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Apr 30, 2012 10:53 PM

Top Chef Canada, Season 2, Episode 8 (spoilers)

It's the catering challenge. But first we start with the Chef Skills Quickfire.

The challenges consists of 4 parts. The first round: the chefs must finely dice shallots. They must be done precisely and the 6 chefs who can chop the most shallots (by weight) move on to the next round. Carl, Xavier, David, Ryan, Jimmy and Trevor move on to the next round.
The next challenge is to French a rack of lamb. Mark McEwan is expecting a very precise level of butchering and rejects Carl's first attempt. Xavier, David, Carl and Trevor move on.
The third round finds the chefs peeling grapes. They all groan at this old school skill challenge. Only two can move on. And the two are Carl and Xavier.
The final round: Cook a dish with the prepped ingredients. Xavier goes Mediterranean: roasted rack of lamb with fig and grape couscous. Carl prepares grilled lamb chops with Madeira grape lamb jus, rosti, sauteed spinach with summer truffles on a shallot puree. And the winner is Carl. No immunity but he wins a Wustof knife set.

The Elimination challenge: Cater lunch for the cast and crew of Lost Girl. Guest judge is Chef Michael Blackie from Ottawa. Jimmy makes green minestrone soup with porcini and truffle oil and a green salad. Trevor makes a quinoa salad with walnuts, hazelnuts, cranberries and raisins as well as a tomato Caprese salad with garlic parmesan chips. Trista makes a seafood salad with artichoke and avocado as well as a yogurt rosewater panna cotta with pomegranate. David makes grilled polenta with red onion jam and mint-marinated cucumber, Moroccan roasted carrots, and grilled zucchini. Jonathan makes pulled pork lettuce wraps with a vegan option of tofu. Carl makes roasted chicken with ratatouille. Xavier makes chocolate mousse and also raspberry poached peaches. Ryan makes saffron glazed Arctic char with green goddess sauce.
The bottom: Ryan, Xavier, Trista and Jimmy.
The top: Carl, David, Jonathan and Trevor.
The winner is Jonathan. And Jimmy is out.

The divide is becoming clearer. I think this episode validates my personal picks to win, place or show. The guys who are consistently on the top are starting to really show their stuff. The in-between guys are showing their weaknesses.
Carl and Trevor have mostly been on top and have been consistently producing really great stuff. Jonathan and David have mostly either been on top or in the middle. I think they both have a good chance but are not as consistent.
On the bottom, Jimmy's immaturity showed. This challenge and the last one as well, Jimmy has shown that is he not ready. Why would you make a green salad? And after McEwan warned them to make Top Chef worthy dishes. And Ryan, why would you glaze the fish and also have a sauce? Seems redundant and there's a greater chance of having conflicting flavours between the glaze and the sauce.
And Trista and Xavier both split their focus by doing two dishes. I believe that not focusing on one thing has been the downfall of many a cheftestant.

Is it just me or is David totally adorable? This episode in particular, I thought he was just delightful - crazy but really likeable. If he keeps going the way he's been going, he might just be the dark horse in this race. For now, my money is on either Carl or Trevor.

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  1. As soon as Jimmy said he stands behind his dishes - he was gone.... always happens.

    1 Reply
    1. re: cacruden

      I thought Jimmy was going to manage to squeak by one more time as he always seems to do, but as soon as I saw his reaction to the criticism, I knew this time he would actually go.

      I really wish I could have tasted Xavier’s mousse. I have a hard time believing it would have been so bad, even if it was done at the last minute.

    2. I like David but I feel like the show is really pushing him as the dark horse winner. They keep mentioning his reputation and "legacy".

      Sad to see Jimmy go but it was pretty obvious he would be the one cut last night. Loved how he said his two bowls of soup were fine & he didn't know what the judges' problem was. haha. And how cute was that picture of him & his mom?!

      At this point, I would be really sad to see Trevor go. I laughed so hard at his comment "if I didn't exercise, I would be SO fat... it wouldn't be funny!" I can relate!

      1. Thanks again chefhound for the update.

        I think it was pretty strongly telegraphed that Jimmy would be cut this week - I have a particular bias against truffle oil so wasn't sorry.

        Perhaps it's the editing but it does appear the cheftestants are supportive of one another and there is less backbiting that the US version. (Liz, notwithstanding)

        2 Replies
        1. re: ElizabethS

          This is the kinder, gentler Canadian Top Chef where everyone is always saying sorry! ;)

          Once you've seen enough of these shows you can almost predict who will be cut. "And now here's some brief background and a personal photograph from tonight's victim...".

          1. re: ElizabethS

            I do appreciate the gentler nature of our TC. I think the worst season I saw of TC was the Elian/Elia season with all the backbiting and down right arrogance and meanness. Nice to have a competition without the stabbing. I know, stabbing gets ratings, but I kind of like our version.

          2. I didn't know whether to laugh or groan at Mark McEwan disqualifying a few unacceptably peeled grapes. Trista's comment during the quickfire that her money was on Carl but her heart was with X echoed my feelings perfectly. I think Jonathan's win was more about choosing and presenting a dish that suited the challenge. Jimmy's soup might have been delicious but it looked like swamp water on the screen and I think billing it as gazpacho and then presenting something that was all mushroom and truffle worked against him.

            1 Reply
            1. re: pepper_mil

              Peeling grapes? What's next week's Quickfire going to be? Best shrimp cocktail in a martini glass?