Top Chef Seattle - Ep. #7 - 12/19/12 (Spoilers)
So we're down to 11 cheftestants. Start off back in the Stew Room; Josh said he's not going to cook any more pork. They show back up the next morning in the Top Chef Kitchen and see Stephanie Izard there with Padma. Kristen quietly wonders "She's coming back into the kitchen." Nope - Stephanie is just there as a judge!
For the Quickfire Challenge, they can cook anything they want. They can choose anything they want from the pantry - BUT....everything in the pantry has been wrapped in Reynolds Wrap foil (product placement!) They can open as many foiil wrapped ingredients as they want but if they open the foil, they have to use the ingredient in their dish. And the foil is the only cooking vessel. Bart calls is "arts and crafts class." Stephanie notes that in her restaurant, they use foil all the time for ribs, for baking cheesecakes. The winner of the QF will be safe from elimination, and they have ONLY 30 minutes to cook.
Stefan ends up with salmon; someone else gets chicken; John gets a pineapple. Kristen is going for specific things to make a spongecake and does manage to get eggs, and beats them in a foil bowl. Danyele says in the confessional "Are you kidding? She's making a cake - that's the ballsiest thing I've heard of!" Sheldon gets scallops, and wants to sear them, but he can't, as he has to cook them in foil.
They're running around; several people are slipping on the floor - Stefan almost takes a header, Josie slips as well.
Danyele - Cannellini Bean Stew with Bacon, Asiago Cheese and Tomatillo - Stephanie liked the grilled tomatillo on bread.
Micah - Grilled Lamb with Tomato Fennel Panzanella - Padma notes that the lamb looks quite rare.
Stefan - Hot Smoked Salmon with German Potato Salad (and he had a small glass of champagne alongside) - Stefan got lots of Asian flavors, and said he's going back to his Asian heritage. That Stefan - such a kidder. Stephanie said the champagne was a nice touch.
John - Beef Egg Drop Soup with Braised Pineapple - Stephanie liked the pineapple and beef together.
Brooke - Bacon Roasted Yams with Bacon, Onion & Apple Salad - Padma asked if the onion was cooked (while waving her hand in front of her mouth). Brooke said half of the onion was cooked; Stephanie noted the raw onion was pretty strong.
Josh - Roasted Chicken with Potatoes, Poblano, Tomatillo & Carrots - Stephanie liked the bit of heat from the Poblano.
Kristen - Almond & Chocolate Sponge Cake - they liked the texture of the cake - nice and light and moist.
Bart - Beer-Poached Cod with Butter Beer Sauce - fish was cooked beautifully. Bart really took the using the foil to heart - he even made a foil strainer!
Sheldon - Lemongrass Smoked Scallops with Tomato & Shallot Salad - Both Padma and Stephanie can smell the smokiness of the scallops.
Bottom group - Brooke, Micah, Josh
Top group - Danyele, Kristen, and Sheldon.
And the winner was the chef who used the foil most creatively and made a dish that had great flavors and where they never would have guessed the dish was made in 30 minutes - it's Kristen! She has immunity in the Elimination Challenge.
For the EC, Padma tells them they are to get their competitive juices flowing. The next day, they'll be at Remlinger Farms' Berry Festival. And they'll be cooking with berries - Micah gets a bit snarky in the confessional saying "berries are so sweet and tangy; I'm very excited to be cooking with these little bundles of joy!"
And they'll be cooking head-to-head battles. Stephanie notes that her first competition was a head-to-head battle, and now is the time for them to let their competitiveness come through. They will have to feature a highlighted berry for 150 diners.
Padma separates out the top six in the Quickfire (Danyele, Kristen, Sheldon, Josie, Bart, and Stefan). Since Kristen has immunity, she'll be cooking alone, but she still has a chance to win. In order for them to be safe from elimination, they have to beat the chef against whom they're cooking. The top 5 in the Quickfire have earned the right to pick the chef against whom they will compete. The dining guests will pick who wins in each battle. They have 3 hours to cook, and the winner will get $10,000.
There are 6 cloches under the table - one for each pair, and one for Kristen.
Sheldon vs. Micah - Strawberries
Danyele vs. Josh - Blueberries
Stefan vs. John - Gooseberries
Josie vs. Lizzie - Raspberries
Bart vs. Brooke - Blackberries
Kristen - Tayberries
And off they go to shop at Central Market. Sheldon claims all the fresh tuna, so Stefan goes and bought fresh-frozen sockeye block tuna. John sees it, and says "It's Top Chef! Who uses frozen fish? I'm definitely beating Stefan!"
Back at the suite, John gives Stefan shit for buying frozen fish. They both give each other the "Loser" hand signal to their foreheads. John says "you know I love you - we'll just cook together; one will be on the top, one will be on the bottom." Stefan says (while his head rests on Kristen's hip on the couch) "If we don't get rid of him tomorrow, I'll shank him in the kidneys the day after."
The next day, off to Remlinger Farms. They rush to the outdoor kitchen. Total chaos - not enough space for a cutting board. Someone pulls up on a tractor with baskets of berries. Bart and John fight over a blender - John says he's "using it right now" but he ends up *not* using it when he said he would do so. John bitches about how difficult the white gazpacho he's making isn't as easy as he expected. His proportions are out of whack, he can't measure anything. He turns on a blender without having the lid on tightly, and sprays creamy gazpacho all over himself and Josh.
Kristen is not competing against anyone, and she's happy about that, but she still wants to win. With $10K, she could go to Korea, where she's from, although she doesn't remember it, as she was adopted when she was 4 months old.
Tom C. comes in to talk to the cheftestants.This is where John tattletales on Stefan after Tom C. said that Stefan said he was going to beat John's ass. Stefan says from the background "Was that a backstabbing moment?" John said he had noticed that Stefan was using frozen tuna. Stefan tells Tom that the fresh tuna was old brown, he didn't want to use it, and there was nothing else, so he went with the frozen block tuna from Japan - "very high quality!" A bit of back and forth between John and Stefan, with John saying the tuna is full of CO2 and irradiated, and it's not sustainable. Stefan said "just run into my knife, mo-fo."
The guests arrive. We find out that Micah's children have names that are culinarily derived, Sage and Saffron (because Cayenne and Cinnamon sound like stripper names, according to Micah). Josie's rolls are not built or wrapped, so she's rolling to order. *That* won't be easy and will be time-consuming.
The judges show up, and head over to the cheftestants to pick up their dishes:
Danyele - Chicken Pine Nut Terrine with Blueberry Mostarda - very crunchy, Tom said rubbery on the terrine. The crostini were too crispy (pre-cooked/toasted) and Danyele could hear people eating them.
Josh - Savory Goat Cheese Mousse with Blueberry Compote - Tom like his dish; Gail said it was very balanced and delicate.
Josie - Rock & Raspberry Roll - Sockeye Salmon, Dungeness Crab & Raspberry Aioli - Josie talks and talks and talks, and Gail asks Tom "Is she high?" And Tom said "Uhh, yeah!" She tries to talk through the dish and Tom and Gail tell her to keep cooking while she's talking. Another guest said she thinks Josie is actually killing the crab it's taking so long. After tasting, Gail said she likes that Josie used the raspberries in so many ways, but she didn't really taste the bright raspberry flavor. Tom said he thinks Josie thinks it's more important to put on a show vs. making nice food. Why weight down the light spring roll with mayonnaise?
Lizzie - Raspberry Steamed Cabbage Roll with Heritage Pork & Bacon Stuffing - guests and judges love the combination of pork, raspberries and bacon. Tom said it takes a lot of guts to decide to cook something in that style.
Sheldon - Ahi Summer Roll - Ahi Poke, Strawberries, & Sweet Chili Sauce - at first, the sauce was thought odd in its consistency, but the addition of the radish made it work. Gail thought there was interesting strawberry flavor.
Micah - Strawberry-marinated Fried Chicken with Strawberry & Bacon Biscuit with Maple Sour Cream - they like the fried chicken, but the biscuit was dense.
John - White Gazpacho with Spanish Chorizo, Gooseberries & Sweet Grapes - Stephanie said the chorizo overwhelmed the dish for her. Padma said it was two dishes going on in the same cup. A guest said it reminded him of cheeseburger soup.
Stefan - Cali Crudo with Radishes, Gooseberries & Spiced Vinaigrette - guests didn't get much of the tuna flavor. Gail said the spice and crunch from the salad was good, but *she* didn't get much of the gooseberry taste.
Brooke - Spicy Smoked Chocolate Pudding with Blackberry Tapioca with Graham Cracker Crumble and an Earl Grey Marshmallow - a guest said they'd like more of the tapioca and less of the chocolate. And more of the berries, as the berries get lost. Tom said she wanted to make S'mores, and Stephanie said "It's totally S'mores!"
Bart - Blackberry Soup wtih Salmon & Rhubarb Yogurt - Tom said Bart's soup is delicious, but the salmon was as bland as it gets. Stephanie said the dish didn't need the salmon. A guest said her daughter refused to try it, which ws "good judgment", per that guest.
Kristen - Toasted Sage and Matcha Goat Milk Custard with Olive Oil-Macerated Tayberries - guests were saying they'd have to go back and get more. Tom loved the custard's texture, not too sweet. Stephanie said the macerated berries one one of the best things she tasted today.
John and Stefan continue their bitching at each other; John tells anyone voting for Stefan that they can rest easy, knowing they voted for frozen tuna. He also said that the Stew Room will be interesting tonight.
We're back in the Stew Room - and Stefan tells John "you started it today!" John replies "That's not how it went down!" Stefan takes a poll if everyone else has ever used sockeye block tuna - and everyone says yes. So he tells John to.....well, I won't put it here. Let's just say there were a lot of bleeps by the censors.
Padma walks in asking to see John, Josie, Micah, Bart, and Danyele. As they walk out, Josh quietly says "That's the bottom." Stefan says "Of course it's the bottom! What are you, effin' high?" Yup, they're the bottom group. Turns out the judges had the same tally as the guests as to who was in the bottom group.
The judges reviewed each dish and what was wrong. Some try and give excuses (Josie and John especially). They are asked to send in the winning dish - Stephanie said the winning dish highlighted the berry used, and the winner put together a unique dish that didn't have a flaw in it - the winner is Kristen AGAIN! Another double win! Tom tells her keep cooking the way she's cooking, and she'll spend a lot of time on "this end of things" (the winning end).
The judges discuss the bottom group's dishes. Bart did a good job highlighting his berry; the salmon didn't need to be there, whereas Micah did a bad job of highlighting his strawberry. Josie's dish didn't have a clear flavor of raspberry - Tom likened it to Pepto Bismol in how it looked - just pink. Danyele's chicken terrine was a good idea, but the textures didn't work with the crostini, and John's soup just didn't seem to have good technique. The berries were lost in his dish.
I'm *thinking* it's going to be Josie or John, but it could be a crapshoot - I dont' think it'll be Bart. We're back at JT, and we get to see the ::::whooshing::::dramatic camera shots of the cheftestants. Padma asks Danyele to PYKAG.
And back in the Stew Room, Josie and Stefan begin to get into it when Stefan interrupts Josie speaking to Lizzie to ask John a question. So the "drama" starts. Great.
Preview for next week shows them digging for clams, and Padma is on rollerskates as they're cooking for a roller derby team. And Josie takes on Stefan in the suite.
I found Hugh Acheson's comment about Stephan and Kristin to be quite humorous. From the blog...
"Stefan is cooking salmon and potatoes. I still don’t have any idea what the Asian element in the dish is, but who knows. Kristen giggles and the innuendo between them continues like a pesky form of herpes."
I thought that was a fun episode. The challenges weren't too out there and I liked that the chef's got to make their own dishes without too many restrictions. I think the biggest reason Danyele went home now is because she had way too many doubts and wasn't sure if she should be there and she even told the judges that.
Sad Josh is still there, had he been paired with anyone else I think he would have been on the bottom.
Stephan is getting a bite creepy with Kristin but then again he was creepy on his season too. Then again I find him funny as fuck with his bickering with John.
My husband thought that the show had jumped the shark with the Quickfire Challenge. I have to agree that it was pretty gimmicky. One thing I thought was really bizarre was Micah's "grilled" lamb. Grilled? That looked like a completely raw piece of meat. It seemed to me that grilling would have been one of the best cooking options since you actually don't need a vessel, so I was completely surprised that the lamb was raw. Did I miss something? They didn't say they couldn't grill foods, did they?
I was really, really sorry that Josie didn't have to PYKAG. She has really crossed the line into mega annoying for me. And her summer roll swimming in a pool of who-knows-what looked completely revolting. But Danyele was definitely in the firing line, IMO. Her apologetic manner didn't help her one bit, and it seemed as if she was waiting to leave.
As far as John goes, I will bet that they will leave him around for as long as possible for the sheer "villan" factor. Man, was he a prick last night, but Stefan can take it and give it back in spades. It says something when you have a chef who is much more unlikable than Stefan, who has either mellowed, or who seems relatively pleasant next to John.
When they showed the old photo of Josh I was surprised by how handsome he looked before he took on his current Gay 90s disguise. At least he didn't cook pork this week, but I really wish he'd lose the driving hat. I find it as unappetizing in a kitchen as I found Danyele's dangling forelock.
While I really like both John and Stephan, and find their fighting pretty funny, I thought it was Stephan who started the "dickhead" behavior and was more of the "villian". He started making fun of John for being an old man, so John started giving him crap about frozen fish.
I find John to be very calm and almost reserved.
re: Bart Hound
Agree that Stefan started the digs but then over-reacted when John gave it right back. I too like both John and Stefan because they're both pretty good chefs. I think it'll blow over because John didn't react to Stefan in the stew room.
Josie once again proves she's totally worthless.
They *had* to use the foil as the cooking vessel as well. So while the lamb could be on the grill, it *had* to be on foil. Which isn't going to allow to be grilled all that well.
And I agree - I *really* wanted Josie to go. Irritating as all get out. I have to agree with Gail and Tom - she seemed high at the EC.
I thought Stefan was being as much of a jerk later on as John was earlier. John was *way* wrong to tell Tom re: frozen fish, and then to call it out to the guests. But then Stefan bringing it back up again in the Stew Room with "You started it out there!" He's doing it just to goad John, which just shows how childish Stefan can be.
And then his crap in the Stew Room with Josie? While I don't like Josie, she was right to call him out on it - Stefan *stops* Josie from speaking to start up his conversation with John. If Stefan wanted to talk to John, go have the conversation elsewhere. But Stefan seemed to do it so *he* could be the center of attention. I still look at him as a spoiled child.
Stefan is childish but I like his childishness. I also think he was right to call out John for a) John being wrong about the quality of the product and b) John trying to influence the outcome by calling out the quality of the product.
As for Josie, yeah, I was hoping she'd be sent home. It doesn't look like she's changed much since her season.
I actually liked the QF challenge. Yes product placement was all over the place but it was kind of fun to see what they'd have to work with under the foil. And I agree with whomever who couldn't believe John didn't know that was a pineapple he was grabbing.
Like most people here, I thought for sure Josie was going home. The in between segment about her laugh driving everyone up a wall was amusing.
Danielle/Danyele's dangling lock *is* annoying and she had an odd 'do in the LCK segment.
"I actually liked the QF challenge. Yes product placement was all over the place"
Note about the product placement: the quickfire didn't especially make me want to cook with foil. But it did make me want to find my old college roommate and prank the shit out of him. I'm assuming the people at Reynold's Wrap are fine with that.
From the Hoyle rules on "Busting Balls it clearly states in section C paragraph L/2.2 that "When "Busting Balls" it is not required that you stick to your deeply held personal beliefs."
It goes on to explain that the purpose of "Busting Balls" is to rankle your opponent, not present truths.
I agree totally with your disgust over the bowl made on the top of the guy's head. Yuck! I was also thrown off by Josh's playing with his moustache and going straight back to cooking. However, I think cooking or serving food that was just in a vessel made on your head - in contact with sweat, hair, dandruff, and who knows what all - takes the cake (pun intended)
regarding John and Stefan -
I really don't care who started the bickering/digs, but trying to get an advantage by telling everyone about the frozen fish was pretty low. So I was glad to see Tattletale -John in the bottom group!