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Jan 23, 2013 07:37 PM

Top Chef Seattle - Ep. #12 - 01/23/13 (Spoilers)

OK, let's get the show on the road. They're back in the suite the next day. Stefan said "The Ex-Wife is gone but she'll be back with Last Chance Kitchen." Brooke said if she ever knew it would go that way, she would have stood up for Kristen. Meanwhile, Josie says to Lizzie that she feels heavy this morning, but she can't sit at the Judges Table and just go home without everyone hearing what's going on. She said this is the only elimination where she feels guilty. Like DUH!

They head back to TC Kitchen, and Master Sushi Chef Katsuya Uechi is there with Padma. The Quickfire Challenge requires them to create their own sushi. Padma notes there is no immunity from here on out, but the winner will receive $5,000. They have 30 minutes.

Brooke has sushi at least 3 times a week, so she's hoping to do well for Chef Uechi. Josh is using bacon in his sushi - Stefan calls it a breakfast sandwich with bacon and eggs. Meanwhile, Stefan doesn't know what he wants to do. Josie is talking to Stefan as to what she's going to make, and Stefan looks up and says "What?" with an "I'm not listening to you" look on his face. Stefan is going to make 2 items - both without rice.

Stefan - Yellowtail with Grilled Shiitake & Raw Lobster with Seaweed & Unagi - Uechi asks if he seared the lobster; Stefan replies no; Uechi likes it.

Josie - Halibut with Yuzu & Bacon Aioli - Padma asks Uechi if he has ever used bacon in sushi; he replies no, but the idea was good, although it could use a little more punch.

Lizzie - Lobster, Micro Greens & Pickled Ginger with Yuzu-Sake Broth - Uechi said if a bit of rice was put underneath, it would be good.

Brooke - Octopus with Yuzu & Grated Wasabi - the yuzu gave it a clean taste; Uechi said it was good.

Josh - Tempura Bacon, Omelette, Salmon Belly & Yuzu Kosho Aioli - Uechi said the bacon was too greasy, and then said Hmmmm.

Sheldon - Hamachi Sashimi with Fresh Ponzu, Mitsuba & Lemon Charcoal - Uechi noticed the lemon charcoal and said it was interesting.

Uechi said the least favorites were: Lizzie and Josh
The favorites were: Brooke and Stefan

The winner is Stefan. He finally wins after 27 challenges in both his appearances on Top Chef! LOL

Padma welcomes Tom C. and David Chang, chef/owner of Momofuku Noodle Bar and Ma Peche. What's the Elimination Challenge? Tom tells them that there are several visiting chefs in town, including David Chang. He's rented a house while in town, and the cheftestants are cooking for a dinner that night. Tom said he's in the mood for fried chicken. Josh said it's right up his alley. Tom notes who will be the judges - Wolfgang, Emeril, Jonny & Vinny from Son of a Gun, and Michelle Bernstein.

The winner will get a year's supply of Terlato wine. Stefan said "365 bottles of wine? That'll last me 3 months." LOL

They have 30 minutes to prep. And Stefan says another funny in the confessional: "I like breasts a lot. You can hold onto thighs much better, but I like both. Depending on the size.......of the chicken." And then he says "Oops!" with a funny little boy grin.

Josh has been having fried chicken since he was young made by his grandfather. He's brining from the inside. Josie said "I've got this one in the bag! It's in my blood!" Brooke tells Josh she's going to hate her chicken. After seeing what she's doing, he said he's going to break up with her after this chicken challenge.

They pack the Toyota Highlanders and head off to Tom's house. Josie said she has a secret blend of flours she uses. Stefan asks, she won't tell him what it is. He said "I'm not going to steal your dish!" Josie asks "How do you say 'Kiss my ass?' in German?" Stefan says something to her in German as if he's tell her how to say it, which she repeats. Stefan then says "Do you know what that means? It means 'I'm going home next.'" Josie laughs - but I'm hoping it's from Stefan's mouth to the judge's votes!

They have 1 hour to cook. Josie said she's going to be able to serve 2 dishes - and says if she can execute, she'll seal the deal. (OK, notice how MUCH camera time Josie's getting about saying she's going to win? Please, please, please, please?????)

Stefan's making a Chicken Cordon Bleu fried chicken? Ummm... Josh is smoking his chicken before frying it using the brown paper bag dredging method.

The judges arrive: Tom C., Wolfgang, Emeril, Padma, Vinny Dotolo, chef/owner of Animal and Son of a Gun, Michelle Bernstein, chef/owner of Michy's, Jon Shook, chef/owner of Animal and Son of a Gun. Tom has a great idea for Wolfgang - he creates a chain of fried chicken restaurants and calls them Wolfgang Cluck. :-D

Meanwhile, Brooke doesn't have enough oil, and doesn't have enough time to cook the chicken skin that she's removed from her chicken breasts. She now has a boring boneless chicken breast. Rut-roh!

One of Josie's fryers isn't work; Lizzie said as soon as she's done, she can use hers. Meanwhile, Sheldon's oil is too hot and burns the first batch. Josie said time is running out, so she's going to have to forget the chicken wings. She notes "Time management seems to be my Achilles heel, but I'm not too worried. I know how to make the most delicious fried chicken you've ever damn tasted!"

First to serve are Sheldon, Josie, and Lizzie. Josie says to the confessional camera that the last time she was on TC, Michelle Bernstein was one of the judges who sent her home, so she doesn't like Michelle at her dinner table.

LIZZIE - Chicken with Coriander, Black Pepper & Brown Sugar Rub with Peach-Cabbage Slaw - Vinny and David likes it, but Tom said Lizzie doesn't really understand fried chicken. The last thing that anyone should do is bone the breast and fry it when you're given a whole chicken. But Tom *does* like the salad.

JOSIE - Chicken with Black Garlic, Cayenne, Thyme & Hot Sauce with Daikon Salad - Jon Shook said that Josie tried to pitch them on the "Southern style" by serving on a banana leaf, but he and Emeril agree that they would run her right out of the South. Wolfgang said it was too greasy - Emeril passes over the banana-leafed plate and it shows the leftover grease. Vinny said it wasn't hot; there was no spice. Michelle said she had to put it down - she couldn't eat more of it.

SHELDON - Umami Drumsticks & Thighs, Wings with Usukuchi & Grapeseed Oil - Both Emeril and Tom C. liked his chicken a lot, and Tom gives him extra credit for thinking outside the box. Wolfgang notes he didn't get any extra wings because Tom ate them all (which he didn't - he only shared with Michelle *one* wing). David notes that when you serve, make sure there's enough for everyone. But Wolfgang holds up the bone from his chicken and it was clean as a whistle!

Back in the kitchen, Brooke realizes there is 15 minutes to plate and she's done cooking. She keeps them warm in the oven and then puts them back in the fryer to get the crust crispy again.

Next up - Brooke, Josh and Stefan. Interestingly, before the judges try the dishes, Padma asks Jon and Vinny if they recognize Brooke. It seems they interviewed through her years ago for line cook positions, and she didn't hire them. Oops! LOL Padma says they won't hold it against her.

STEFAN - Chicken Cordon Bleu with Garlic Aioli & Lemon - Emeril said he has the Chicken Cordon Blues right now. Vinny said "Wasn't he already on Top Chef? Do you get another chance when you're doing Cordon F*ckin' Bleu - it's really weird. You're going for $125,000 - I'd put your ass on the line a bit more."

JOSH - Smoked Fried Chicken with Hot Sauce & Blue Cheese - Michelle loves the combination; Tom loves the idea of smoked fried chicken.

BROOKE - Dukkah-crusted Chicken Breast with Wilted Escarole & Tomato Salad - Wolfgang asks "Why the f*ck they have no bones? There are no bones!" He asks "What is this show called here?" Padma responds "Top Chef." Wolfgang said "I wouldn't even call it The Apprentice - and I know that name's taken already." Tom said it's dried out, Michelle says she doesn't know why she took a chicken breast and overcooked it. Vinny says "I'm glad I didn't get the job!" Ouch!

Jon Shook said "I feel almost embarrassed that the L.A. chefs rolled out here with just breasts." Wolfgang replies "It's L.A.! There's plastic surgery everywhere!"

The cheftestants head back to the suite, as Judges Table will be the next morning. (Probably a good idea as the judges were well on their way to being schnockered!) Brooke and Stefan dissect their dishes; Sheldon plays the ukelele for Josh, who falls asleep. The next morning, Stefan is show speaking to his Mom in Finland, who has had Parkinson's Disease for the past 18 years.

They head back to the Stew Room. Padma comes in to ask to see Josh, Sheldon and Lizzie. And they are the top group! Lizzie's chicken was fried perfectly, not greasy, but Wolfgang said it wasn't fried chicken the way *he* would think of it, but Lizzie says she isn't familiar with the dish. Tom said her salad was great. Josh's smoked chicken was a clever take on a traditional dish, per David Chang. Emeril said it was darn good. Padma notes the two different types of chicken on Sheldon's dish - he said he wanted one savory, one sweet. Tom said the only thing wrong with it was that everyone wanted more! Tom said "I ordered a 16 piece bucket - I think we only got 10." Sheldon said it was the short amount of time.

David Chang announces the winner, and it's Josh! he wins 365 bottles of Terlato wines. They are asked to send back the rest of the chefs. Out to JT heads Stefan, Josie and Brooke. :::Whooshing camera shots:::

Brooke notes it was one of the most difficult challenges for her, probably because of its simplicity. Removing the meat from the bone removed the vehicle that helps with flavor, per Tom. Wolfgang said she overthought the entire process, and it did the exact opposite of impressing them.

Josie is asked what her intent was with her dish, and she replies she wanted to use every piece of the chicken, but a fryer was down, so she went with the boneless pieces of chicken. David Chang said there was a pool of grease on the banana leaf, so it was a gut-bomb of chicken, and not in a good way. Josie starts in with more excuses about time constraints (Tom looks *very* frustrated with her comment) and she had to go from the fryer to the plate. Tom notes that it seems to be happening a lot - last week with the bouillabaisse and this week with the chicken. She said she was "wasting time..." and Tom cuts her off and says "Exactly. You're wasting time." She said everyone who tasted it thought it was delicious. Tom said "I guess everyone (and he looks around and lists all the judges and guests) don't know what we're talking about." Josie said "That's not what I meant."

Padma asks Stefan why chicken cordon bleu. He said "I grew up in Europe; we don't have fried chicken like you guys do in America." Tom asks Wolfgang where he grew up, and Wolfgang said in Austria - and one of their most famous Viennese dishes is fried chicken. Stefan said this was his twist on fried chicken, but Tom refutes that this is a "twist". Tom said it's what you get in bad banquets and that Stefan is not looking to give them what was asked for, but make something that will be good enough to get him through and Stefan says "No!" Emeril notes that it wasn't even good Cordon Bleu. As they walk out, Padma notes to Tom "Such a bullshitter. SUCH a bullshitter!"

The judges deliberate. David said the lack of flavor alone of Brooke's dish should send her home. Tom said he'd rather eat her dish rather than Josie's greasy fried chicken. Padma said that Josie at least gave them fried chicken, and Tom says "Greasy, nasty fried chicken!" David notes that her reasoning of "I ran out of time" doesn't help her - timing is everything in the kitchen. Tom said "It's the Josie Show!" David is perplexed at Stefan's Chicken Cordon Bleu. Padma said she doesn't even know the last time she saw it on a menu. Emeril said he got it 2 flights ago. Padma said she could send Stefan home for his outright lying to the judges.

An they're back - Tom does his review, and Padma asks JOSIE TO LEAVE!!!!!!!! WOOOOOO HOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm doing the Happy Dance right now!

Josh notes in the confessional "Thank God the Josie Show has been cancelled! It's getting rid of Josie in the kitchen, but it also gets rid of her laugh."

I'm SO going to watch LCK tonight as well! Kristen - time to get revenge! Ahh shoot! They don't have the video up yet. Dammit - I'll have to wait until tomorrow.

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  1. <cue choirs of angels>

    And it's up now, if you're still awake, Ldubs. ;)

    I really do want to try both Josh and Sheldon's chickens. Josh had me with the smoke, but I was afraid he might end up overcooking it. Glad to see that it was apparently as amazing as it sounded. But I still need more details on Sheldon's "umami" chicken, because I'm an umami junkie. I mean, was this just judicious use of MSG (doubt it), or were there delicious fermenty things involved??? I require more info!

    All I know is, this particular dinner party is very high on my "Most Want to Be Invited" list. By all appearances, all of the judges and guest judges were having a great time.

    42 Replies
    1. re: Wahooty

      Hugh's blog is also already up. Some choice quips in there that I won't spoil for those who have yet to read:

      Except...okay...I'll spoil this one:
      "Tom really goes after Josie. It’s a little like a tiger attacking a defenseless lawn gnome wearing a headband."

        1. re: Wahooty

          Hugh is hilarious, as always. I just wanted to give you a "heads up" that there's a LCK spoiler in Tom's blog, which is also up already.

          1. re: Wahooty

            The judges were visibly annoyed at Josie's shenanigans up to that point: her inability to deal with time, her play with Kristin's integrity at Judge's Table (maybe that was my annoyance), her food that just wasn't <that> good. She would have had to totally transformed herself to survive. And she didn't.

            1. re: Wahooty

              My favorite Hugh zinger was: "The judges' panel looks like they have been watching reruns of Scooby Doo all day and eating Cheetos." Didn't they though.

              1. re: ratgirlagogo

                LOL! And I forgot to read the blogs this morning before work! Off to do that.

              2. re: Wahooty

                OK, now he outdid himself this time! My two favorites (the first speaking of Josie serving sushi on naked women at her parties):

                "There is nothing that can compare with eating seaweed salad out of a belly button. Yup, there I’ve gone and made myself shiver with disgust again. Must stop doing that. "


                "They prep and butcher chickens. Stefan sexualizes the experience. He can so this with anything. I wear gloves around him, and you should too. Can’t take any chances. "

                1. re: LindaWhit

                  He's on fire this week. Also:

                  "Josie has made Helluva Halibut with Blistering Bacon and Jammin’ Yuzu. Trademark has been applied for."

                  "Josh, what are you doing? “Basically, I know breakfast.” Huh? They say sushi and you say breakfast? I am confounded. He has made a salmon belly rice sandwich with bacon and an omelette, pleasing all the non-kosher Jewish-Japanese people who are looking for a new rice sandwich."

                  1. re: LindaWhit

                    Yeah, eating sushi off a naked woman is not up there on my bucket list.

                    Those folks sitting around the table overlooking that lovely view must have been drinking a mess of wine. They were having a good time.

                    1. re: LindaWhit

                      I had that thought too. She looks about 22 (but then again I'm an old you-know-what, so everyone starts to look 22 to me)

                      1. re: LindaWhit

                        I really wondered about Stephan's dish. Sure, chicken cordon bleu is old-school, but I kind of like it as a comfort food. And when they ate it, they kept saying it was a bad version, but they didn't say *why* it was a bad version. How can you mess that up? I didn't think it was BSing either. He was saying he did what was his interpretation. Isn't that what they are *supposed* to do?

                        1. re: DGresh

                          Well, Tom C. did say he wanted classic fried chicken.

                          1. re: LindaWhit

                            Linda, Tom said he said he wanted classic fried chicken. But as I recall, there was nothing explicit about southern fried chicken or American fried chicken and they even said something about fried chicken being made around the world.

                            (If Stefan's chicken sucked, that should be enough, but that is a different issue.)

                            1. re: hambone

                              I downloaded it from BravoOnDemand and checked. (I'm kind of OCD that way.) He never gives any kind of indication that it has to be southern/American style fried chicken.

                              1. re: hambone

                                No, he didn't. But I think for many people, "classic fried chicken" means southern fried chicken in a cast iron pan, the way Minny made fried chicken in "The Help".

                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                  Which is strange because it wasnt clear the chefs had use of the stove for frying... they all had fryers set up outdoors. Guess that was the only way they could accomodate that many people all at once.

                                  1. re: cwdonald

                                    Yes, but it's also possible to have a burner set-up outdoors as well.

                              2. re: LindaWhit

                                Yes, but - ah I am having a Brain fart - I can't remember her name, but the accented woman - she was in the top 3 and she didnt make a classic friend ...

                          2. re: Wahooty

                            Tom's blog confused me a bit: he gave his basic-no-frills-this-is-how-you-do-it fried chicken recipe, and, like, step one was remove the skin. Is this a thing? I've never had fried chicken without skin, except once at a German restaurant. Is it a Yankee thing?

                            I've gone ahead and made Yukon Cornelius my avatar. I'll change it once Josh is voted off, but it's too much fun right now.

                            1. re: NonnieMuss

                              ::::Giggling at Nonnie's avatar::::

                              And I was wondering about the no-skin on fried chicken as well. A quick Google for "Best ever fried chicken" comes up with these - all with skin on:

                              From a protegé of Edna Lewis:


                              Bon Appetit:

                              And, as much as hate to link something from Paula Deen:

                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                I read that "remove skin" instruction and thought, "over my dead body". And I have to say I've had lots of fried chicken, with the skin on, that wasn't soggy with grease.


                                1. re: JuniorBalloon

                                  It's like when you roast chicken in the oven- THE SKIN IS THE BEST PART!!!

                              2. re: NonnieMuss

                                Obviously Josh stole Sheldon's hat. That's where the picture came from.

                                1. re: NonnieMuss

                                  Yeah, definitely odd. The only thing I can think of is that he removes the skin because he's talking about deep-fried chicken, where the skin often becomes a greasy shell that pulls off with the first bite. But I'm on board with those that found it odd that nobody pan-fried their chicken, and pan-fried chicken without skin would end up horribly dry.

                                  Regardless, I think Tom's crazy. Even when greasy, the skin is definitely the best part.

                                  1. re: NonnieMuss

                                    Yes, I thought the comment about taking the skin off fried chicken was off the wall. Next he'll probably say that the best fried chicken is deep fried. Hey, he's from an Italian family, like me. What did I know about fried chicken until my husband made it for me. Maybe it is a Yankee thing!

                                    1. re: roxlet

                                      I read some of the comments on Tom's blog asking the same it a Yankee thing?...but there was one comment backing up the same method by someone from Alabama.

                                      <shrug> I don't get it.

                                      1. re: Wahooty

                                        I'm a Yankee and I never heard of making skin-off fried chicken.

                                        1. re: chicgail

                                          I'm a former Yankee and would rather have fried chicken skin than fried skinless chicken.

                                          1. re: chicgail

                                            To be clear, the commenters were asking if it was a Yankee thing, not me. Technically, I come from a Yankee-ish family, and we always had our chicken skin-ON. I don't know anybody, Yankee or otherwise, that doesn't. Which is why the comments were illuminating - Tom may be odd, but he's certainly not alone, regardless of what side of the Mason-Dixon line he's on.

                                            ETA: Twitter can be used for good instead of evil! For the record, Hugh fries the same way I do - cast iron, skin-on. I knew there was a reason I loved that man.

                                            1. re: Wahooty

                                              Hugh is in the south, isn't he? If he cooked chicken any other way, they'd probably give him a ticket north!

                                              1. re: roxlet

                                                He is in the South of the US, but originally from Montreal I think. This explains his twitter avatar nicely....

                                                1. re: dbrodbeck

                                                  Ottawa, actually, but yep, he does appear to be a Habs fan. His restaurants are in Athens and Atlanta.

                                                  1. re: Wahooty

                                                    He should go to Greenewoods in Roswell. Best fried chicken in the world.

                                                    1. re: Wahooty

                                                      Hey, he's from my hometown! Somehow that makes me like him more. (Also, two Canadian judges, hooray!)

                                    2. re: Wahooty

                                      Yup - I just watched LCK, Wahooty. And I LOVE your choir of angels! LOL And hopefully Sheldon's Umami Fried Chicken recipe will be up on the Bravo Recipe Finder by tomorrow.

                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                        Is that a spoiler? I HOPE?

                                        Thanks for the excellent recap!!

                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                          Here we go! Sheldon's brine is definitely something I'll try at some point:


                                          And Josh's, which aside from the smoking (which isn't mentioned in the recipe) does seem to be a pretty traditional take:

                                      2. You can tell Tom was totally sick of the Josie show. Padma aside, I think Stefan was safe. Brooke almost saved Josie - she really blew it. Imagine not having hired the Animal guys as line cooks? Wow.
                                        My feeling was that Josh had Sheldon to thank for the win. I'm pretty sure they liked Sheldon's the best but having had to throw some out left Sheldon short and that's what kept him from the win.
                                        Now, if there truly is a god, Kristan will finally put Josie out of her (and our) misery and knock her out of LCK.

                                        1. I think it must be easy to over think these challenges on Top Chef. Brooke nearly over thought herself out of the competition like CJ did. Tom did say they wanted good fried chicken. Only Josie and Josh actually made American Fried Chicken. Sheldon's chicken was good and Lizzie's Shake 'n Bake was good too.

                                          I like smoked chicken. I like fried chicken. I don't think I want my fried chicken smoked (and I don't want my ribs fried).

                                          Hey Josh, almost every home cook of a certain era used a brown paper bag to flour the chicken, I know my mother did, but she used a smaller sack, (like the kind you get at the liquor store).

                                          I bet if Josie had her oil at the correct temperature she would still be in the competition. (I know, I know, if the dog wouldn't have stopped to take a crap, he would have caught the rabbit too).

                                          12 Replies
                                          1. re: John E.

                                            Well, thank God the dog stopped to crap. The bunny lives to see another day. :-)

                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                              The 'bunny' must have been interviewing and hiring line cooks while she was quite young.

                                              1. re: John E.

                                                ::::snort:::: Yeah, either she was REALLY young, or she looks damn good for her age! Her bio doesn't give her age, but she started her culinary career @ age 15, and at 18, was a pastry assistant. Also the youngest chef to ever cook at the James Beard House.


                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                  She is 34 according to the top chef wiki.

                                            2. re: John E.

                                              >>I like smoked chicken. I like fried chicken. I don't think I want my fried chicken smoked (and I don't want my ribs fried).

                                              To each their major moral dilemma with smoking chicken is the lack of crispiness. Yeah, you can crisp it on the grill after the slow-smoking, but it's never quite as satisfying as a crispy roast chicken or fried chicken. I will be experimenting with this concept as soon as we have temperatures safely out of the single digits where I am right now. It will be mine.

                                              Agreed about Josie. As horrifying as her chicken seemed, I think had it been less greasy, she would have beat out Brooke. But I kept hoping that Brooke's sides/garnishes would have saved her, because Josie's plate actually frightened me. Stefan was just a disaster, so I would have tolerated him going home.

                                              1. re: Wahooty

                                                A Baltimore restaurant that I used to frequent (Bluegrass) had a smoked fried chicken thigh on the menu sometimes. It was delicious.

                                                1. re: Wahooty

                                                  I think the idea of smoked fried chicken was brilliant. It (almost) altered my opinion of Josh's abilities (and sensibilities) as a chef.

                                                  1. re: Wahooty

                                                    I smoke birds fairly often. That skin comes out crispy and IMHO, very satisfying. (Heck, think about Peking duck.)

                                                    Granted a cold smoke would not do this but unless you have the Top Chef constraint of time, that is not an issue.

                                                    1. re: hambone

                                                      I don't think his smoking process actually did any of the cooking. He just got some smoke flavor into his uncooked chicken before he battered and fried them up.


                                                      1. re: hambone

                                                        I'm not articulating's just not the same. When I crack open a chicken, if I'm craving crispy skin, it's just not the same *kind* of skin I get when I cook it on the grill under smoke. I love the idea of a crispy, crunchy fried chicken-style skin over tender smoked bird. I intend to try something like Josh did very soon. :)

                                                    2. re: John E.

                                                      "Hey Josh, almost every home cook of a certain era used a brown paper bag to flour the chicken..."

                                                      I know! So was it just the editing, or did Josh really feel the need to repeat 6 or 7 times that he was using a brown paper bag? Wonder why he didn't go on and on about using a cast iron pan.
                                                      "...I know my mother did, but she used a smaller sack, (like the kind you get at the liquor store). "
                                                      Liquor store? Clearly your mom knew how to have fun in the kitchen. :)

                                                    3. When the chefs were going into the stew room just before judging Josh said "this part always make me nauseous". Yes, Josh, you do have that effect on people.

                                                      In case anybody else is curious, I found Wolfgang Puck's recipe for the famous Viennese Fried Chicken.


                                                      65 Replies
                                                      1. re: John E.

                                                        he doesn't have that effect on me.

                                                        correcting a chef for their english is like correcting a college professor for their fried chicken.

                                                        1. re: linus

                                                          You might have a point if I were actually correcting anyone. I was just making a wiseass comment on an internet message board. I've never met Josh, have never eaten at his restaurant that he closed in OK. I don't plan on eating his desserts in Texas either.

                                                        2. re: John E.

                                                          I was really surprised based on Wolfgang's comments during the show that his recipe is for boneless, skinless chicken cut into chunks. Wasn't he all about the bones in most of his comments . . . .

                                                          1. re: thimes

                                                            He most certainly was all about the bones. Interesting.

                                                            1. re: thimes

                                                              Wolfgang sounded drunk throughout most of the dinner, to be honest. He seemed one step away from dancing on the table.

                                                              1. re: piccola

                                                                he did. he has a such a silly, old man's sense of humor. i forget some joke he met when he was sitting down, standing behind one of the other judges, but it was a bit of cringe-y moment.

                                                            2. re: John E.

                                                              Hmmm. Sounds a bit more like fried chicken tenders than fried chicken! All the pieces are boneless and skinless, and cut into chunks. Hardly the "fried chicken" he led us to believe is served in Vienna!

                                                              1. re: John E.

                                                                I agree with linus: I wanted to dislike Josh, and I still find that he makes an occasional comment that gets my eyes rolling, but he's one of the few chefs in the competition that I can stand at this point.

                                                                This is one of the worst seasons of Top Chef yet. Product placement saturation, overall poor cooking, and badly designed challenges (think the "Reynolds Wrap" challenge, which encompasses all three). Also, I hate the modified intro that features the chefs less prominently and doesn't mention their names: it took me much longer to feel any connection to any of them and know who they are.

                                                                Don't even get me started on bringing back previous cheftestants. I feel like this season has been the Josie and Stefan show, as the confessionals and drama seem to have largely surrounded them. They had their chance already: bringing them back was clearly a mistake, especially given the poor quality of their cooking.

                                                                I think this season will be my last season watching Top Chef.

                                                                    1. re: vorpal

                                                                      I'll say it: I *do* hate Padma. She seems to get more bitchy and querelous with each episode. She has never seemed like much of anything to me but a spoiled, pretentious, impatient, and even occasionally cruel person. I actually thought she seemed to have mellowed a bit earlier in this season but she's just as obnoxious as ever now. That horrible diction of hers doesn't help, either.

                                                                      1. re: TheCarrieWatson

                                                                        i never have any trouble understanding what padma says, and have trouble recalling any pretentious, spoiled or cruel thing she's said on 'top chef.'

                                                                        frankly, i think "spoiled, pretentious, impatient and cruel" could just as easily fit any of the judges who have been on the show.

                                                                        1. re: TheCarrieWatson

                                                                          Agreed - she's been rather obnoxious the last two episodes.

                                                                          1. re: TheCarrieWatson

                                                                            Padma is an empty vessel. No's she a judge? For that matter, I think Tommy's act is getting old. He is arbitrary and cocky. Have Emeril run the thing next year.

                                                                          2. re: vorpal

                                                                            I don't know. Although it would be hard to get a season better than 6, I think this season is drastically better than Season 9. Yes, there have been some annoying chefs and drama, but at least they're cooking. It's not like last season's stand-over-a-fire-pit-for-24-hours-in-110-heat-and-all-cook-the-same-dish. Or ride-a-bike-around-the-city-"looking"-for-a-kitchen-to-cook-in. Seems last season, they only got to cook BBQ, beans or chili. And then there was the ridiculous finale of chopping ingredients out of ice, cooking in gondolas, and cross country skiing. After that, I almost didn't tune in to this season, but I think it's an improvement.

                                                                            Agreed though . . . bringing back CJ, Josie and Stefan was just wrong.

                                                                            1. re: gaffk

                                                                              That is a good point. People bitched an awful lot about the challenges last season and it appears that the producers listened. Much more straightforward this season.

                                                                              Yet, remarkably, it seems like there still are people complaining about how this season stinks, the chefs stink, the challenges stink, and they're not watching anymore. ;-)

                                                                              1. re: LurkerDan

                                                                                'twas ever thus.
                                                                                i think the complaints started about 20 minutes into episode one, season one.

                                                                              2. re: gaffk

                                                                                i totally agree. i like that there are less ridiculous challenges

                                                                                i'm enjoying Stefan, though i do think it's unfair - new contestants shouldn't have to compete against old contestants. then again.... all's fair...

                                                                              3. re: vorpal

                                                                                I don't dislike Snidely. I don't dislike any of the contestants, even Josie. It's a television reality show. Nothing that happens on the show has any real impact on me. I guess that is why I didn't get outraged when Kristen was told PPYKAG last week.

                                                                                The product placement doesn't bother me. So far, they haven't forced the contestants do something really wierd like incorporating dogfood into their recipes. 

                                                                                I think some of the earlier seasons had contestants who were less skilled, experienced, and accomplished than even the chefs on TC 10. Some of the group ECs last season seemed to be less successful television programming than what has been put out this year, although that Pike Place EC was quite abysmal.

                                                                                1. re: John E.

                                                                                  "I think some of the earlier seasons had contestants who were less skilled, experienced, and accomplished than even the chefs on TC 10."
                                                                                  Agreed, season one especially for obvious reasons - the first season of a reality show will always get the most mixed bag of applicants.

                                                                                  1. re: ratgirlagogo

                                                                                    yep, the earlier seasons didn't have nearly the depth. Harold and Tiffani from season 1 are obviously very good, and I think you can say that about every season, that the very best of the season were quite good. But the 10th best chef, for ex, in the early seasons wasn't all that, whereas the 10th best on the later seasons was more likely to still be an accomplished chef.

                                                                                    For ex, Bart this season. or Heather (ugh) last season.

                                                                                2. re: vorpal

                                                                                  I still think it's way better than last season, both in terms of cooking ability and challenges. At least this time, they didn't have to bike from restaurant to restaurant and impress Pee Wee Herman.

                                                                                  1. re: piccola

                                                                                    I keep getting reminded how absolutely ridiculous last season was. This one has been so much better in that department.

                                                                                    1. re: DGresh

                                                                                      I agree. It seemed like last season hit the lows and now they're back to cooking. Product placement, sure, but no cross country skiing and potentially dangerous falls. No shooting blocks of ice, no chipping away at blocks of ice to get your ingredients. Even the aluminum wrap challenge had cooking creativity.

                                                                                      1. re: chowser

                                                                                        Fingers crossed it remains so, chowser!

                                                                                        This week's episode has them sailing to Alaska on a cruise ship, and they have to "transform iceberg lettuce into tasty appetizers." Get it? Alaska....iceberg. ::::groan::: OK, at least they don't have to chip the iceberg lettuce out of ice.

                                                                                        And it's another 75 minute episode. Which means I'll be getting to bed rather late. :-/

                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                          It would be worst if they were on a Titanic cruise, sorry couldn't resist. I think iceberg would be a good challenge. I think there is so much that can be done w/ iceberg and the wedge salad is just the tip of the...never mind. Thanks for staying up late to recap--very appreciated. I DVR it and watch it when I have time.

                                                                                            1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                              Haha, I need that to follow me around irl.

                                                                                        2. re: chowser

                                                                                          "No shooting blocks of ice..." You'll have to refresh my memory. When did they shoot blocks of ice?

                                                                                          1. re: John E.

                                                                                            The chopped at ice with knives, they shot in the biathalon competition for ingredients. Close enough for me!

                                                                                            1. re: John E.

                                                                                              At his restaurant in Harlem (Red Rooster) I believe that some sort of chicken is a signature dish. Ok I looked it up:

                                                                                              Fried Yard Bird


                                                                                          2. re: DGresh

                                                                                            I think I must have psychologically blotted out just how incredibly bad last season was, because now that everyone's reminding me, it's flooding back and I actually am relieved that this season is a step up.

                                                                                            1. re: vorpal

                                                                                              remember heather...she sure was a fun one.

                                                                                              1. re: trolley

                                                                                                I still posit that Season 5 was way WAY worse than Season 9. Paul Qui - 8 EC wins prior to the finale win. I'd take him, Edward, Beverly, and Grayson over TC5's Hosea (winner), Leah, Jeff, and Jamie any day of the week.

                                                                                                I grew to like Carla in that season, but Fabio ended up rubbing me the wrong way by the end of that season. And in All-Stars, he was more irritating than ever.

                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                  oh geez, did you have to bring up Hosea? and his lover Leah? eww! Yeah, very true. At least Paul seemed like he won rightfully where as Hosea seemed to just sort of squeak by and win by default.

                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                    I guess it's a different kind of worse. The talent on season 5 seemed weaker, but the challenges weren't cringeworthy (although the only one I really recall was the Dan Barber/Blue Hill Farm one).

                                                                                                    Last season, the talent seemed deeper, but the challenges were awful. To me, this was worse--you could imagine those chefs making wonderful food, but they were not allowed to.

                                                                                                    1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                      OK, on that I will absolutely agree with you, gaffk - the challenges sucked wind in TC9 to the nth degree.

                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                        Yes, the seasons were just two different versions of suckiness.

                                                                                                        And the mention of Hosea made me curious. He apparently has a catering company now with absolutely no events scheduled for 2013

                                                                                                        I think his publicist may want to revisit having a calendar tab.

                                                                                                        1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                          I think he's had that catering company since his season. ;-)

                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                            ROFL. I guess winning TC doesn't portend success in and of itself.

                                                                                                      2. re: gaffk

                                                                                                        agree. Last season the skill level of the chefs was pretty high but the challenges were very lowbrow and tested everything but cooking skills. Season five's chefs were just far less experienced and certainly had issues with consistant performances.

                                                                                                      3. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                        Am I the only one who actually liked season 5?
                                                                                                        In fact it might be my favorite season

                                                                                                        I loved Stefan, and Carla....and at the time, I liked Fabio allot as well..They made it fun to watch because they were enjoyable personalities
                                                                                                        If I like the people, I find it more enjoyable to watch.
                                                                                                        Now season 9 is a whole different thing... I didn't really like anyone, and the whole Texas schtict (sp??) made me sick. I hated everything about season 9... I don't care how talented any of the chefs were, it was not enjoyable to watch. Bleh!

                                                                                                        1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                          I'm with you all the way although I did like Paul a lot last season.

                                                                                                          1. re: bobbert

                                                                                                            Yeah, the challenges were crap but I though Paul could hold his own with any of the Top Chef superstars like the Voltaggios, Blais, Hung, Jen C, Stephanie I, Kevin G etc.

                                                                                                          2. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                            TC 5 was the first season of Top Chef that I watched. I enjoyed it. TC 6 was good as well. I think they have gone downhill since TC 6 with TC 8 coming the closest to being as good as it was at the peak.

                                                                                                            1. re: John E.

                                                                                                              I am kind of enjoying this season as well...except for the fried chicken episode!! UGH.
                                                                                                              I didnt mind the return of the 3 chefs at all... in fact being a huge Stefan fan - I was super pleased!
                                                                                                              I like almost all of the chefs, and have enjoyed the challenges.
                                                                                                              Unfortunately, now that Stefan is gone, it won't be nearly as fun for me, but I am looking forward to seeing who will come back from LCK, and see who will win.. its anyones game, IMO

                                                                                                              1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                I don't know why, but I'm almost totally uninterested in this season at this point. I'm from Seattle, too, so I thought I'd be really into this one. Most of the people I found compelling are gone. I'm not a Kristen fan, but I expect that she'll probably return (not following LCC though so that's just a guess) which doesn't excite me in the least. I don't know. I was so into this season for the first bit but now I am just bored with the remaining competitors. I honestly don't know why, either.

                                                                                                                1. re: TheCarrieWatson

                                                                                                                  I am a Kristen fan, and I hope she returns. To me, Kristen is exactly what the show should be about: finding a hidden gem and giving him or her a chance to shine.

                                                                                                                  Too many of the chefs in the recent seasons have already been quite successful, having already served as executive chefs or running their own restaurants.

                                                                                                                  Of course, that's just my opinion of what I think the show should be!

                                                                                                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                    I agree, and there isn't any rational reason that I don't like Kristen. I think she's a solid competitor, she's not irritating or obnoxious, she seems mature and respectful. There is just a robotic and almost impersonal quality to her that I find unlikable. My wife thinks she's great. I was trying to figure it out and said to her, "Jeez, maybe I DO like a little drama in this show!". I don't really think that's the case, but who knows. I thought Stefan was a lot of fun, I didn't do you like that, I forgot his name - the jerk with the glasses. Obviously Josie was irritating beyond endurance. Anyway, it's not like I'm attracted to big personalities. I just like 'some' personality and Kristen seems like a great big void to me.

                                                                                                                    1. re: TheCarrieWatson

                                                                                                                      I think when it comes down to the challenges, Kristen is all business. She concentrates on what she has to do, and doesn't get involved in the back-and-forth that can happen.

                                                                                                                      She's shown a bit of a fun/flirty side with Stefan when out of the TC Kitchen, and that works for my viewing preference.

                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                        Hmm, yeah, that's true....I remember, I think after she picked her team for RW, she was stressed and said "I need a cigarette" and I said out loud, "Wow, she's actually human".
                                                                                                                        But seriously, thinking over the seasons I've watched, she's as classy and competant a competitor as they come. It's just no fun watching her, for me.

                                                                                                                      2. re: TheCarrieWatson

                                                                                                                        I think that her personality started to show in LCK. Have you caught those?

                                                                                                                        1. re: JAB

                                                                                                                          Ah, no - I haven't seen those. Might make a difference!

                                                                                                                          1. re: TheCarrieWatson

                                                                                                                            She might come off as more serious but it seems evident, at least to me, that the other contestants really like her. It's not just a respect for how well she has done. Hey, she has Stephan massaging her feet!

                                                                                                                            1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                              I've been thinking about it, and I think I figured what it is with me. At some point, I got sick of seeing her win pretty much every challenge. I tend to root for the underdog and watching someone just waltz through like she was doing (before getting eliminated) was kind of frustrating. Totally unfair for me to judge her for being so clearly superior to her competitors, of course. But please note that I never said I didn't *like* her, just that I'm not a fan. Not sure if there's a real distinction there.

                                                                                                                              Anyhow, thinking back, there became a point where I started kind of rooting against her, just for the sake of seeing someone else win. That's probably a little nuttty but like I said - I tend to root for the underdog!

                                                                                                                        2. re: TheCarrieWatson

                                                                                                                          that's actually what I like about Kristen. Rather than trying to play up the cameras or be a personality, she seems to take the cooking seriously, maybe too seriously but I prefer that to someone who is just mugging for the cameras. It would be fun to hang with some of the drama queens but I want to eat the food of the chefs that focus on the food.

                                                                                                                        3. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                          I agree Ruth. I think that's what sucked me in right at Season 1, episode 1. All the competitors were line cooks or sous chefs looking to make a name for themselves. Of course that was before prize money spiked, cars and trips were handed out and chefs were unaware of the huge business impact appearing on the show could make.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                            That's a good point. I like Kristen, as I liked Paul, and I think it's for that reason. There are unknown chefs out there who are good, and they're not favorites for the drama. Get rid of the drama and you have a good show.

                                                                                                                              1. re: happybaker

                                                                                                                                I am not ashamed to say, I quite like a small bit of drama. There is drama in every day - it's a part of life. It helps me get to know the what the chefs are about, and helps me root for one person over the other. I don't want the entire show to be about the fuss, but it does make watching slightly more interesting. I even enjoyed the Hosea -Leah thing..even if it was gag inducing - but it gave us all quite a bit to talk about. There are lots of complaints about the drama, but allot of our conversations here do revolve around it. Thats life, and I think it's what makes TC so interesting to watch. I really think if it *only* showed the cooking - it would end up being boring.

                                                                                                                                1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                  Kind of agree. A little bit of drama got us the "I'm not your bitch, bitch" line, and that is TC gold!

                                                                                                                                  I want it mostly to be about the food, but drama is part of the overall program.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                    I like it, but it bothers me that I like it.

                                                                                                                                    Reality shows are so very manipulative and stage-managed. The creators decide on a persona for each participant, and guide and edit accordingly to create their version of a compelling storyline. The episodes you see show you those pre-determined characters, which may be more or less like the real humans behind them. I have no illusions that I really know what these people are like or what they're doing. If one contestant says another did X, just because we didn't see it doesn't mean it wasn't happening all the time!

                                                                                                                                    After I while I start to feel a little disgusted with myself for being led around like this, producing the required emotions on cue. This was my first season watching Top Chef, and it will probably be my last. I live in Seattle, and there was so much hype about the filming here last summer. I wanted to finally see what all the fuss was about. It's been entertaining, and I admit I'm hooked--I'll watch it to the end of the season to see what happens. But after that, the world has enough real drama for me without consuming large portions ginned-up drama every week!

                                                                                                                                    1. re: MsMaryMc

                                                                                                                                      Me too, for sure. I hate having my buttons pushed, but that is part & parcel of watching these programs most of the time. It bothers me a lot that I form these strong opinions, alliances, antipathies, and emotions on people who I don't know and actually, may not even exist in the way they're served to us by the program. I felt really cheap watching Hell's Kitchen, for instance. I became sufficiently put-off by that awful show that I actually did 'pull the plug' on that one and will never spend another moment on it.

                                                                                                            2. re: piccola

                                                                                                              hard to imagine a season being worse than last season.

                                                                                                        2. great writeup, Linda- and so fast!

                                                                                                          When Josie is asked to PYKAG (yay!), her attitude about it is just awful when she rebuff's Stefan's hug, then back in the stew room- poor victimized Josie.

                                                                                                          I'm also waiting for LCK to be up!

                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: cheesemonger

                                                                                                            Yeah, that was a little weird. Stefan was trying to be a good sport and Josie was jerky about it. It was really a contrast to her gracious goodbye speech to the judges. I supose I shouldn't be surprised, but I was.

                                                                                                            1. re: cheesemonger

                                                                                                              Josie's facial expression reminded me of that woman (Lisa?) in Stephanie Izard's season who would stand at Judges' Table with her arms defiantly crossed on her chest. I think Josie knew she was done-for.

                                                                                                              1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                BinGO. She acted very much like Lisa Fernandez.