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Top Chef Canada, Season 2, Episode 11 (spoilers)

Getting close to the end. Only 5 chefs left.

Quickfire: Lisa announces that it's a high-stakes quickfire. Everybody groans. But apparently it's just a high-stakes prize, not an elimination quickfire. Fooled me with last week's promo. The guest judge is Keshia Chante and it's a Kraft dinner challenge. The chefs have to make 2 dishes. One dish has to be refined and one dish more homestyle. The winner gets $10,000. Xavier has never had KD before.

Trevor makes roasted garlic KD with mustard, broccoli and spicy sausage but he plates it two ways. Jonathan makes a stuffed tomato with KD, sausage, sundried tomatoes and olives for his everyday dish and a coconut curry KD for his refined dish. David makes grilled mac 'n cheese sandwich for his everyday dish and bacon-wrapped KD with scallop for his refined dish. Carl makes KD with lobster, dill and lemon for his everyday dish and fennel and KD bruschetta with tomato, tomatillo, bacon and cilantro. Xavier makes mac 'n cheese with whipped cream sauce with caramelized onion and for his refined dish, he makes cranberry and KD with roasted duck breast and caramelized fig.

On the bottom: Trevor and Jonathan.
On the top: David and Xavier.
And David wins $10,000.

Elimination: The chefs have to prepare a 6-course Italian feast for Lidia Bastianich. David draws Pesce, Xavier draws Primi, Carl gets Secondi, Trevor gets Dolce and Jonathan get Zuppa. The chefs also have work together to prepare an Antipasti course.
They are cooking at Fabbrica, McEwan's Italian restaurant. Guests are: Carlo Rota, Rick Campanelli, Lorenzo Loseto and Franco Stalteri.
For the antipasti: grilled and marinated octopus with cucumber; prosciutto grissini; beef and eggplant involtino; lemon-marinated artichokes and black olive flatbreads.
For the zuppa, Jonathan makes a deconstructed stacciatella with poached egg and parmesan in a tomato chicken broth.
For the primi, Xavier makes pappardelle with braised veal breast and radicchio.
For the pesce, David makes wood-fire roasted european sea bass and sea bream with fennel and radish.
For the secondi, Carl prepares leg of lamb with garlic and herbs, pork sausage with fennel, and chili with caramelized onion. He also prepared arugula, fennel and preserved lemon salad, and mushroom celery mousseline.
For the dolce, Trevor prepares lemon granita with Campari and tiramisu.
The top: David and Jonathan.
The bottom: Xavier, Trevor and Carl.
The winner is Jonathan and Xavier goes home.
As the winner, Jonathan wins a trip to New York. As the runner-up, David's dish will be featured at Milestones and $3,000.

Au revoir, Xavier. You had a good run but the judges hate too much salt. Someone else has to really screw up to beat that in the judges' minds.
David's really on a roll and Carl and Trevor are on a serious decline. Until recently, I would have definitely called Carl and Trevor as the front runners. Strange to see them in the bottom. Now they're sliding and David is rising. Maybe Jonathan, who has been relatively steady, will take it. It's getting down to the wire.

Next week, the chefs are getting some sous chefs in the form of last season's contestants.

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  1. Xavier will be missed. Every time I hear him describing a dish I wish I could dig into it. And watching him read the instructions on the Kraft Dinner box was pretty funny. "Any chance this could curdle?"...."Uhhh, very slim." LOL

    I don't have a clear favourite either.

    Jonathan is a fun guy to watch and is very good at meeting the challenges, like last week how he knew the broth was the star of the dish and worked it into the presentation.

    I wish Carl had been on the bottom earlier. I think being on the bottom helps the chefs learn a lot about what the judges expect. I hope he gets some confidence and goes back to doing his thing.

    David's gutsy - I was really afraid that the fish would end up overdone in that wood burning oven. He's been collecting the most coin so far, but he's sticking his neck out for it.

    Trevor, between spending this episode grumbling about drawing dessert, putting out a mediocre tiramisu that looked it was made by a grade 9 home ec student, and then grousing about David's winning more money in next episode's preview, did not come across well this week. We'll see what happens next.

    1. I thought it would be Carl who left - his dish seemed to have more fundamental issues than Xavier's.

      It was a really good episode I thought!

      8 Replies
      1. re: ElizabethS

        The thing with Carl is that I don't think there were any major flaws in execution - they just didn't like it.
        They may have not liked the sausage texture but it was a correct texture for a sausage, just not an Italian sausage. Same for the lamb. Leg of lamb may not be traditional Italian but they didn't have a problem with the flavour or cooking.

        1. re: chefhound

          McEwan said he also had "flavour proflle issues" with the sausage, for what it's worth.

          But yeah, they said Xavier's pasta was both oversalted and underdone, so I guess even weird sausage is better than that.

        2. re: ElizabethS

          I watched most of the TCC marathon on Victoria Day. It might have something to do with Carl's previous performances. Xavier seemed to receive more criticism throughout the series than Carl.

          1. re: cellophane_star

            I'm not sure about this. Now of course it could be. I have read interviews with Tom C saying that on the US version they only look at how the person did that day, as the guest judge(s) are only there for the one day.

            1. re: dbrodbeck

              "I have read interviews with Tom C saying that on the US version they only look at how the person did that day"

              This doesn't seem to be the case for TCC - I've often heard the judges bring up past performances at JT

              1. re: marcopolo

                I've seen them point out when a contestant has made the same mistake repeatedly - but they do that in the U.S. version too, if I recall correctly. But I think the eliminations are still based on that day's performance, otherwise there wouldn't be as many surprises.

                1. re: piccola

                  Right. If you follow Tom C's twitter stream he is oft defending/explaining to people that they bring stuff up, but, they have to base it on one day to be fair. Bourdain mentions this in Medium Raw. There is a live chat during the show on Mondays at 10 EDT, and Mark McEwan does drop in there and does a teeny bit of live twitter posting (I still refuse to call it 'tweeting' as that sounds dumb....) Perhaps on Monday someone could ask him or the producers.

            2. re: cellophane_star

              Xavier was almost constantly receiving criticism.... too heavy.... too heavy.... too heavy. About the only time he did not receive that criticism was the "soul food" episode where he changed -- and the judges loved it (regardless of the fact that it was unlikely "soul food" but just a good narrative :p). Had this feeling sooner or later he would be gone because he did not produce food that the judges preferred.

          2. What was with Macewan picking on Xavier for not using 00 flour? Durum semolina is the best option for fresh pasta.

            1. I accidently fell asleep right after the winners were announced, missing the eliminations and preview. Which contestants from TCC 1 are showing up?

              Loved Xavier reading the KD directions. Keisha Chante was a fairly useless judge though.

              I have a feeling Trevor may be next to go home, based on his portrayl on this episode.

              1 Reply
              1. re: cellophane_star

                I saw Connie, Francois, Rob and Dusty, I think.

              2. I'm not sure how TCC works - will two chefs be eliminated next week to set up the finale with 2 chefs?

                1 Reply
                1. re: ElizabethS

                  Last year, the final episode features 3 chefs so I assume one chef will go home next week.