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Top Chef Seattle - Ep. #10 - 01/09/13 (Spoilers)

It's a new spin on Restaurant Wars starting this week! But first, we've got to get through the Quickfire.

The ep starts back at the suite. Josh talks about not having John in the competition. Stefan is shown sitting outside without his "morning friend, John." Brooke said she's good with those left in the competition. Josie says to those in the kitchen "Asians represent, Asians represent!" Stefan sort of wrinkles his nose. Josie says in the camera aside that everyone left is impressive, and that to underestimate anyone is stupid. "I didn't come back as a stupid chef!" Ummm......

They arrive back at the TC Kitchen, and Wolfgang Puck is there with Padma. The challenge is to work with ginger (YAY! I love ginger!). Turns out it's sponsored by Canada Dry ginger ale and it seems to require the use of ginger ale, although I'm not sure if everyone uses it. They only get 15 minutes. The winner will receive immunity in the next Elimination challenge.

The cheftestants are going crazy running around trying to finish their dishes in 15 minutes. Josie and Josh collide in a full-on run but both remain standing.

Josh - White Chocolate & Ginger Soup with Peaches & Tarragon - Wolfgang Puck said very restrained on the ginger.

Josie - Seared Scallop with Ginger-Honey Yogurt & Miso-Ginger Sauce - Puck said the scallops were nicely cooked.

Brooke - Ginger-Caramel Squid with Fresh Lime & Chili Powder - Puck says it sounds inventive and it works well together.

Lizzie - Watermelon & Ginger Soup with Fresh Mint - Puck says it would be a nice cold soup to serve on a warm day.

Micah - Ginger Shrimp Salad with Radish, Plum, Ponzu Vinaigrette & Fried Crispy Ginger - Padma likes the plum - it's refreshing.

Kristen - Fennel-Ginger Salad with Brie & Tomatoes - Puck said infusing the ginger flavor via the CO2 cartridge was a new idea. (I think that's what he said.)

Sheldon - Wok-Fried Ginger Skirt Steak with Ginger & Oranges - Puck said it could use a bit more sweetness but it was good.

Stefan - Ahi Tuna with Lemongrass & Ginger Vinaigrette - Puck said nice and delicate. Stefan adds some charm by speaking to Wolfgang in German.

The bottom group - Sheldon and Josh
The top group - Brooke, Stefan, and Lizzie

And the winner is Brooke!

For the Elimination Challenge, Danny Meyer, CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group, arrives in the TC Kitchen. And Padma announces it's time for Restaurant Wars! But a new twist - each cheftestant must come up with a complete restaurant concept along with a dish that represents the concept - all to be presented at The Bite of Seattle. They will need to prepare 200 portions, and they will have 4 sous chefs to help them. There will be 2 winners chosen at the Bite of Seattle, and those winners will serve as Executive Chefs and create their restaurant from the ground up in the second part of Restaurant Wars. The 2 winners will receive $10,000 for this part of the challenge.

They head out to get ingredients - Josie, Micah and Sheldon head to Uwajimaya Asian Food Market and the others head over to Central Market.

They arrive back in the TC Kitchen and Kuniko, Carla, Chrissy, and Eliza are there as sous chefs. Micah and Josie share Kuniko, and Sheldon asks Chrissy to help him. Stefan gets Carla to help him, and Eliza is helping Lizzie. Tom comes into the kitchen to see what everyone is working on.

There is a *lot* of camera time for Josie....so - do we speculate? Is it her time to go? PaLEEZ?

Back at the suite, they show Stefan sticking a frozen Healthy Choice into the microwave. (REALLY? Does anyone think that chefs are actually eating these things?) It's also Sheldon's 30th birthday. The other chefs bring out a cake for him.

The next day, they rush to their stations at Bite of Seattle. The sous chefs show up and start helping where needed. An element of Josie's dish isn't done, and she begins to freak out - which means an incessant amount of talking and honking laughter. The judges show up, and Danny notes when he first met Tom C. was at another food festival such as Bite of Seattle. Tom said "I had hair then!" and they show a picture of Tom with a full head of hair. He just doesn't look right with hair! LOL Danny said Tom made a sea urchin and crabmeat mashed potatoes dish that stood out, and made him want to work with Tom. Tom said he *still* makes that dish. Meanwhile, Brian Canlis is at Stefan's station, and when Stefan starts up a blender, the top isn't on and he sprays Canlis, who starts laughing.

JOSH - "Bistro George" - Seared Eye of Rib Eye with Cauliflower Puree & Mushroom Red Wine Sauce. Gail likes his dish, Danny thinks the mushrooms are seasoned, but the steak isn't.

LIZZIE - "Mia Filino" - Mustard Green Canederli with Fonduta & Crispy Speck. Danny says her dish is classic northeastern Italian near Austria. Tom says the flavor is great, but it's a bit heavy.

SHELDON - "Urbano" - Sour Tamarind Soup with Pork Belly, Shrimp & Snapper. Danny said the flavor makes you sit up straight - in a good way, and it's clear he's cooking from his heart. Padma notes that traditionally, this soup is not a pretty dish to look at, but he managed to keep it authentic.

STEFAN - "Bangkok via Munich" - Thai Lobster Bisque with Shrimp Dumplings, Potatoes & Radishes *and* another dish - Bavarian Cream Mango Lollipop. Gail likes the coconut milk and the broth in the soup, but wants some herbs in the dish. Danny Meyer said the lollipop doesn't hold up to the soup, and the last bite makes him forget the soup.

MICAH - "Raw" - Salmon, Snapper, Himachi, Squid, Scallop & Mackerel with Raw Vegetables. While he's describing the dish to the judges, Gail asks if he's thought of this concept for a long time, and he says yes. If you're in a chef in Beverly Hills, you have to please a lot of ladies who watch their figure. Tom and Gail both look at each other with puzzled faces. After trying the dish, Tom didn't like the presentation - he didn't like that the seafood wasn't cut to order. Gail liked the egg yolk vinaigrette. Danny said everyone there has a good context for raw fish - it's called really good sushi. And if this isn't adding something to the dialogue on really good sushi, who needs it?

KRISTEN - "Atelier Kwan" - Onsen Egg with Camembert-Mustard Sauce & Buttered Radishes. Danny Meyer liked the butter-poached radishes and said they were wonderful. Gail loves the egg. Tom said there's always a risk cooking an egg like this, as some don't set, but her eggs are perfect.

BROOKE - "Unkosher" - Matzo Ball Soup with Duck Confit & Toasted Black Rye Bread. Gail liked the duck broth, but she doesn't like the matzoh ball - "It's offensive to my people!" But she loves the Black Rye Bread. Tom said it would have been better if she had made the matzoh ball out of the rye bread.

JOSIE - "Home 305" - Puerco Asado, Black Bean Chorizo Croquette, Pickles & Mojo Sauce. Prior to the judges coming up to her station, guests are shown standing at Josie's table waiting for food to be served, and she's still cooking it and trying to plate it, all the while talking and doing her song-and-dance Josie Show. Sure enough, she does the same with the judges, and she says "You can't get any closer to my heart with the dishes I'm cooking!" Tom says "hopefully you can get it closer to the plate." Gail said the pork is dried out and flavorless. Tom agrees.

The judges discuss who could go home. Stefan and Micah both didn't do well, as well as Josie.

Back at the Stew Room, Padma comes in and asks to see Kristen, Sheldon, and Josh. They're obviously in the top group! From concept to execution, Tom said the one dish showed what the concept could be for each cheftestant. The two winners? Kristen and Sheldon! What a great birthday present for Sheldon - $10,000! :-) And Kristen is now up to $45,000 for her monetary total so far. Josh is disappointed.

But Kristen and Sheldon will face off in less than 48 hours. They are given dossiers as to the details they'll need to know. They will each receive completely empty spaces to be built up from scratch. They can staff the restaurants now when they go back to meet the other chefs, but Padma tells them to choose wisely, as someone will *still* be eliminated tonight. Danny urges them to make sure to staff their restaurants with those they feel they can teach and who can execute their food as well as they would. The winner of Restaurant Wars will get a new Toyota Avalon.

They head back to Stew Room and they choose their staff members.

Kristen chooses Brooke, Lizzie, Josie.
Sheldon chooses Josh, Stefan, Micah.

Padma comes in asking to see Micah, Lizzie, and Josie. Kristen realizes her odds are *not* good with two women in the bottom group.

Gail tells Micah there were so many pieces of fish that you couldn't differentiate between them. Tom said he'd rather have 1 piece of fish sliced in front of them vs. the Pu-Pu platter of fish.

Lizzie is asked how she came up with the concept. Lizzie said she was aiming for northeastern Italian, but perhaps she wasn't gracious enough to explain it to them when they were at the table. Tom tells her the dumpling wasn't cooked enough. Gail said if you're going to get that specific, "God is in the details."

Padma asks Josie how she thinks she did. She said she got good feedback and gave everyone the option of crispy pork or fattier pork. Danny said when he tried to put his fork in the pork and the pork fought back, he knew it was going to be a problem. Gail said the pork was so bland, all she tasted was grease. Tom said "The Josie Show, time and time again - it seems that in an effort to put that show on, you're forgetting some basic things."

And after commercial break, Padma tells Micah to PYKAG! Wow. I really really REALLY thought it was going to be Josie, dammit! But if anyone can beat CJ in LCK, it might be Micah.

They show previews for Restaurant Wars - it's Girls vs. Guys. It'll be interesting!

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  1. Linda I can't imagine how you do such thorough recaps in such short time. Blows my mind.

    As far as Micah going and not Josie: WHAT THE WHAT? All I can figure is that if you are going to serve raw food on a cooking show, it had better be exactly right. I think that's a rule. Like with salad.

    2 Replies
    1. re: ennuisans

      Fast typist and pause/rewind on the DVR. :-D

    2. Kristen has to be the odds on favorite by now. She is cooking at a different level than everyone else. Right now, it's hers to lose.
      Even Josie thought Josie would be sent home. Please put her (and us) out of her misery and send her home.
      Micah's dish did look like a mess and I didn't really get it either.
      German Thai food from Stefan? I don't know about that either.
      Josh was pretty sour when not winning but he had really no chance.
      Next week looks pretty interesting though it will be interesting for the guys with just 3 of them working. That will be hard to pull off. Also lloks as though Kristen may clash with... drum roll... Josie! There's a shocker. Someone clashing with Josie.

      Oh yeah, it's always interesting to see who the chefs pick for restaurant wars. We learn who they think are the best and worst of those remaining. 1st pick: Brooke. Last pick: Josie. 2nd: Josh - that through me off a bit.

      14 Replies
      1. re: bobbert

        Did anyone know that Josie was a football player?

        1. re: John E.

          She mentions it often and they have shown pix of her in uniform

          1. re: C. Hamster

            Maybe that's what affected her brain? ;)

          2. re: John E.

            Lol. She played professional football don't ya know. ;)

            Can't she go home already?

            1. re: John E.

              Didn't know.

              But certainly wasn't surprised.

              1. re: John E.

                I remember it from her first season. I DON'T remember her being so loudly obnoxious though!

              2. re: bobbert

                The drama when Kristin did *Not* pick Stefan....

                Will she still be his wifey?

                1. re: bobbert

                  I suspect they were picking based on who they thought had the best chance of staying on, since at that point they didn't know the bottom 3. Josh was in the top so he was a sure thing for Sheldon's team.

                  1. re: bobbert

                    I'm still scratching my head over the fact that Kristen didn't pick Stefan and did pick Josie.

                    And I think that selection of Josie may actually level the playing field regarding 4 members vs 3. The preview comment about babysitting Josie flashed me back to a situation at work years ago. There was one team member on a software development project who was just godawful (really, he was in the wrong field). As soon as he was removed, the project ran smoothly and completed on time. We referred to the situation as "addition by subtraction." I'm thinking the situation may be that the other 3 ladies will have to spend so much time babysitting and correcting Josie's mistakes, the guys won't be at such a disadvantage (assuming, of course, they work well together).

                    1. re: gaffk

                      we're all beyond irritated by josie's shtick and amateurish execution, but landing on kristen's squad, combined with the guys only having three (someone does the front of the house, so we should expect chaos), gives her a better chance of surviving another week than the men. sheldon will be particularly vulnerable as the team leader.

                      1. re: moto

                        it could be trickery on the elves part, but the previews make it seem both teams are close in a disappointing Restaurant Wars. Years ago, (TC 3) the results were so bad they made them do it over.

                        1. re: John E.

                          Yep, those elves are a tricky bunch. But I'm pinning my hopes on the preview of Josie whining that it wasn't her concept. Of course, since that seems to indicate Josie's on the hook next week, she will probably win ;)

                          1. re: John E.

                            Yes, and I wasn't sure it wasn't their trickery leading us to believe Josie was the subject of the babysitting comment.

                      2. re: bobbert

                        I thought Sheldon was (smartly) playing the odds by picking Josh. Since Josh was in the top three, he was the only remaining participant (since Brooke, who had immunity, had already been picked) who couldn't be going home.

                      3. So glad that sinigang won tonight. Filipino fusion should be interesting next week as a restaurant theme....will josh the master of pork make some sisig?

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Xericx

                          I'm really looking forward to the Filipino fusion, too. It'll be interesting to see what the guests have to say about it. Seattle's a pretty cosmopolitan city, but I don't think I've ever seen a Filipino restaurant there. Lots of Japanese and dim sum restaurants, not to mention Italian and even Hawaiian plate lunch places.

                          1. re: KailuaGirl

                            There are tons of Filipino restaurants here. There's even one right in Pike Place Market. There's a couple on Beacon Hill, another few in the Rainier Valley, and a few up by Northgate. That's just off the top of my head.

                            On top of that, there are even more Filipinos in town, and I feel like almost everyone I know has stories about the amazing Filipino food that a co-worker brings in at work potlucks. I'd say most Seattle folk who do a decent amount of eating will be at least lightly familiar with it.

                            1. re: dagoose

                              Clearly I haven't been to Seattle recently enough. Time for another trip! I love eating in Seattle - great food, and always a great climate whenever I've been there (which is often). Health issues and family obligations have kept me from any travel for a few years now. Having said that, I still look forward to Filipino fusion food.

                        2. Just popped by to say thanks Linda and good night! Watching it a second time, and noticed Micah says he lot 25 pounds eating raw food.

                          15 Replies
                          1. re: Shrinkrap

                            I thought the concept of raw food was that it was vegan. I was surprised that he was considering meat or fish at all. I suspect that he lost rather than Josie because not only was his execution was not good, but the judges were not wowed by the concept. They have often judged someone poorly when they didn't actually cook anything.

                            1. re: chicgail

                              That's exactly what I was thinking last night while recapping. He didn't COOK anything. He had Kuniko slice his fish. He made some type of vinaigrette to go on top, but that seemed to be it.

                              I still wish Josie had gone, however.

                              1. re: chicgail

                                Raw food can be vegetarian/vegan but the idea behind it is that something happens to proteins when they're cooked that is (blah blah pseudo science bad juju) and that's what you avoid. By eating uncooked foods you're supposed to be getting the maximum nutrients out of the food.

                                Which is obviously what Tom and Padma and Gail are most concerned about when they're judging. God, what an idiot. To paraphrase Fabien, this is Top Chef not Top Sanctimonious Health Nut. Not saying the concept could never work (hello beef tartare!) but you're really making it hard on yourself, and not in an edgy taking a risk and see if it pays off kind of way.

                                1. re: reiney

                                  Sanctimonious Health Nut never goes well on TC.

                                  And didn't he say something about how LA women want to eat healthy? Does that mean they have to eat raw? I am so not down with notion that raw=better, whether it's allegedly healthier or less fattening or certainly better tasting. In some cases, not cooking food is not only better for you, it's downright dangerous.

                                  1. re: chicgail

                                    The look on Tom's face when Micah said that about the LA women was priceless. Really, if your cooking standard is for women who don't like to eat and do it out of necessity, you're not going to win.

                                    At the same time, didn't Kuniko say, "Good idea" to Micah when he told her he was going to precut all the fish?

                                    1. re: chowser

                                      I thought the same thing about Tom's look at first but then watched it 2 more times (I work overnight with a tv in front of me) and I'm more convinced that the look was more geared towards a "omg, what a mess" than in response to the dieting women.

                                      1. re: chowser

                                        Gail had a similar look on her face... almost more like she was insulted.

                                        1. re: chowser

                                          "The look on Tom's face when Micah said that about the LA women was priceless. Really, if your cooking standard is for women who don't like to eat and do it out of necessity, you're not going to win."

                                          Exactly! Oh, that just killed me. In fact my first thought when Micah said he lost 25 pounds eating raw food was that eating food that either tastes bad or doesn't provide a lot of nourishment is also a good way to lose a lot of weight in a hurry. I know that's not at all what he meant but he didn't present a very convincing example of what he did mean.

                                        2. re: chicgail

                                          I thought he said something about LA woman being concerned about their WEIGHT which is not nearly as politically correct. I thought THAT was why Tom and Padma exchanged looks.

                                            1. re: Shrinkrap

                                              That's what I noted in the OP: "If you're in a chef in Beverly Hills, you have to please a lot of ladies who watch their figure. Tom and Gail both look at each other with puzzled faces."

                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                I think it's subtle and editing is in play but I'm sticking by my view that, as Micah is saying that, Tom and Gail are looking at his plates and then looking at each other thinking "omg, this is a mess". Of all the politically incorrect statements made during a season, Micah's was so tame by comparison that there's no way the statement alone would elicit that look. Watch it a few more times and you'll see what I'm talking about.

                                                1. re: bobbert

                                                  Just a FEW more times? When I have five days, 2 hours and 45 minutes left to dissect it?

                                                  1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                    I got stuck in front of a tv all night. My choice was repeated top chefs or Jersey shore.

                                        3. re: chicgail

                                          Raw food isn't necessarily vegan, but it often is because people are generally more open to eating vegetables raw than meat.

                                          I was surprised he didn't prepare something more vegetable-centric -- he could have gotten really creative instead of making the same old raw fish plate that someone always makes when they run out of other ideas.

                                      2. Loved the quickfire challenge even with the product placement and than goodness they got to use real ginger and not the ginger ale. Fennel and ginger is such a good a good combo. The squid looked so good. I think Brooke got points for both using the ginger ale and fresh ginger. Having flavor in a dish is a real basic, how can a chef not have that?

                                        I'm thinking Brooke is the stealth contestant. She just seems to be getting better and better with each episode. I would love a final three of Brooke, Sheldon and Kristen but I'm sure they will have one drama filled chef in the final three.

                                        Having been to the area Lizzie was referring to in North-East Italy I'm sad her concept didn't come together because the food is great and there need to be more places serving it.

                                        Love seeing Filipino food featured and that's a heck of lot prettier than other version of the dish I've seen.

                                        Crudo can be so good, as good as sushi but Micah seems to really not do it well. Still I was surprised boring but edible won out over hard to eat pork.Usually if the food is inedible it's PYKAG .

                                        I can understand Kristen not picking Josh or Stefan because they are essentially going to be her line chefs and neither of them seem very good at taking direction and doing what other people want. Neither does Josie for that matter.

                                        14 Replies
                                        1. re: tjinsf

                                          Did anyone notice the beauty shot for Stevia in the middle of this? It seemed to serve no purpose at all for the furthering of the telling of tonight's episode. All I could think was that it was to fulfill some contractual product placement promise.

                                          1. re: chicgail

                                            Stevia or erythritol? :-) It did seem totally out of place.

                                            1. re: chicgail

                                              LOL, yes, the close up of the Truvia package w/ the contestants in the background.

                                              1. re: chicgail

                                                I think I'm getting better at just ignoring all the product placement since it happens every five minutes.

                                              2. re: tjinsf

                                                tjinsf, thanks for chiming in on the "prettier version" of Sheldon's dish, which Padma also noted. So is the usual dish just a jumble of ingredients, or an off color?

                                                Re: Kristen not choosing Stefan - she chose Brooke first, as I think she knows she's a good bit better than Stefan. But she and Stefan have a good relationship - I think if she *had* gotten a chance to pick him before Sheldon did, Stefan would have done what she asked.

                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                  In my experience, sinigang is often brown meat and dull green vegetables that have been boiled a long time. A lot of home-cooked Filipino food is mostly brown and dull green (think vegetables that have been stewed a long time rather than blanched).

                                                    1. re: FoodPopulist

                                                      <A lot of home-cooked Filipino food is mostly brown and dull green (think vegetables that have been stewed a long time rather than blanched).>

                                                      I think that depends upon who the home cook is. I'm not Filipino, but I have a number of friends whose food I have enjoyed often, and nothing any of them have ever served me could be described as above.

                                                      OTOH, in Filipino restaurants I have tried, I have definitely seen that kind of unappetizing, overcooked food, and not just stewed, but also "over-fried" as well. (That is until Maharlika!)

                                                      1. re: FoodPopulist

                                                        yeah that's been my experience too of eating it too both in Filipino homes and restaurants. It's not unappealing, it's just the look isn't important.

                                                      2. re: LindaWhit

                                                        There was a clip after the challenge of Stefan telling Kristen not to talk to other men--tightly edited, maybe a second of screen time--which preceded the choices of chefs. I think the producers are just trying to cram some drama in where it will fit.

                                                        1. re: ennuisans

                                                          I caught that but I thought it was all joking.

                                                      3. re: tjinsf

                                                        Kristen, Brooke and Sheldon clearly would be the final 3 favorites, as nobody else remaining has won an elimination challenge (John, Carla, and Kuniko were the other winners). Kristen has 4 wins, Brooke 2, and Sheldon 1.

                                                        And Josie is the only other chef with a win, she won a QF (Sheldon has won 2, Brooke 2, and Kristen 1).

                                                        Brooke, Lizzie, Sheldon and Stefan have 2 "lows", while Josh has 4 (but 3 "Highs") and Josie 5 (no "Highs", and would have been eliminated in the 3rd episode had she not won that week's QF). Get rid of Josie!

                                                        1. re: tjinsf

                                                          Here's my issue with the product placement: Canada Dry is all "yay we use real ginger" while glossing over the fact that they use high fructose corn syrup. I'm no top chef, just a home cook, and i wouldn't use HFCS in anything I made. It's like cornstarch -- someone at that level should just know better.

                                                          1. re: JonParker

                                                            Sorry to hear that. I'll stop contaminating my bourbon with it now I know.