Welcome to Cosentino Watch, where we recap the moves of San Francisco chef Chris Cosentino as he competes in Top Chef Masters. Warning: Spoilers ahead.
Episode 6 is called "Thai One On," but thankfully it's not a full hour of puns. It's the first time all season we get to see host Curtis Stone turn red and lose his composure, but most mere mortals would do the same at the sight of burlesque queen Dita Von Teese, who appears for the Quickfire Challenge. Chefs have 30 minutes to create a sexy aphrodisiac dish for her.
Von Teese seems pleased with Cosentino's presentation of foie gras and figs in a rose, fig, and Champagne sauce, but she ultimately declares her love for another: Takashi Yagahashi wins the Quickfire Challenge for the second week in a row with a "slippery and sexy" oyster dish. We have visions of Cosentino battling Yagahashi in the final round, but we'll see what happens.
The chefs are thrilled to hear that their Elimination Challenge requires some research by eating lunch at famed Thai restaurant Lotus of Siam, but they seem scared witless about only having a day to create and open their own Thai restaurant. Lunch at Lotus of Siam inspires Cosentino to push himself with his Thai dish, and he says he's going to prepare something cold.
He takes the flavors of larb (a spicy Thai meat salad) and presents them with a 21-day aged sirloin tartare. Lotus of Siam chef Saipin Chutima says in Thai (her daughter translates) that his larb is very American and it's okay, but Thai larb is very different. But regular judge Francis Lam loves it, saying, "it was restrained, but really smart."
As the chefs await their fate, Cosentino admits that the Elimination Challenge took them "completely out of their comfort zone." Yet despite Chutima's opinion, Cosentino wins the challenge and another $10,000 for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research, bringing his financial total to date up to $26,000.
"Pretty shocked to find out I won," he says. "Winning $10,000 today, that's huge and that's gonna help a lot of people!"
The judges decide that it's Art Smith's time to go, even though judge James Oseland appreciated that he "threw Southern jazz hands on a Thai dish." We expect a flood of tears, but he takes his loss in stride. We get a little verklemft as he hugs his friend and faux adversary Cosentino goodbye.
The preview for next week's episode looks tense. Cosentino says, "Anything can send me home at this point. Anything," and he looks sad. Say it ain't so!