'Top Chef' recap: Brilliant Disguise

tom-colicchio-padma-lakshmi-top-chef-dc-320.jpg The "Top Chef" Quickfire Challenge: Create a dish with the contents of a mystery box. The cheftestants start with one box, and then more mystery boxes arrive as they continue cooking, and the ingredients must be incorporated. The first box contains rockfish, fava beans and an unlabeled can of hominy. The next box arrives containing squid and black garlic. The third box arrives, and it contains ramps and passion fruit. The fourth box has jicama. In the end, judge Wylie Dufresne decides that Alex and Amanda had the least successful dishes. The tops are Tiffany and Kevin, and the ultimate winner is Tiffany, who gets $10,000.

Elimination Challenge: Cook at the CIA and create a new identity for a classic dish. In addition to Tom, Padma, Ripert and Wylie, they are joined by a bunch of CIA people, including director Leon Panetta. And then Panetta is passed a note in the middle of dinner and has to leave, which is the all-time pimp move. Here's what they did:

Angelo had Beef Wellington, and he made tartlets topped with slivers of beef. He talked about making it look like a mini-pizza, but I don't see it. The big scandal was that he used pre-made puff pastry instead of making his own. The judges take note.

Kelly had kung pao shrimp, and made spicy shrimp broth with rice and Szechuan shrimp tempura. Tom likes the flavors, and the CIA people like it as well.

Tiffany had a gyro, and she made roasted leg of lamb with smoky eggplant, tomatoes, and pickled onions. Eric Ripert thinks it's elegant.

Kevin had Cobb salad, and he made romaine lettuce, tomato, bacon, Roquefort, avocado, cucumber and turkey. So he basically just took all the ingredients and served them kind of separately. It's sort of deconstructed, I guess?

Amanda had French onion soup, and she made consommé with oxtail marmalade, caramelized onions and shaved gruyere. It seems a bit obvious, and while they like the idea of the marmalade, the execution is far too sweet.

Alex had veal Parmesan, and he made veal and Parmigiano cheese tortelloni with tomato sauce and tempura cheese. Everyone immediately discovers that the meat is really tough. Ripert remarks that there should have been less disguise and a better dish.

Ed had chicken cordon bleu, and he made roasted chicken breast, ham and cheese croquette, and a spring onion soubise. The judges like the flavors but don't think it's disguised well enough ...

Photo credit: Bravo