This week's "throwback" episode of Top Chef Seattle brings us drama, beef, a pair of pissed off glasses, a foot rub, a tightly wound mustache, mushrooms, and a double elimination.
Immediately following Kuniko Yagi's Turkeypocalypse elimination, John "my forehead needs glasses" Tesar disses Kuniko's raw potatoes. He says, "You can do potatoes in your sleep as a chef." John's negativity puts everyone on the defense.
C.J. Jacobson is like, Dude, why you gotta do this while we're
pretending to be sad about Kuniko going home? John is like, She had five hours to taste those potatoes! And, by the way, you're full of s**t right now. Feeling left out in Seattle, Josh "my mustache is twisty" Valentine tells John that he doesn't have any tact, and then this happens:
Glasses: And Oklahoma has a lot of tact?
Mustache: You’re an a**hole.
Glasses: Thank you.
Mustache: Don’t f***ing say another word to me. There’s a reason you’re the most hated chef. It’s cause you’re a prigg. (does he say prigg or prick?)
Glasses: I’m not a prick. (Ah, prigg is Oklahoman for prick.. filing that away for future reference. John and Josh fail Communication 101.) I’m truthful.
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Mustache: How many restaurants have you opened and failed? Walked away from? Not show up for events? That’s why you’re an a**hole.
Glasses: What are you talking about, man? You’re making up s**t up like a blogger. You’re pretending to have balls, but you don’t have balls.
What was that? Obviously, Josh's mustache is wound too tight and John lives up to his "most hated chef in Dallas" reputation.
You like my twisty mustache?
The next morning, the chefs' penthouse is full of tension. Stefan Richter says, "I feel like the Real Housewives of Seattle." Cute name; however, I vote for Top Asshats of Seattle. Out of nowhere, Stefan and Kristen Kish are flirting. Stefan gives Kristen a foot rub. Are the chefs actually going to cook anything in this episode?
Padma Lakshmi and Top Chef Masters' Naomi Pomeroy introduce the Quickfire challenge. The chefs have one hour to butcher a cut of beef and prepare a dish with it.
While Sheldon Simeon attacks the beef "like a madman," Josie Malave and Carla Pellegrino barely get the large piece of meat to the butcher's table. Despite several chefs' extensive experience with meat, C.J. toots his own horn, saying he's the best chef in the kitchen. Tyler Wiard looks, sounds, and acts like Winnie the Pooh's Eeyore. He's like, I'm in funk. My Thanksgiving gumbo was bad. Oh bother. Josh, one of the meat experts, makes meatballs… even I can make meatballs! Carla gives Stefan a headache.
Eliza Gavin – grilled flank steak with cherry cognac reduction, asparagus and potato cake. Padma says the asparagus and cherry combo is interesting. John – braised oxtail, potato gnocchi with roasted vegetables and celery. Naomi is impressed by the tenderness of John's meat. (For the sake of this "classy show" blog, I will be ignoring all the big meat, juicy meat, let me taste your meat jokes.) C.J. wrinkles up his nose at Naomi's compliment for John. Josh – beef meatballs with creamy polenta and pickled shallots. Naomi likes the amount of acid.
Sheldon – Kalbi round streak with tomato cardamom broth and fennel salad. Good flavors. Brooke Williamson – grilled hangar steak with smoked onion figs and cauliflower puree. Hanger is Naomi's favorite. She thinks Brooke's is a little too rare. Tyler Ward – Hispanic crude with charred tomato sauce and cilantro radish slaw. Padma simply asks Eeyore how he prepared the meat. Oh bother. That's probably not a good sign. Kristen – top sirloin tartare with mustard sabayon and carpaccio salad. Kristen admits that she took whatever meat she could get her hands on… and winged it from there.
Micah Fields – oxtail polenta with truffled Romanesco cauliflower. Great job. Carla – siroin medallion wrapped in bacon, Asiago risotto with Marsala sauce. Naomi says the sauce is nice. Stefan – braised top round ravioli with marjoram and aged parmesan. Flavors are nice. C.J. – top round tartare, raw juniper and kohlrabi. More nice. Chrissy Camba – grilled hangar steak with brown butter, parsley and radish salad. Downward stares, no comments. Lizzie Binder – braised fore shank with turnips and dill. Naomi tells Lizzie that the meat could have used more time in the cooker.
The Quickfire losers are Lizzie, Eliza, and Tyler. Lizzie's shank was too tough. Eliza's asparagus and cherry combo did not work. Naomi tells Tyler that his dish was under seasoned. Tyler eeyores, "I can't do anything right."
Naomi decides that C.J., John, and Josh served the best Quickfire dishes. C.J.'s knife cuts were perfect. Naomi tells John that his sauce was lovely. And, last but not least, Josh's meatballs were great.
John wins the Quickfire challenge and earns immunity.
Why does Stefan's food taste like Kristen's feet?
The challenge: Revive the original 1950 menu from Canlis restaurant. The winner of this challenge wins $10,000… and escapes the double elimination. Eeyore is like, Oh bother. A double elimination. Brian and Mark Canlis join Tom Colicchio, Emeril Lagasse, Hugh Acheson, and Naomi at the judges' table.
Stefan likes the challenge. About 1950's food, he says, "There's no frou frou, no fraa fraa, no B.S." Stefan takes the lead, assigning the menu items. Kristen and Carla are both unhappy with their dishes. Danyelle McPherson and Eliza request desserts. John, Josh, and C.J. continue to butt heads. Stefan's advice to all, "Be creative but don't go crazy pants." John reasons, he knows a lot about 1950's food because he ate food as a kid. Josh prepares French onion soup despite being from Oklahoma, where they eat bull testicles. Yuck.
Tyler – fresh crab leg cocktail. Padma says it's great. Brian thinks Tyler nailed the "time period." Lizzie – marinated herring. Naomi says this is her favorite dish so far. Tom says the herring are nicely marinated. Josh – French onion soup. Hugh says, "There are some issues with Josh's soup… salty, cold." Mark says, "It's not guest-friendly."
John – steamed clams Bordelaise. Overall, very good. Chrissy – special Canlis salad. Emeril says the salad is so over dressed, the croutons are soggy. Padma and Hugh both think it needs more mint. Brooke – seafood salad a la Louis. Hugh thinks Brooke's salad looks like something from a magazine back in the day.
Sheldon – fresh Hawaiian mahi mahi. The Canlis brothers love the mahi mahi. Naomi says the sauce is nice. Tom points out a little bloodline left on the fish. Carla – whole milk-fed squab. Padma loves the sauce on the squab. Tom says it's not boned properly. Naomi thinks it's overcooked. Micah – mixed vegetables. Hugh doesn't like Micah's veggies.
Stefan – calf's liver and Kristen's French fried onions. The liver is nicely cooked and nicely seasoned. Kristen's onion rings are perfect. Bart Vandaele – double cut New York steak. Emeril says the steak is okay, seasoned well. Naomi takes issue with how it’s cut. Josie – Gargantuan baked Idaho potato. Padma would have liked to see more oil on the skin of the potato. C.J. – shish kebab with pilaf. Hugh thinks C.J.'s kebab is under seasoned, the lamb is mealy. Tom says it's soggy. Kristen – French mushrooms. The mushrooms are a big hit!
Danyele – vanilla ice cream and Royal Hawaiian Supreme. Eliza – mint sherbet and fresh frozen Hawaiian pineapple parfait. Overall, the judges find the desserts to be acceptable. While Naomi likes the Hawaiin Supreme the most, Mark prefers the vanilla ice cream.
Lizzie, Kristen,Tyler, and Stefan face the judges. Padma tells this group that they served the best dishes. Hugh compliments Tyler's crab, saying "It was such a traditional, beautiful rendition of that crab." Lizzie's dish was well-balanced. Emeril tells Stefan that his liver was perfect.
Kristen wins. Kristen says, "Winning $10,000 for onions and mushrooms is a huge surprise. In the end, it proves that as long as I do it well, I don't need to over think what I do." Stefan is super happy for his crush Kristen.
This week's bottom four are Carla, Chrissy, C.J., and Josh. All of the judges agree that Josh's soup was way too salty. Tom also tells Josh that his soup was cold. Josh blames John, their "monkey" expediter. The Canlis brothers absolutely hate Chrissy's salad. Tom says it's missing lemon and mint. While Naomi thinks Carla's squab was unforgivable, Padma feels as if C.J.'s lamb was the worst dish.
Carla admits she barely tasted her food, to make sure it was right, which annoys the judges. Tom tells C.J. that his dish was under seasoned. Emeril adds, "It was very dry. I didn't get any of the marinade. The lemon juice, the oils, the herbs… I didn't get any of that stuff. I really didn't want to eat it."
Chrissy and Carla are both eliminated.
Chrissy says, "I can't get sent home on something as stupid as a salad. I know how to make a salad! It's very depressing." Carla cries, "It is a game that I wasn't playing. I'm not good at games, I don't even play cards."
Last Chance Kitchen: Eliminated chefs compete for a chance to get back into the competition. The winner of the final battle will re-enter the competition and compete for the Top Chef grand prize. The first episode of Last Chance Kitchen (shown on bravotv.com) features Jeffrey, Kuniko, Carly, and Chrissy.
Observation: Two of the quickfire top were in the elimination challenge bottom four and two of the quickfire bottom were in the elimination challenge top four. Also, Jeffrey got raves reviews in week 1 and was eliminated in week 2. Kuniko won the elmination challenge in week 2 and was eliminated in week 3. Carla won the elimination challenge in week 3 and was eliminated this week. Will Kristen be eliminated next week?
TELL US – WHO ARE YOU ROOTING FOR? DO YOU LIKE THE ADDITION OF LAST CHANCE KITCHEN?
BATTLE OF THE ASSHATS: TEAM MUSTACHE OR TEAM GLASSES?
Photo credit: Bravo