Last week on Top Chef Seattle, we endured Tuna Gate and Rockin' Josie. While Kristen Kish scored a double win, Danyele McPherson was eliminated for constantly falling short.
This week, instead of personally introducing the quickfire challenge, Padma Lakshmi and Emeril Lagasse leave a note. The note directs the chefs to take three Toyotas (ohh! ahh!) to Taylor Shellfish Farm.
When Josie Malave gets stuck in quicksand, Micah Fields and Stefan Richter come to her rescue. I don't know why. She's super annoying, nobody can stand her, and proving to be impossible to eliminate. Overall, the chefs are excited to harvest fresh oysters. They take their time, enjoying every second of the experience and slurping up fresh oysters as they go.
The challenge: the chefs must prepare an oyster dish for Emeril. In the kitchen, there are five red aprons and five blue aprons. Red aprons will prepare hot dishes and the blue aprons will prepare cold dishes. The winner gets $5000.
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Kristen – Hot – oysters with caramelized honey tomato broth, celery leaves, and chili. Emeril likes the celery leaf on top. Stefan – Cold – smoked oysters with potato vinaigrette and flash frozen salt. Emeril says there's a nice crunch.
Josh Valentine – Cold – oysters with pickled cucumbers, white soy, cilantro, and red chili. Josh's oysters aren't shucked very well. Lizzie Binder – Cold – oysters with crushed currant juice, crushed pink peppercorn. Emeril appreciates the final drizzle of olive oil.
Brooke Williamson – Cold – oysters with salsa verde, cilantro, horseradish, and red chili. Once again, Emeril deals with poorly shucked oysters. John Tesar – Hot – oysters poached in garlic butter with Swiss chard and garlic-Parmesan foam. John does the foam, hoping to lighten up the cheese, and Padma thinks it was a wise choice.
Josie – Hot – wood-roasted oysters with chorizo and cilantro cream. Emeril says there's a nice balance with the chorizo – it doesn't over-power the dish. Micah – Hot – crispy fried oysters with arugula salad, hot sauce, and lemon. Micah idolizes Emeril. He compares this challenge to Moses meeting God. Emeril likes the seasoning.
Bart Vandaele – Hot – oysters with Champagne, butter, and cream. Padma questions how Bart roasted the oysters. Sheldon Simeon – Cold – oysters with chilled Old Bay broth and ginger scallion pesto. Emeril says there's a little hint of ginger – it's nice.
In the end, Bart, Josie, and John fail the challenge. The butter and cream in Bart's dish overpowered the oysters, Josie's sauce was broken, and John's dish needs some pop.
The best dishes came from Lizzie, Micah, and Brooke. To Lizzie, Emeril says, "When I first looked at the color, I was like, where are we going with this thing? I loved how you took a chance with those berries. It was delicious." Emeril commends Micah for taking a risk. Emeril tells Brooke that the many flavors in her salsa verde were delicious and didn't take away from the flavor of the oyster. I'm surprised he put Brooke's dish in the winning category considering the poor shuck job.
Emeril gives the win to Micah. He wins $5,000 (there's no immunity this week).
When Padma announces that the chefs will be cooking for the most exciting sports team in Seattle, the
Seahawks Rat City Roller Girls roll into the kitchen. Really? The most exciting team in Seattle? I had no idea roller derby was even a thing anymore.
Lizzie immediately fears she's going to have to cook on roller skates… that remains to be seen. For now, Padma asks the cheftestants to form teams of two. Stefan immediately puts his arm around his girl Kristen. John invites Brooke to work with him. Lizzie and Micah form a team, as do Josh and Sheldon. Bart gets stuck with Josie.
Each team must prepare a dish inspired by the Roller Girls' names: Terriyaki Terror, Jalapeño Business, Eddie Shredder, Kutta Rump, and Tempura Tantrum. Emeril asks for bold dishes. Hoping to inspire the chefs, the Roller Girls invite them to their next game. And Josie is beyond obnoxious at the game. When Stefan shushes her, Josie swears, calls the other chefs boring, and walks away.
Back at the condo, Josie lies down for a nap. Her fanatic scream did look exhausting. The other chefs take the opportunity to talk about her. Josh calls her loud and obnoxious. Micah says her words are "unimportant."
Turns out, Josie's not asleep. Oops. She jumps off the couch, saying, "If we have some panties in a bunch because I said you guys are so boring… is everyone so sensitive about that?" Micah simply says there's no need to call anyone names. Josie insists she never called anyone a name and adds, "This tree right here, you don't want to bark up, Micah! This right here, knows what she is. You are hiding in a closet!” Walking away, Josie adds, "F*** you, a**hole." Micah raises an eyebrow and mockingly introduces himself to the group as a gay man living in a closet.
The chefs have 2 1/2 hours to prepare their dishes at the roller rink, though not on roller skates (bummer). Just a reminder… Bart has the unfortunate task of working with Josie. Bart urges "Juicy" to let go of the drama and focus on what's important – the food. Josie pours her Mexican/Filipino/Italian heritage into her teriyaki sauce. To each their own, I guess, but those influences don't scream teriyaki to me. When Bart tastes it, he doesn't look sold. Also, Josie isn't impressed with Bart's rice. I have a feeling this isn't going to end well for one of them.
Despite her early reservations, Brooke works well with John. John shares a sad story about losing custody of his daughter when she was just a baby… and adds that Brooke reminds him of her. He's touched that Brooke takes the time to understand him.
John and Brooke – Kutta Rump – Thai beef with lobster jasmine rice and Thai slaw. Hugh says, "The flavors will really build well … This is definitely bold." According to Kutta Rump, it starts nice and then gets spicy.
Bart and Josie – Teriyaki Terror – steak teriyaki with forbidden rice, beet blood, and green papaya salad. Teriyaki Terror says it's unique… unique crappy. The rice is a complete miss. Padma says it's overcooked; Emeril says it's under seasoned.
Lizzie and Micah – Jalapeño Business – crab-stuffed jalapeño with avocado cream, onion, and pepper relish. Hugh admits it's better than he expected it to be. Tom likes the flavor and the crispiness. Jalapeño Business calls it "elevated party food."
Stefan and Kristen – Eddie Shredder – corn puree, chicken liver, and sunny-side up egg. Emeril says the corn puree is delicious, the liver is cooked perfectly, and the egg is overdone. Tom thinks Stefan and Kristen's dish lacked imagination.
Josh and Sheldon – Tempura Tantrum – tempura yuzu curd with shiso, fresno chili, sweet potato, and vanilla. The custards are meant to be eaten with the many dipping sauces to cause a "tantrum in the mouth." Emeril and Hugh both agree – it's a great idea, but the tempura failed.
Padma calls John and Brooke and Micah and Lizzie to the judges' table. Tom says, "I think you guys did a great job, overall. The flavors were great, they were bold. The things that we asked for, you definitely delivered." Emeril tells Brooke and John everything was cooked perfectly, and he tells Lizzie and Micah that the jalapeño was hot and delicious but not overpowering.
Emeril adds, "People were raving about your dishes. Congratulations."
Hugh announces John and Brooke as the winners.
Brooke says, "Winning doesn't suck. I guess, at the end of the day, our personalities do mesh very well." John says, "I finally won. The third time's a charm.. but it would have been sweeter if I could have won alone." Ouch. Perhaps John cannot win alone… did he think about that?
Josie and Bart and Sheldon and Josh head to the judges' table next. Obviosly, these two teams prepared the worst dishes at the party.
The judges focus on Josie and Bart first. An angered Tom says, "How many times do you guys have to hear this? If something is properly season and something is bland – you put it together, you end up with bland. I don't understand this thought process at all. It makes me nuts."
When the judges turn their attention to Josh and Sheldon, Josh pulls a C.J., asking the judges why the "jalapeño popper concession stand food" was considered a win. Padma says, "Like your dish, there were a lot of risky parts to it. But, in their case, none of those things went wrong. In your case, they did." Tom adds, "The main part of your dish was a disaster."
Tom refers to Bart and Josie's dish as Teriyaki Terrible and sends Bart home.
So, more Josie. Yay.
About his elimination, Bart says, "Seven years and counting, people don't send my food back for under seasoning. Josie talks to the judges and she puts on the Josie show – that's fine. Maybe I didn't push it enough and step out of my comfort zone. If I had more time, I would have done it different. I'm very good. If people didn't like it, that's really, really their problem."
TELL US – DID BART DESERVE TO BE ELIMINATED? WHO WOULD YOU HAVE SENT HOME?
Photo credit: Bravo