fresh conch before, and while shucking it was tricky, the sweet, wonderful taste made it more than worth the extra trouble.

    • Guest Judge Alfred Portale graduated first in his class at the Culinary Institute of America. Soon after, Portale worked with some of France's most renowned chefs: Guérard, Troisgros, and Maximin. Returning to America, he combined his repertoire of classical techniques with a love for all things American when he opened his Gotham Bar and Grill. Drawing on his background as an artist, Portale uses his sense of style and craftsmanship to create food which appeals to all the senses; His menu at Gotham features innovative, seasonal dishes. After ten years at Gotham, Portale's excellence has won him many awards, including being named "Best Chef In New York" in 1993, and in 1994 his restaurant was nominated as "Restaurant of the Year" by the James Beard Foundation.


    • Tom: (referring to Sara M.'s dish) That was Chicken Don King.

      While not exactly the most apt allusion, Tom is reffering to the over the top boxing promoter Don King, who is most famous for his "Buckwheat" style hairdo.

    • In the graphics for different chefs' dishes, crawfish are also called crayfish. Both spellings are commonly used, but they were given the name crawfish first, by American naturalist Thomas Say in 1817.

    • Bahamian "Sky Juice" which Micah pairs with her conch has no set recipe. It can range from a very simple half and half mixture of gin and coconut water to a more tourist oriented drink of one part gin, one part rum, two parts coconut water and a bit of sweetened condensed milk to create a more rich, creamy texture.

    • As Hung rushes over to his stove during the QuickFire Challenge, he let's out a "Wub, wub, wub", just like Curly of The Three Stooges.