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Top Chef Canada, Season 2, Episode 5 (spoilers)

So this week it's snacking for sports fans and retro canapes.

Quickfire: Make a sports-friendly snack for Colby Armstrong of the Toronto Maple Leafs, incorporating Tostitos. Almost everyone uses the Tostitos as a crust for something.
Jimmy just uses the chip in its natural form, which doesn't impress Colby. Also unimpressive: Jonathan's jalapeno popper and Joel's onion rings with ketchup and a weird slaw that didn't seem to belong.
The top: Elizabeth with her chicken fingers and Tostito-crusted chicken skin, Gabriell's "the works" and Xavier's chicken finger and caramelized Tostito, which strangely I was thinking of when the challenge was presented (I've been meaning to try making a caramelized matzo cracker). The winner: Xavier

Elimination: The chefs must choose a canister which contains information about an era from which they must find inspiration for a canape. And the guest judge is Alan Thicke.
The top: Elizabeth's puff pastry duo (I wonder if she make the puff or bought it?), Carl's sliders with foie gras and homemade buns, Curtis' lemon meringue "pie" and Trista's "fruit punch".
The bottom: Gabriell's compressed fruit salad and tea sandwich, Ryan's salmon melt, Jimmy's almond cheese cracker and Joel's glazed ham and pineapple.
The winner: Carl. And Joel goes home for glazed ham.

Elizabeth seems to be causing a bit of conflict. Jimmy should have just taken her tomatoes out of the oven since he reserved the oven first. Then fighting with Gabriell, and last week with Trista and who was it before that? Why can't people succeed without being jerks to other people? Like my new favourite Top Chef, Paul Qui! He never said a mean thing to anyone and helped everyone he could. He won on his cooking, period. Learn from that Elizabeth!
I have to say, great job Curtis. Those lemon meringue things looked amazing! You are really rocking those desserts, usually the downfall of most Top Chefs.
I'm not surprised by Joel's elimination. He has underwhelmed me from the start. When I saw he was literally making a glazed ham, I knew he was done. Come on Joel! The least you could have done was reinterpret it a bit. How about a ham mousse on a grilled pineapple disk? Or a pineapple mousse on a piece of grilled ham? And that's just off the top of my head.

Restaurant wars next week.

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  1. I know I'm going to irked if Liz makes it much further. I know alot of it is perhaps editing, but her attitude and demeanor doesn't rub me the right way. The ham and pineapple was hilarious! Surprised noone made appetizers from Rtiz crackers, spray cheese and olive...or swiss cheese and pineapple chunks on skewers LOL....ah, good times the 70s...
    Thanks for the recap!

    2 Replies
    1. re: freia

      Yeah, it looks like she's the token baddie of the season. I mean, so far it's all pretty mild but the preview for next week looked a little intense.

      1. re: piccola

        True, that....I'd love to know how much is editing and how much is "real" if that makes sense...

    2. Carl is going to win this season...i just feel it

      1 Reply
      1. re: meatnveg

        I get the feeling Trevor will also be in the finale. Since David is getting a really good edit, he might make it far too.

      2. First of all, thanks guys for the support. It's interesting to hear both the negative and positive comments, we tend to be a pretty self-critical lot already (I felt bad for Gabe during the offal challenge since he couldn't hide it in front of the judges) so at the end of the day we can only take it for what it is. I've only been on the wrong end of the Judges' table once as of this challenge (of course we also don't hear their commentary while they're sampling our food) and it's too bad that they're being so personal with the criticism... although I agree that white bread sandwiches and glazed ham/pineapple on a stick are pretty uninspired ideas for top chef.

        Regarding Liz, I tried to steer myself away from the interpersonal conflicts but even I noticed some of the work related tension. On the other hand she's been helpful as well and as a whole we've always tried to get along.

        Correction: Xavier was on top for the liver profiteroles, though Liz's vol au vents were well received.

        Clarification: Both Liz and Johnny made puff pastry for their canapes, though their techniques were different.

        Regarding the general skill and talent level of the chefs on Season 2? Frankly, I think with the exception of Hung, Richard, the top 4 of season 6 (The Volts, Kevin, and Jen), and a small smattering of other cheftestants (I'd include Paul in there) we are relatively evenly matched in terms of knowledge, experience and ability. However, just by glancing at the TC kitchens over the various seasons I do think we suffer due to having access to less equipment in general. I can't solely blame the tools but it certainly doesn't hurt to have a lot of professional grade equipment.

        And with regards to dessert? I love it, I love baking, I believe chefs should be equally skilled in both. I only wish I could devote more time to it.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Blueicus

          Thanks again for your ongoing commentary - it has elevated my enjoyment of this season - and the lemon meringues looked great!

          1. re: Blueicus

            I love to see a chef that can do desserts. At cooking school, I was always surprised at how most of the students considered the pastry classes unimportant. The attitude was, oh, I'll hire a good pastry chef or I'll buy in my pastries. I didn't expect everyone to want to be an expert, but at least pay attention to the basics so you can troubleshoot, fill in for absent staff or tell if you are getting ripped off. Not to mention there are lots of pastry techniques that can be adapted for savoury.

            Great job on those tarts. I was drooling (anyone notice how lovingly Lisa was looking at hers).

            1. re: Blueicus

              Sorry, was it Xavier on top? I couldn't remember and didn't have a chance to watch the episode again.

              Pretty impressive that nobody bought puff pastry. So many chefs in the past have purchased it and been called out for it.

              I also agree that a chef should be well versed in both sweet and savory. I'm not a chef but I love to cook and although I focus on savory these days, there was a period when I baked every weekend. I would bring sweets to the office every Monday, to the detriment of everyone's waistline.

            2. TC (US) always seems to send out the line that the judges judge based on the dish in front of them at the moment.

              TCC doesn't seem to follow that at all. This elimination, Shereen and Mark were making comments referencing past dishes from certain contestants, and I've noticed this in other episodes/seasons as well. I wonder what's up with that.

              1 Reply
              1. re: marcopolo

                In a way, I think it's inevitable to have some carry-over, especially when the chefs seem to repeat the same mistakes (which is what the judges seemed to imply).

              2. My one hope for this season is that the judging isn't edited too much to create suspense. As I had posted at the end of the last season, since the viewer can't taste the food, we need to trust in what we hear the judges say.