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May 7, 2012 09:44 PM

Top Chef Canada, Season 2, Episode 9 (spoilers)

It's the camping episode and the vending machine Quickfire.

The Quickfire: The chefs have $10 to purchase items from a vending machine and create a sweet and salty snack for Spenny, of Kenny vs. Spenny fame. The chefs get pretzels, chips, ramen, nori, pork rinds, dried fruit, wasabi peas etc. and the use of the pantry.
Jonathan get jelly rolls, pretzels and marshmallows and makes a Thai jelly roll. David gets nori, dried fruit, ramen and ketchup chips and beef jerky and he makes ramen tempura-battered dried papaya and beef jerky nori rolls. Trevor get pretzels and pork rinds and makes pork rind batter chicken wing with pretzel mayo. Carl picks Reese's pieces, rice crispy squares and pork rinds and makes rice squares with peanut butter chocolate and pork rinds, Trista get Indian snacks, dried figs, licorice, bbq sticks and mooncakes and makes a pakora with dried fig, licorice-infused mustard. Ryan gets wasabi peas, corn chips, and marshmallows - we don't find out what Ryan made. We also don't get to see what Xavier got from the machine or what he made.
The bottom: David and Carl.
The top: Trevor and Trista. And the winner is Trevor. He wins an advantage for the Elimination round.

For the Elimination round, the chefs have to go camping and cook brunch for Roger Mooking, each chef featuring a wild game ingredient which they don't find out about until they get camping. Trevor's advantage is a good night's sleep in a luxury tent while the other chefs have to build their own tents and sleep on the ground.
Trista gets squab, David gets quail, Ryan get rabbit, Trevor gets pheasant, Carl gets duck, Xavier has partridge, Jonathan gets guinea hens.
Jonathan make rotisserie guinea hen with wild rice pancake, roasted tomato jam and curry. Trevor makes pheasant ragout with corn and mushrooms and a poached egg and tomato jam. Carl does duck two ways, with beans, kale and mushrooms and also a poached egg. Ryan also does a duo - wild mushroom rabbit ragout and potatoes, morels and leeks with rabbit loin. Xavier makes partridge two ways - roasted breast and foie gras stuffled leg with lentils. Trista makes smorgasbord squab with french toast, dandelion, corn and potatoes. As the storm gets closer, David serves quail stuffed with black trumpet mushrooms with cassoulet, shirred eggs and naan.
The top: Trevor, Trista, Carl and Jonathan.
The bottom, David, Ryan and Xavier.
The winner is Trista, who wins a Weber barbecue.
And Ryan goes home.

Good job, Trista! She's been in the middle and the bottom for so long, I was sure she was going home soon. And she looked lovely in her wedding pictures. I had a feeling Ryan's time was coming. He has been floundering the last few episodes. I love how Jonathan and David embrace the challenges. While others are uncomfortable, they throw themselves into the challenges. Even though the results are not always winners, their attitudes are definitely Top Chef worthy. Dodged a bullet there, Dave. Usually the guy with the improperly cooked protein gets sent home.

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  1. Thanks for this summary, chefhound! Much appreciated!
    Is it me, or are the judges more "complimentary" now? Seemed like the feedback was positive and on point this time, instead of "this is salty and bland" or "seems oily". The judges seemed fairly positive this time, which was nice.
    I knew Ryan was going, no matter really what he put on the plate (unless it was absolutely exceptional and someone messed up their dish beyond repair). He had been at or near the bottom for far too long to stay any more. I suspect we'll see David go next, then Xavier, then Trista. I think the final 3 will be Jonathan, Trevor and Carl. Just speculating, as speculating is FUN to who will win? I think all three would be great, so I'm rooting for all of them! Actually, on this season, there has been only one chef I've disliked and that chef is gone -- I think all of them are very good and it comes down to who is the best of the best, if that makes sense.

    4 Replies
    1. re: freia

      I think the level of cooking was surprisingly high for a cooking-over-a-fire challenge. Usually, they can't control the heat and burn everything.

      I think the order will be Xavier next, then either David or Trista. I hate to say it because I'm really liking David and his enthusiasm but he's inconsistent. I wish he'd get it together. I'm also thinking Carl, Trevor and Jonathan for the final three. Though David has been really good when he's on. The come-from-behind dark horse, maybe?

      1. re: chefhound

        Maybe! And yes, over fire? Yikes, I'd have toasted EVERYTHING, if I ever got the fire going LOL. David MAY be the dark horse but I wonder his performance to date has been so spotty that he just won't make the top because of it. I'm not sure as to whether the judges look at the overall performance of the chef, or the single final round dish. If it is the former, I'm not sure if David has a chance: if it is the latter, a mediocre chef throughout the competition could win on an exceptional out-of-the-park home run dish, but would that chef be truly the top chef, or simply the winner of that round?

      2. re: freia

        'Is it me, or are the judges more "complimentary" now?'

        I thought this episode had the best judging of any episode of TCC yet. Marc seemed to be more at ease and relaxed and less of a stick in the mud - heck he even smiled a bit...

        re David: I feel like the pressure is getting to him, and we're witnessing his slow downward spiral into a nervous breakdown

        1. re: marcopolo

          Agreed on all counts. I think I got a sense of this with the banter between the judges and Ryan (when they said it was a beautiful plate and he said Ya heard THAT one before ...)
          Maybe it takes a while for judges to kind of feel their way, and for the contestants to feel more comfortable after getting more used to the format and filming.

      3. I was happy to see Trista get back on her game! She started off strong but seemed to hit a rough patch the last few weeks...

        Also, the vending machine challenge has always been one of my favourites. Just like the canned goods one. It's a lot easier to churn out great food when you have access to the best fresh ingredients - this really shows who's resourceful.

        4 Replies
        1. re: piccola

          I enjoyed the vending machine challenge too. And our vending machine seemed to have a more interesting mix than on the US show (and unbranded). I wonder if the licorice that Trista got was Dutch salted (it looked like a similar shape to some brands). I know my reaction would be the same as hers when tasting it.

          1. re: Sooeygun

            I wondered about the contents. I don't know any vending machines in Canada that sell ramen and few with pork rinds.

            1. re: piccola

              Pork Rinds! I seem them all the time out West in vending machines. Saw them here in Ontario at our local college. Plus ramen! But yes, not the usual vending machine goods. I'd have loved to see cheetos, peek frean cookies with the jam in the middle, miss vicki's salt and vinegar chips, and maybe some M and Ms...

              1. re: freia

                I wish my vending machines had ramen. They only seem to have crappy chips, Starburst (does anyone like these?) and those horribly dry chocolate chip cookies.

        2. I really like it when we get down to the last eight or so contestants since the show can spend more time looking at each chef's food in detail. I was impressed with what the contestants turned out considering the environmental challenges (camping, storm) and was certain David was going home, but am not sorry he will be around a bit longer. He does seem like a bit of a loose cannon, but in a good way.

          1. I was quite impressed with the quality of the food that they produced in the camping competition. I can remember trying to make chili over a camp-fire - and it was difficult for me.

            1. Don't have much time to post these days, what with the restaurant opening but we did catch the episode at the restaurant. I think some pretty good food was presented all around, and even the judges were more positive than usual. Dave was always a great person to have around and I really enjoy his unique sense of insanity. Personally I don't enjoy camping, the bugs are the worst part of it, and cooking over a wood flame is definitely tough, especially if you're trying to do various techniques with it.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Blueicus

                I am not a big fan of camping (rustic version). But there is a solution for the bugs....

                1. re: Blueicus

                  Glad to hear from you, Blueicus. We've missed your insights. Hope the opening is going well.