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Top Chef Canada, Season 2, Episode 2 (spoilers)

chefhound Mar 20, 2012 09:43 AM

I can't do a blow-by-blow recap a la LindaWhit but here's a very brief summary.

The Mike Holmes episode. I'm a fan of Mike Holmes but is he really the best judge in a culinary competition?

Quickfire: The contestants have to prepare a dish for Mike Holmes (he's a meatetarian) using construction tools only. They are not allowed to use anything in their knife kits. Some pretty scary scenarios where quite a few of the chefs look like they're going saw off a finger or two.

Mike doesn't appear to like the raw fish offerings. And he doesn't like fruit. The top dishes: Pork chop, chicken salad sandwich and onion veloute with chorizo.
And the onion soup with chorizo of Gabriell wins and he wins immunity.

Elimination: They draw knives and are organized into 3 groups. The chefs have to cook for 100 people at a Habitat for Humanity work site.
The teams are: Team Green: Gabriell, David, Elizabeth, Jonathan and Carl. Team Red: Trista, Sarah, Jimmy, Sergio and Curtis. Team Yellow: Trevor, Xavier, Ryan, Joel and Kunal.

The Green team wins. The Yellow team loses. The winner is Elizabeth with Chipotle barbecue chicken, apple slaw and lavender lemonade. The loser is Kunal with his harissa yogurt marinated barbeque pork on a tortilla "flatbread".

Random thoughts:
I'm sad that Kunal is gone. I had hopes for him to make it to the end. He made such a strong start.

Shopping at McEwan? The stuff is a bit pricey there. They usually have a restrictive budget, might make it difficult to serve large numbers of people.

Corn with bacon butter? Sounds pretty delicious!

Points for making fresh tortillas, Team Green.

Joel, please stop saying "Rad"!

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    marcopolo RE: chefhound Mar 20, 2012 10:40 AM

    Yup, Mike's not a big sushi fan. Is that a surprise? seriously chefs, know your audience - the guy was pretty upfront about being a meat and potatoes guy. and they've got 40 minutes for the quickfire (which i think is an eternity in top chef) and 3 chefs still choose a carpaccio/sushi/raw preperation? lazy. Well, maybe not lazy, but I expect more from top chef contestants, TC Canada or otherwise.

    also, when everyone was trying out bandanas, did trista call herself a chickenhead in the moment? i think i'd regret that, lol.

    Pretty impressed with the red and green teams' food. It was also pretty obvious kunal was going home. not much suspense in this episode. Still, worth it if only to oggle lisa ray on the construction site.

    2 Replies
    1. re: marcopolo
      cellophane_star RE: marcopolo Mar 20, 2012 12:41 PM

      I can't believe they made fish carpaccio for Mike Holmes after he said "I like steak & potatoes". Duh. That delicate salad they showed first looked so great but it was the opposite of what their "customer" asked for.

      Can't wait for the baby shower episode next week.

      1. re: cellophane_star
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        piccola RE: cellophane_star Mar 20, 2012 06:37 PM

        I thought the same thing - especially since they had so much time! Although it's funny, Holmes really came around to the fish during the elimination challenge...

        I actually thought Xavier would be sent home, given the dessert curse. Anyway, I'm glad to see the ladies represent.

        And I'd really like to see a recipe for that veggie chili!

    2. toutefrite RE: chefhound Mar 20, 2012 08:44 PM

      I just don't even understand Mike Holmes as judge. Qualifications? "I like meat". "Too much garden in my drink". He isn't even entertaining! I agreed with Kunal, the pasta with grain salad? That menu was disjointed!

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        Blueicus RE: chefhound Mar 21, 2012 12:38 AM

        My unnecessary addition to the thread + thoughts:

        I have to admit, for the quickfire I too made a semi-raw preparation of meat, in this case veal (which you can see in the TCC episode 2 quickfire gallery). I also admit that 40 minutes ended up being a lot of time so I kept adding on more and more components when I realized I had the time to spare. Mike Holmes is no more qualified or unusual a judge than most of the other non-chef celebrities that have graced the top chef kitchen... at least we weren't being judged by the Real Housewives of Toronto.

        As for the elimination challenge, after watching the judges' reactions to our food I realized part of the reason why I was practically invisible: I'm embarrassed to admit that I took quite a back seat on the whole challenge and ended up being the general prep guy and in particular helped out with the rib sauce, salad, and cutting a whole lot of mirepoix in various shapes in sizes.

        In my heart I also sorta agreed with what Kunal said on the confessional and I really wasn't all that jazzed about the menu I was helping to serve, at least from a competition point of view. Pasta Bolognese just didn't seem quite right for a BBQ, the corn seemed too simple, the salad looked too grey and the ribs were decent but ultimately I could still pick things about it. However, when you're in a competitive environment it's easy to pick apart a perfectly competent entry and turn victory into defeat by completely overthinking it, I'm just fortunate it didn't hurt me in this instance.

        Ultimately it may lead you to ask "Why didn't I speak up?" Perhaps I'm just not assertive enough, but I went into the stew room with the distinct feeling that we could end up on the bottom and if that happened I would've promptly been kicked off the show for not really being responsible for anything (the iced tea technically wasn't even my idea, it was Sergio's... though it was a fantastic iced tea and I ended up drinking a whole lot of it, especially on a day as sunny and hot as that one).

        However, we weren't on the bottom and my fears were entirely unfounded... and realizing that I would be around to cook another day I learned a very important lesson.

        And kudos to the green team, I thought their spread looked fantastic and they thoroughly deserved to win.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Blueicus
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          ElizabethS RE: Blueicus Apr 4, 2012 11:27 AM

          Thanks for posting here - I have a question if you can address it. Obviously when you watch TC the first people/team called are the top dishes....is this shot out of sequence so that the contestants are in suspense longer?

          1. re: ElizabethS
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            Blueicus RE: ElizabethS Apr 5, 2012 07:47 AM

            As a contestant you generally have a lot of time to second-third-fourth guess yourself and the motivations of everybody around you. All I know is that they like to switch up the order of calling top/bottom, probably just to keep us guessing. Note in the third episode they called the bottom first.

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          Blueicus RE: chefhound Mar 21, 2012 12:41 AM

          Re: chefhound about the prices at McEwan's? They are expensive.

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            Maximilien RE: chefhound Mar 23, 2012 04:55 PM

            I'd be insulted if someone (like a judge) laughed at me because I liked salmon at a BBQ; not everyone if a meat and potato person.

            shameful.

            All gazpacho I've had in Spain was smooth and tasted simple (I don't remember if the TCC guy put in bread and vinegar ?)

            Other than that, Montreal's guy still there (I think, I don't remember seeing him in the show), and nothing really spectacular.

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