Top Chef

Season 3 Episode 2

Sunny Delights

Aired Wednesday 10:00 PM Jun 20, 2007 on Bravo
out of 10
User Rating
24 votes

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Episode Summary

Tonight's theme is sunshine, and first the contestants must use a product of that sunshine, citrus. Then they are asked to demonstrate their catering skills at an event which requires sunshine, a gourmet BBQ party. Guest Chef: Norman Van Aken QuickFire Challenge: Create a Dish Using Florida Citrus Kingsford Elimination Challenge: Create an Upscale BBQ Dish Round Twomoreless

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  • The chefs are thrown a curveball - instead of being shocked by crazy proteins, they're given the "simple" tasks of preparing citrus and an upscale barbecue.

    I was quite impressed by this episode’s guest chef, although reading some of the blogs at, it seems as if some found his commentary on the harsh side. Remembering some of the guest judges from seasons past, who seemed to relish the opportunity to pick on others, I thought that Norman van Aken gave honest constructive criticism without being overly critical. Watching this episode I started to think about the editing, and a level of distrust arose within me. Obviously, when there are fourteen contestants and this week there will only be one winner and one person sent home, there needs to be some selective editing to show the highlights, especially as they relate to those two individuals. I wonder, though, if other individuals are fairly portrayed as characters in the drama (for example Hung, Joey, and Micah). There are always the protests that it’s “all about the food,” and perhaps from the judging standpoint this is true, but not from a television producers’ perspective. I just wonder when you hear comments like Hung’s callous remark about Micah not truly missing her daughter, or the way in which Joey reacted to Hung’s “stealing” – was there something that couldn’t fit into the editing? What if Joey and Hung had a conversation about said watermelon drink, which would be the only way I think I could side with Joey? It would put a different spin on the situation than what is now presented.

    The kiss of death at eliminations has to be when one of the chefs standing before the judges admits that they don’t understand why they are standing there. Last week, Clay tried to say that he stood behind his dish but then backed down; this week, Sandee replied to one of Gail’s questions that she was “astonished” to be standing there. While those were both probably honest statements, and the chefs probably had good reason to say them, I think there comes a time in everyone’s life when it is necessary to sling the bull. For example, when writing college papers... Or, in a situation more relevant to the task at hand, when one knows that s/he is one of the bottom four chefs in a challenge.

    Obviously this means that there was something wrong with one’s dish – as no one is perfect, maybe it would be beneficial to go ahead and admit SOMETHING that went wrong. If Sandee had said something – maybe, that her water took too long to boil – not something that the judges had in mind when calling her out, I doubt that it would do anything than give her some points. Last week the judges were impressed at how humble (well, to various extents) and loquacious the chefs were in defending themselves (I’m especially remembering Dale here). Unless the admission is that the chef actually cheated while preparing the dish, I don’t think that recognizing a mistake made would ever count against someone in the judge’s deliberation. Rather, admitting that one feels “astonished” to be in the bottom four seems to imply a lack of understanding either in the challenge or in cooking – neither being things a cheftestant probably wants the judges to know.moreless
  • Another great installment and all my favorites are still there.

    This is the 2nd episode from Top Chef and I was looking for more people's personality to come in this. My favorites are still basically Tre & Hung. Hung won immunity from being eliminated by winning the quickfire. So he was safe. I love his energy in the kitchen, but Tre end up in the bottom line up in the end, but thankfully he got to stay. Some other personalities flared up during this episode. Namely Joey, who was blaming people for this and that. Even if someone steals your idea, my opinion is that you better make sure you do better than the next person and have a better recipe or @ least cook it better. Stop complaining about it. I don't think he really had any reason to say something to other guy about anything. With Joey its seem to be New York this and New York that. The best female cooks seems to be between Micah and Sara with Sara being my favorite. Surprisingly, in the end Sandee went home who really didn't stick out all that much out of all the people. I think she overshot her goal and although she went upscale with her dish, she didn't do barbecue which was a major part of the challenge. So she went home basically for cooking the wrong thing.moreless
  • Fun in the Sun!

    My early observations are as follows. This group seems more laid back in the early going. There seems to be more "professionals" then before. The good chefs are good, the others are mediocre at best. If I were to hazard a guess at this time, it would be that if Haung does not misstep he could win it all. I was thinking Tre, but he kind of got ahead of himself, and I am not sure that that will not happen again.

    I like Howie (the big lug), I just can't believe that he overcooked the pork. Joey is playing the arrogant New Yorker and it really bugs the crap out of me. If he stays around, he needs to tone that act down.moreless
  • Hung wins the quickfire challenge, Sandee is eliminated after an outdoor "gourmet barbecue" challenge.

    A pretty decent episode, overall. The twist of being outdoors and next to the water gave the episode some flare. The guest judge was very honest and critical- during the quickfire, almost nobody slipped by without some complaint. Hung and Joey were especially annoying this episode. Hung rushed around, breaking glasses and insulting others behind their backs ("don't use your daughter as an excuse for crying", about Mikah to the camera). Joey, on the other hand, kept blaming other contestants. First, he criticized Hung for "stealing" his watermelon recipe, and then placed Howie as the one to be eliminated, even though he had never tasted Howie's dish. This episode was, on the whole, okay: not perfect, but interesting enough to keep me watching next week.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (4)

    • QuickFire Dishes Shown:

      • C.J. – Pan Seared Sea Perch, Carrots, Radicchio, Oranges & Hazelnuts
      • Casey – Play on S'Mores with Vanilla/Tequila Cream, Blood Orange & Key Lime
      • Sandee – Trio of Citrus: Key Lime Mojito, Grapefruit Brûlée with Shrimp, Citrus Encrusted Sea Bass
      • Micah – spicy Avocado Citrus Soup with Red Grapefruit
      • Lia – Crab Salad with Sourdough Croutons & Grapefruit Vinaigrette
      • Dale – Citrus Salad with Watercress, Endive, Fennel, Lemon Poppyseed & Goat Cheese
      • Sara N. – Blood Orange & Tangelo Citrus Salad with Shrimp, Honey Tangerine Vinaigrette
      • Hung – Slow Roasted Sea Bass, Citrus Crumble, Watercress & Radish Salad
      • Tre – Raw King Salmon with Macadamia Nut Pesto, Coriander Seared Salmon & Fuji Apple Salad
      • Howie – Vanilla Butter Poached Lobster tail & Citrus Salad
      • Brian – Alaskan Halibut with Blood Orange & Pomegranate Molasses
      • Joey – Fennel Salad with Blood Oranges, Watermelon & Grand Marnier Shooter

    • Elimination Challenge Dishes Shown:

      • Camille – Grilled Swordfish with Chorizo & Artichoke Potato Salad
      • Micah – Lamb with Grilled Halloumi & Pomegranate Sauce
      • Lia – Lettuce Wrap with Grilled Shrimp & Couscous Salad
      • Casey – Strip Steak, Polenta, Bacon Wrapped Shrimp with Tomato Salad
      • C.J. – N.Y. Steak with Salt Baked Pineapple, Lentil Purée & Dirty Rice
      • Sara N. – Vietnamese BBQ with Pine Nuts, Radish & Cucumber Salad
      • Brian – Scallops, Shrimp & Sea Bass Sausage with Ginger Slaw & Chili Glaze
      • Tre – Peach BBQ Glazed Salmon with Crab Avocado Salad
      • Sandee – Vanilla Poached Lobster, Pancetta Wrapped Date & Truffle Slaw
      • Howie – Jamaican Jerk Pork, Mango Slaw with Citrus Vinaigrette
      • Joey – Korean BBQ Chicken with Charred Corn, Tofu & Bean Sprout Salad
      • Hung – Flank Steak with Grilled Corn Salad & Bagel Chips

    • The top three for the QuickFire Challenge are C.J., Hung and Tre, Hung wins and is awarded immunity. The bottom three are Sara N., Sandee and Micah.

    • Sandee is sent home, and Brian wins the Elimination Challenge.

  • QUOTES (5)

    • Sara N.: (at the meat counter with a budget of $200) Could I get 20lbs of ribeye.
      Hung: (overhearing her) Ooo, 20lbs? 20 times $10 is $200.

    • Sandee: (before the second set of challenges) This is totally 'Chef Camp'. I'm here to learn, and in two nights I've learned more than I've learned in a year.

    • Casey: (as they leave the penthouse) Alright guys, let's go cue some barbecue!

    • Tom: (after his walk-through to check the contestants) Sandee's taking dates and wrapping it in pancetta; she's also poaching some lobster with vanilla butter, which really doesn't utilize the barbecue. I don't understand the place that it has right now. It's like putting lipstick on a pig.

    • Gail: (critiquing Tre's food) Well Tom, didn't you even mention at one point that when you had spoken with Tre…
      Tom: Oh, he said he could do it in his sleep.
      Gail: Well, maybe not.
      Tre: Maybe a bad nightmare.

  • NOTES (4)

    • International Airdates:
      Australia – May 28, 2008 on Arena

    • When introducing Chef Norman Van Aken she says that he has restaurants in Orlando, Miami, and Key West. But Van Aken has since shut down his Coral Gables (Miami) location. He continues to focus on his location in Orlando, and has become involved in several new restaurants in Key West hotels which are scheduled to open later in 2007.

    • Padma mentions in her blog that Howie made a vanilla butter poached lobster tail with blood orange citrus salad for his QuickFire dish, which is quite similar in some regards to the dish that got Sandee sent home in the Elimination Challenge!

    • Guest Judge Norman Van Aken is owner of the award-winning restaurant Norman's in the Coral Gables section of Miami. Conde Nast called it one of "The Top Ten Restaurants in the United States." He has been dubbed the "Father of New World Cuisine" and for his lifelong contributions to the culture of his region was selected by The St. Petersburg Times as "one of the 25 people who mattered the most in Florida's history." He is also one of the only chefs in America to have won "The James Beard Award," "The Robert Mondavi Award," and "The Food Arts Silver Spoon." He is the author of three cookbooks including the Julia Child/IACP nominated Norman's New World Cuisine. He has appeared on Good Morning America, CBS This Morning and Emeril Live among others. His culinary philosophy is "to create a marriage of the sensual and rustic with the classic and intellectual in a celebration of the various places we live."


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