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Mar 27, 2012 01:02 PM

Top Chef Canada, Season 2, Episode 3 (spoilers)

The pregnancy episode. A pregnancy-related quickfire and elimination.

Quickfire: The chefs have to draw knives twice to determine which disparate ingredients they have to use to create a dish for the very pregnant Thea Andrews, host of TC Canada Season 1. There's blueberries and cilantro, pickles and peanut butter, durian and white chocolate, oatmeal and wasabi and so on.
The Top 3: Jimmy's wasabi chicken wings with apple, oatmeal wasabi pea sauce; Ryan's black cod with tomato and licorice root; and Sergio's pork tenderloin with dark chocolate foie gras sauce with sage. The winner: Jimmy.

Elimination: The chefs are paired together and have to cater a baby shower for Shereen and Thea. One chef from each team must make a "boy" dish and one chef must make a "girl" dish. The teams: Elizabeth and Ryan; Jonathan and Jimmy; Sarah and Xavier; Carl and Trista; Joel and Sergio; Trevor and Curtis; David and Gabriell.
Elizabeth and Jonathan both made Maple Bacon doughnuts. Hers have potato in them, his were made at the very last minute so they were super fresh.
The Top 4: Trevor's beef tenderloin with confit potatoes and black peppercorn jam; Curtis' pink peppercorn meyer lemon macarons; Jonathan's maple bacon doughnuts; Carl's truffled poached salmon on a potato chip. And the winner is Curtis!
The Bottom 4: Sarah's sweet rice ball with chili chocolate sauce with prosciutto fat, Xavier's goat cheese, fig crispy prosciutto ball, David's cornbread with white chocolate and lemon thyme; Joel's scallop sausage with bacon.
Sarah is sent home.

My thoughts: Surprised that it was Sarah. The way they were talking about Sergio's dish, I was sure he was a goner. I mean, two of the judges couldn't even eat it. Though the ingredients sounded like they could work. Sarah's addition of the prosciutto fat sounded like a bad idea to me. I like prosciutto but sometimes there is a slightly rancid (that's not the right word but I can't think of the word) flavour to prosciutto and lardo type items that would not be a welcome addition to chocolate.
Congratulations to Curtis' winning macaron. Sounds delicious. I though Trevor also had a good chance of winning.
As some others have mentioned on previous threads, they haven't shown the judges tasting all the dishes in the quickfire. I not 100% sure but I think on Top Chef US, they provide a description of each contestant's dish in the quickfire, even though they may not show the judges tasting the dish. I find it frustrating to not even know what each chef has made. I understand if there isn't time to show the tasting of each dish but at least let us know what they made!
Finally, I don't mean to go on about this but I have to say: The elimination challenge was at George, which is in the building they show at every intro, which is my building. That's where I work. Is Top Chef going on all around me? Could I have crashed that baby shower? Got in on a quickfire? I'm going to be on the lookout for next season!

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  1. Did you mean to say you thought Xavier was a goner? I think Mark McEwan said that if you tried to dream up something nastier than his fig ball, you couldn't. I thought he was going home for sure.

    But then I'm not convinced they go by taste alone. There's some politics and TV-worthiness to the judging decisions as well. However, in this case that would have worked against Xavier, because Sarah was the much stronger personality. All in all, an odd choice.

    3 Replies
    1. re: hal2010

      I don't know why Xavier is still there given this week's performance. It seemed that the judges couldn't get his dish downrange. Although, Sarah's "thinking outside the box" meant that hers was a horrible combination, too. As the small print says, all decisions re: elimination are made in conjunction with the producers of the show, so other factors are at work I think. Perhaps it is as simple as thinking that Xavier with his cooking chops would shine later on, whereas Sarah just didn't have the same background i.e. perceived potential.

      1. re: freia

        I was really surprised that they picked her over him. I wonder if it's because she cried -- McEwan seemed to think it meant she couldn't handle the competition.

        On a different note, I really liked the quickfire. It's a fun twist but not too too gimmicky. Though I thought some combos were much easier than others -- tomato and licorice seems like an easy match, given that basil is in the same flavour family.

      2. re: hal2010

        Yes, sorry I meant Xavier. Well, if the judges can't actually get it down, you should go home. Although the combination of flavours didn't sound like they would be bad. Goat cheese, fig and prosciutto don't sound like a bad combo.

      3. I find it hard to believe the goat cheese ball was that bad. Chocolate prosciutto sauce on the other hand... No thanks.

        Loved the macaron. I also have an obsession with them and took a class to learn how to make them.

        1. Another bunch of irreverent observations having both experienced and watched it from a different perspective:

          It's great to win, but it's hard to tell until the name's officially announced. Your mind is simply overwhelmed with doubts, double-doubts, and endless number of stupid thoughts that make you think that you're going to be on the top or on the bottom at any time.

          However, given those doubts I sincerely hoped to win when I found out I was on top. I'll admit, it was one of the 'secret weapons' I had in my arsenal (I admitted as much in the confessionals) and I would've been very disappointed to say the least if it didn't pay off in any tangible way. Then again, I didn't win any actual prize so I suppose it didn't.

          As for the losers, I was never very sure what exactly they made since they were working at the opposite end of the restaurant. Given Sarah's decision to make a sweet arancino with vanilla, chocolate, chili and prosciutto fat (?? maybe she should've just used bacon instead) I'm not surprised she went home; then again, I've never been a fan of rice pudding.

          The 'secret weapon' comment reminds me of a point I wanted to make. We've all read the comments where people are criticized for not preparing better or hunkering down in front of the food lover's guide and memorizing every little bit of information in it but from my perspective I found out I was accepted to the show less than three weeks before filming. My chef also took two weeks off just prior to my leave of absence, at which point I ended up working eleven days straight (working 'chef hours', mind you) during the busiest time of the year for our restaurant. As a result I had enough 'practice time' to skim through my CIA cook book once and create a single plate of dessert (which incidentally incorporated a macaron). I'm sure other competitors (and I can personally vouch for Johnny) faced similar challenges and I think that makes what we did that much more admirable. Of course we are on a competitive cooking show so if we get criticized for something we probably deserved it.

          P.S. The baby shower at George was the second off site elimination challenge we've had so far. Also, it was both cool and strange to be back at the restaurant I was working at only 4 months prior to filming.

          9 Replies
          1. re: Blueicus

            Blueicus, I'm LOVING your posts about TCC! Thanks for the insight...:)

            1. re: Blueicus

              Okay, someone has to ask. Why didn't you clean up your mess? That would have been a huge no-no in any kitchen I've worked in. Or were the editing monkeys making more out of it?

              Congrats on the win. Nice to see good technique pay off. Please keep posting!!

              1. re: Sooeygun

                Oh boy, I knew they'd air this pretty much soon after it happened...

                Would I have cleaned up the mess sooner if I were in a professional working environment? Yes, I would have.

                Why didn't I clean up the mess sooner? I had ratios and measurements in my head, and to be perfectly honest I didn't want to be distracted and end up forgetting something. Especially for something like macarons it's important to get the ratios correct or it just won't bake up correctly. Also, I made a calculated risk in my head that nobody was in danger of slipping on them (there is literally no foot traffic in front of our stations due to the way the stations are laid out) and that they could afford to sit there a couple of minutes. Trevor pretty much jumped on it about ten seconds into our conversation.

                The exchange lasted for another half a minute and eventually I joined him down at the spill to finish the cleaning, but I was somewhat pissed off at him at the time for turning it into a huge spectacle. I did apologize to Trevor before the end of the day and now its become a running joke at the place I work.

                Do I think it was my shining moment? Obviously not, I like to think I have a very strong sense of personal responsibility and I certainly don't like it when other people feel like they have to clean my mess or fix my mistakes. Depending on how the editing goes you may see that at a later episode.

                Did I have to pronounce macarons like "macaroons"? I didn't feel like putting on French airs in front of the judges so I just decided to pronounce them they way most people would

                1. re: Blueicus

                  The way they showed that clip of Trevor saying "why am I cleaning up your f***ing mess!?' on the pre-show trailer made the mess incident seem like a huge deal (and made Trevor seem like an ass, even though he does not appear to be one at all, based on the first three episodes at all... I like him!).

                  I noticed that even Mark McEwan pronounced it as "macaroon" (the coconut version).

                  1. re: cellophane_star

                    Trevor's a great guy, we ended up being good friends by the end. Btw, if anybody was curious with regards to the quickfire combos I got avocado and buttermilk (probably one of the easiest combos), Dave got fish sauce and pineapple (poor guy can't even taste one of his ingredients due to his allergy), Gabe got peaches and mushrooms (ewww...), and I forgot what Carl, Trista, and Joel got.

                    1. re: Blueicus

                      Fish sauce and pineapple sounds like it would also have been easy if not for his allergy. Now peaches and mushrooms is trickier and I don't remember how that turned out - did they even show it?

                  2. re: Blueicus

                    You've confirmed what I thought about the editors making something look like more than it is.

                    When I say macarons, people ask if I mean macaroon, so you really can't win.

                    Thank you so much for posting. Your posts are very enjoyable!

                2. re: Blueicus

                  Yay, another inside scoop! I had a feeling you were winning that challenge, considering how much the judges gushed about the macaron and how difficult they are to make.

                  I'd like to know: Do the contestants (beside the eventually winner) go home with any prizes (not including things won in various challenges? Free Le Creuset items, maybe?

                  1. re: cellophane_star

                    Not to my knowledge, not unless we got the five finger discount for it.