In the last episode of Top Chef: D.C. that takes place in said city, the stakes were high as this Elimination Challenge would determine who goes on to the finale, each of the five remaining chefs vying for one of the four tickets to Singapore.
The Quickfire was surprisingly not hokey this episode, the chefs having to choose a red wine and pair it with a dish to be judged by Food & Wine Editor Dana Cowin. Okay, so maybe it wasn't the most arduous challenge for most of them, but it must have been pretty daunting having to do a pairing for Dana. And even though I love Tiffany, making a big steak and pairing it with a big red wine is a big cop out.
Goddard Space Flight Center was the scene for the Elimination, the challenge: to make a meal fit for an astronaut — and able to be freeze dried. This conjured up memories of class field trips to the science center and chowing down on freeze dried Neapolitan ice cream and spicy "space fries".
Goddard's resident food scientist (the love child of Jaws from The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker) gives them the guidelines for making space food: go low on the sugar, big pieces of food don't freeze dry well and the astronauts like spicy/heavily spices foods. The chefs then disregarded the part about keeping the food in smaller pieces, cooking large pieces of meat and fish. Two outta three ain't bad, though, right? What gets me is that they didn't make the chef'testants freeze dry their food to see if it would so so successfully.