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Top Chef Seattle - Ep. #14 - 02/06/13 (Spoilers)

We're in Juneau, Alaska for this episode and we're down to Final 4 - *before* the LCK winner and maybe the Save-A-Chef come back into the competition.

The chefs are talking about Stefan as being a good-hearted person. Sheldon realizes he dodges a bullet. Josh notes his wife is about to have their baby. They arrive in Juneau, and realize it's very cold. Sheldon says in the confessional "I'd better throw on another couple of extra underwear just so I can keep the package all nice and warm, you know!" LOL

They meet Padma and Sean Brock, chef/owner of Husk, and McCrady's of Charleston, SC. (Padma is in a long-sleeved shirt and a vest - everyone else is in heavy coats - what the hell?) They are in front of Tracy's King Crab Shack. For the Quickfire, they are to create a dish that features king crab. They have 30 minutes, and the winner will get $5,000.

They all get to work - Lizzie's going with a frittata, Josh is using bacon (what a surprise), Brooke is making a compound butter using Dungeness crab, Sheldon is making a miso with the innards.

Lizzie - Crab Frittata with Cherry Tomato, Garlic Oil & Fried Capers. No comments from either Sean or Padma as to the taste.

Sheldon - King Crab, Dungeness Crab "Miso", Pine-smoked Asparagus and Charred Corn - Sean asks about the pine-smoked asparagus, and Sheldon said he's seen it done. Padma likes the broth, and says it's "kind of thick."

Brooke - King Crab, Sweet Corn & Leek Salad on Toast with Dungeness Crab Butter - Sean asks how she made the butter, and he says "delicious!"

Josh - Butter Poached King Crab with Succotash & Bacon - Sean notes "feeding succotash to a country boy!" and Josh said "yeah, I know - pretty ballsy!" Sean said "this succotash tastes like home." Josh thinks he's nailed it.

Low group - Lizzie and Josh
Top group - Sheldon and Brooke

And the winner is Sheldon! A comeback from being in the bottom of the previous EC.

For this EC, they'll be working with two very important culinary traditions key to Alaska's gold rush beginnings - fish and bread. They will be feeding people of Juneau salmon and sourdough bread. A local baker has dropped off a 3-decade old sourdough starter at their "home" in Juneau. They'll have three hours to cook at the Gold Creek Salmon Bake the next day. The winner will receive a trip for 2 to Costa Rica.

They drive to the Jorgenson House, and Josh is asking Brooke how she's feeling about the bread, since she's the baker (which she denies). Brooke tells Josh that she's not putting bacon in her bread, and Josh claims he's done with bacon.

They go into the kitchen and find 4 large buckets of starter. Sheldon says "That's starter for a million loaves" and does the Dr. Evil "one meeeelion" pinky point. :-) They begin to make their bread dough; lots of panting as they're kneading the dough. They then wrap the balls of dough to allow them to proof...which means a lot of waiting. Some Northern lights while they sleep and it's the next morning - Sheldon plays his ukelele, Josh notes his wife is 2 or 3 days past her due date.

They head off to the docks to get their fish. A boat docks, and dumps a large tub of various salmon - King, Cojo, Chum, Sockeye. They make their fish choices and gut the fish they've chosen. Lizzie notes in confessional how she misses her dad, who came from a British fishing family, and that he would have loved to have seen her today.

They arrive at the Gold Creek Salmon Bake, and they have 3 hours to prep and cook. Tom arrives to ask what they're making. He asks Josh about any news about the baby. It seems his wife is now dilated and is having contractions, and Tom asks if it's a distraction or motivation - Josh said both. It's why he's there.

He asks Sheldon what he's making, and he replies "Smoked salmon and pea soup." Tom said "That's pretty funny!" Sheldon looks confused and hesitantly says "Yeah", and Tom said "No, someone asked me yesterday what I would do, and I said I was feeling like pea soup and salmon!" Sheldon says to the camera "BOOM!" Big boost of confidence for him.

Tom talks with Lizzie about working with the old starter, and talks with Brooke about thinking whether she expected to get that far. He also asks her about poaching her salmon vs. grilling her salmon. Brooke realizes that poaching salmon to order is very risky, but she doesn't have time to change her plans now.

The crowd of people arrive along with the judges. It's like a big picnic, with bears nearby - Tom notes that the Mama bear and several cubs came, and then the Mama went up the tree. Tom said "Ahh, that's actually my fan club, my fan base..." :-)

The judges are Hugh, Tom, Gail, Emeril, and Chef Brock.

BROOKE - Poached Sockeye Salmon & Seafood Broth with Mustard Seed Caviar & Dill Sourdough - Tom likes the broth, Chef Brock thought it was beautiful seasoned; Emeril said she nailed the bread.

SHELDON - Green Tea & Chive Sourdough with Smoked Salmon & Pea Soup - Padma makes a face that tells Gail she doesn't like the bread. Padma says "I love green tea; I love chives. I don't love them together!" Emeril liked the crust, but it had no salt. Gail said the salmon was well cooked, but Padma said it was a bit too smoky. Chef Brock noted that Sheldon was manhandling the salmon with tongs; he thought it was disrespectful. But he liked the soup. Meanwhile Hugh thought the soup was too thick - more like baby food. Many of the locals were asking which types of salmon he used, and he said sockeye and chum. The locals say they rarely use chum in cooking.

In the in-between, Emeril notes that before Hurricane Katrina, his chef took the mother starter from his restaurant's walk-in, and fed it the whole time, as it was 3 months before the restaurant could reopen. But they had it upon reopening.

JOSH - Roasted Garlic & Sourdough Soup with Sockeye Salmon & Black Olive Croutons - Hugh liked the salmon, Tom said the soup had lots of flavor, but the garlic overwhelms the salmon. Emeril likes the concept, and likes the crunch of the olive croutons.

LIZZIE - Citrus & Beet-Glazed Salmon Slider with Poppy Seed Butter & Pickles - Gail likes the pickle, Hugh loves the bread - she's the only one who got the great crust on the bread. However, Tom doesn't know why she didn't marinate the salmon in the citrus/beet glaze. Chef Brock said he got no taste of the citrus or beet. He thinks she could have pushed herself harder. Padma *loves* the sourdough.

The judges head out to ask the guests what they thought of the dishes and they get various answers. The judges head to Judges Table - what looks to be a lot of wooden boxes stacked together - which is in the same encampment where the salmon bake was. So it's rather chilly - especially since you can see in the background that it's pouring down rain.

They tell Lizzie that her sourdough was great, but the salmon wasn't seasoned, despite the salmon being cooked perfectly. Padma asks if she tasted the whole slider as she served it; Lizzie said she tasted the components only. Tom said it needs to be tasted together.

Gail tells Sheldon she was worried about his peas and salmon; but she thought the bread was Sheldon-esque....but she doesn't think it worked together. Padma asks what type of salmon he used; he said sockeye and chum. Padma tells him the locals never use chum; it's what they use to feed the dogs......(long pause).....BUT they thought that his was very delicious. Chef Brock said he should have been more careful with the smoking; while the fish was cooked beautifully, it was bitter.

Gail tells Brooke her broth was beautifully made, but her fish was a bit overcooked. But she knows she was doing it to order; Brooke said she was a bit flustered at the beginning, but she hit her stride after the judges left her station. Hugh said he could see that when they arrived at her station. Chef Brock said he was crazy about the bread and didn't want it to end.

Emeril tells Josh he's a huge lover of bread soup, and loved the olive croutons. Hugh said the salmon was beautifully cooked, but when it was with the other items in his dish, it was overwhelmed by the other flavors. Gail asks if he was concerned about the balance in the dish, especially with the garlic. Josh said he roasted the garlic slowly enough so he thought it would have mellowed appropriately, and the sourdough would have helped mellow it as well. Tom said if he wanted a ton of garlic in the soup, that's his call. But he asks if it then smart to poach the salmon as the best thing to follow up the garlic, and Josh agreed that it probably wasn't the best idea.

Chef Brock announces the winner, and he says that nearly all the locals agreed that this dish was the one that showcased sourdough and salmon the best - and the winner is Brooke again! They leave JT while the judges deliberate.

Josh's soup was overpowering of the salmon; Lizzie's sandwich wasn't imaginative enough; Sheldon's sourdough was spongy and didn't have a lot of flavor. His soup was great, but the salmon was poorly handled.

Back at JT, the obligatory camera whooshing shots. Tom reviews the 3 dishes' faults, and Padma announces who is going home - and it's Lizzie who is asked to PYKAG.

Previews show Lizzie going up against Kristen in LCK. They also show a helicopter taking the 3 finalists to a glacier for a dog sled ride to their next challenge.

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  1. I'm just glad that Lizzie can finally take a nap.

    1. I actually screamed at my TV during the QF tonight: "IT'S TOP CHEF! NOT TOP BACON!"

      As soon as Lizzie mentioned her dad in interview, I knew she was a goner.

      65 Replies
      1. re: Wahooty

        LOL! Well, we'll see if Josh uses it in the next challenge or if he's REALLY done with bacon. I doubt it.

        1. re: LindaWhit

          I love bacon, but it's getting old.

          Also, DVR folks be warned: Bravo spoiled LCK by flashing a Save-a-Chef spot at the end of the episode. Which sucks.

          1. re: LindaWhit

            Just a thought, but I'm wondering if it was one of Josh's goals to use bacon in every episode/challenge? Maybe he came into the competition with that already in mind...

            1. re: jcattles

              We'll know for sure when he becomes the spokesperson for Hormel in his post TC life.

              1. re: Phaedrus

                He's a pastry chef now. Perhaps he's doing bacon pastries? His bio at FT 33 *does* say he's enjoying working with savory ingredients and "infusing" them into pastries:


                1. re: LindaWhit

                  He used to have a restaurant in OKC. He featured a bacon-caramel roll at that restaurant. Maybe that is how he got his current position.

                  1. re: LindaWhit

                    It's interesting that he's a pastry chef now because in this episode, he was a little snarky to Brooke about her being "the baker."

                    1. re: piccola

                      Exactly what I thought when I heard him say that. :-)

                2. re: jcattles

                  Bacon has had its day. That day is past, in no small part thanks to Josh. He's a one-trick pony.

                  1. re: chicgail

                    just to be clear, are you saying josh, some guy on top chef in 2013, is in large part responsible for bacon having "had its day"?

                    1. re: linus

                      I didn't intend to imply that he's responsible for it, but he's certainly emblematic of it.

              2. re: Wahooty

                Lizzie cried about her father in a previous episode so that didn't really mean anything. If anything, I would have thought it might be Josh leaving just in time to watch his kid being born.

                1. re: Wahooty

                  the "top chef, not top bacon!" line went through my head. I LOVE bacon, but the guy uses it as a crutch.

                  Of the remaining chefs, I'd be happy with anyone winning except Josh.

                  1. re: LurkerDan

                    I am so with you on that. A Josh win would be as bad as Hosea's win. My picks are Brooke, Sheldon and Kristen for the final three, and Kristen for the win. I would be happy with any of those three winning, but I'd really like it to be Kristen because I have a major girl crush on her ;-)

                    1. re: lisavf

                      I think those three are definitely the most accomplished and interesting cooks. I'd love to see that as the final three. Josh bores me with his lack of imagination, even when his food is apparently very good versions of what he makes.

                            1. re: NellyNel

                              Boy, Kristen's got a LOT of girl-crush fans out there! :-D

                    2. re: LurkerDan

                      though my happiness is usually not affected by the outcome of 'top chef' or any other game show, i'd be just fine with josh winning if he cooks the best meal at the final.
                      he seems a decent fella and cook.

                      1. re: linus

                        Agreed but, this is Top Chef and not Top Cook.

                        1. re: JAB

                          o.k., then, he seems like a decent chef to me.

                          frankly, in the context of the show, i don't think the distinctions between those two terms are relevant.
                          at the end, the contestants cook food and are judged on the taste of that food.

                      2. re: LurkerDan

                        I agree with that. I don't even think Josh is a bad savory chef although it is interesting he is a pastry chef after making a snotty comment about other chefs being bakers. He just has shown no creativity or willingness to cook outside what appears from the show to be a very narrow knowledge of cooking. And using the Oklahoma location as an excuse is insulting to Oklahoma and chefs. I want a winner that doesn't just cook his best dishes that he has in repetory but the most creative and delicious dishes.

                        I would be happy with Brooke, Sheldon or Kristen. Sheldon or Kristen more so but Brooke has really getting better and better each episode.

                        But who know maybe that means Josh wins.

                        1. re: tjinsf

                          This is an interesting view because I never saw Josh's saying that as meaning bakers are inferior, just that Brooke seemed to do well w/ baking. It seems quite a few people have read it as derogatory.

                          I'm pulling for the same people. I really like Kristen but Brooke is coming on stronger and stronger and I'd be so happy if she won. Sheldon--how you could you not pull for someone who worked his way up from a bus boy and is now doing so much great creative cooking. All three of them seem to do things outside the box, although Sheldon more so w/ the smoked pine asparagus and lemon ash type stuff.

                          1. re: chowser

                            It could be because in my experience a lot of savory chefs look down on pastry chefs and further down on bakers because they think there is less creativity and more science in baking & pastry than in savory cooking. This is changing for sure so perhaps he wasn't being derogatory.

                            1. re: chowser

                              I agree on all you said, chowser. I feel like Josh is the weakest of the chefs left, but I don't think he is *terrible* as has been implied here... I also don't see him as obnoxious as most of the CH'ers seem to. I think he is snarky but not in a mean way. I watched this episode w a good friend of mine, and he also finds Josh to be obnoxious and un-likaable, but when I pressed him for a reason or a specific example, he couldn't give me one. I also have noticed that Josh and Brooke have that type of banter going on - They seem to like each other, but tease one another. Like kids, really.
                              Brooke said something terribly obnoxious to him (cant remember exactly) but she was kidding..It's teasing banter.

                              1. re: NellyNel

                                I wonder if people are inclined to dislike Josh just because of his ridiculous mustache

                                1. re: DGresh

                                  i absolutely think this is so, except for the "ridiculous" part.
                                  his hat, too.

                                  1. re: DGresh

                                    When I asked my friend why he disliked Josh, that was his response!"That ridiculous mustache!"

                                    They showed pics of him with a normal mustache and he looked quite nice.
                                    I guess he wants to distinquish himself..

                                    1. re: NellyNel

                                      Wouldn't it make much more sense to distinguish himself by putting out winning dishes in the challenges instead of having a waxed Snidely Whiplash moustache?

                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                        we don't know he's "trying to distinguish himself" that way. maybe he just likes wearing his moustache like that.
                                        wouldn't it be nice if everyone did charity work and helped the needy instead of grooming a certain way?
                                        do you really think he's not trying to put out winning dishes?

                                        1. re: linus

                                          There's nothing wrong wanting to distinquish oneself by having a unique haircut or tatoo or a funny mustache..it's not always to everyones taste, but that's probably the point.

                                          I would agree that I imagine he IS trying his best to put out winning dishes ...sometimes, it doesn't work out even if you are giving it your all.

                                          1. re: NellyNel

                                            nellynel, i agree with you there's nothing "wrong" with it, but i do think there's something wrong with assuming any reason why josh wears his moustache, and assuming anyone's grooming takes precedent over their desire to cook well on 'top chef.'

                                            1. re: linus

                                              oh, no, I agree wholeheartedly... but my 2 cent psychology tells me that most people who dress *differently*, have a mohawk, or choose to present themselves against the grain, are doing so to make a statement.
                                              "I am me!" "I am an individual" "I want to stand out"..


                                              1. re: NellyNel

                                                i wouldn't say those folks are making a statement any more than some dude wearing a dark suit and tie.

                                                what i mean is, some people do things to make a statement, some people do things just because they like them, some people do things for any number of reasons.
                                                it's a slippery slope trying to divine why people do things.

                                        2. re: LindaWhit

                                          LInda, I'm pretty sure he cooks better than (most of) us, even if (most of) us don't care for his facial hair. Actually I was wondering how someone with a lot of facial hair can cook without it occasionally falling in the food. Is there a hairnet of sorts for faces?

                                          1. re: chicgail

                                            Beard nets, yes.


                                            And I never said he couldn't cook better than most of us. He just hasn't distinguished himself all that much on the show. In my opinion. OMMV.

                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                              "And I never said he couldn't cook better than most of us. He just hasn't distinguished himself all that much on the show."

                                              Yep, that's exactly it. Would I be happy to eat his food? Of course. If I had a week of dinners to choose from, however, I'd sign up for 3 nights with Kristen, 2 with Sheldon, and 2 with Brooke.

                                              1. re: LurkerDan

                                                I'd eat at least one night at one of Stefan's restaurants.

                                                1. re: John E.

                                                  I was limiting myself to the chefs who are still in it (with a little license to include Kristen, who sure seems favored to return from LCK). I would be interested in Stefan's food before Josh's, too.

                                                2. re: LurkerDan

                                                  I like your split, but I might need a couple more dinners with Sheldon as Phillipino food is a cuisine I'd like to explore. :)

                                                  1. re: jujuthomas

                                                    I am lucky enough to have been recently exposed to some incredible Philipino food.My cousin has just been engaged to a Phillipino woman who is also a great cook... We have gone to a few restaurants, and we had Christmas dinner at their home. WOW!!!!!!


                                                    I urge you to explore.
                                                    It has blown my mind!!

                                                    1. re: NellyNel

                                                      my best friend's ex husband is Philipino - some of the food she's told me about sounds incredible... off to the google to see if there are ny Philipino restaurants in my area... :)

                                                3. re: LindaWhit

                                                  I just reread my earlier post. Didn't mean to sound like I was scolding. I think he's a decent chef, just limited and therefore good but not great.

                                                  1. re: chicgail

                                                    Exactly. He's better than others who have been on this season; he just hasn't dazzled. Although his comments about himself seem to put him on a higher rung on that dazzlement ladder in his own mind. I just think he's lucked out - just as Josie did.

                                                    Just as Padma said a few episodes back "Stop saying you're the Pork King when you haven't yet proven you can cook pork!" (or something like that)

                                                    And Lurker Dan - I like your split of "a week of dinners" - I think I'd go with the same split.

                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                      what comments about himself?
                                                      i don't recall hearing anything remotely arrogant coming out of his mouth.

                                                      i don't recall him referring to himself as "the pork king." i've heard him say he's known for cooking pork. that's hardly dazzling himself in his own mind. maybe some newspaper review of his restaurant mentioned pork.

                                        3. re: NellyNel

                                          Earlier in the season, he said some things that made me think he was cocky, though, at this point, I can't remember what he said. He has grown on me and I like the banter between the remaining chefs. That said,I don't think he has shown he's the same caliber as the remaining chefs and as I've said, he (over)uses bacon in ways that don't seem to work (at the risk of restarting the debate that even though his bacon dishes put him at the bottom of all the list--only because everyone else, like Josie, cooked stellar dishes that outdid the bacon sushi breakfast sandwich that they all laughed about afterward). Maybe his heart isn't quite in it because his wife is having a baby and he won't be there for the birth or the first few weeks. That's a huge sacrifice that I don't know I'd make (ha, being a woman wouldn't be able to make!).

                                          1. re: chowser

                                            as one of the recent judges said, simple food can be much, much harder to create successfully than complex food. i think because he uses less ingredients and less complicated platings and techniques, some think his food is necessarily less creative.

                                            i don't think this is so. sometimes it has been, sometimes it hasn't been, like all the chefs.

                                            1. re: linus

                                              I think he is creative. A bacon sushi breakfast sandwich is creative. Paula Deen is also very creative because she finds ways to use butter when you'd least expect it. Sandra Lee is very creative because who else would put angel food cake, canned apples and corn nuts together. But, the bigger question is not just creativity. Creative AND tasty is a bigger challenge. Simple can work and is appreciated, as long as it tastes good. Kristen won for mashed potatoes and onion rings.

                                              1. re: chowser

                                                i think josh's current position on 'top chef' speaks of his ability to make tasty food on a par with the other contestants.

                                                i don't remember seeing these 'top chef' contestants named paula deen and sandra lee, so i'm not sure what that means in relation to josh's ability to create tasty food.

                                                1. re: linus

                                                  Yes, and Josie is a far superior chef to Kristen and CJ.

                                                  1. re: chowser

                                                    well, that's your opinion and you're entitled to it. for me, i don't think i know which one is the superior chef, because i don't use 'top chef' as the final criterion to make that call.

                                                    and, the 'last chance kitchen' component makes that call more complicated. thus, i wouldn't necessarily say, because of her defeat in 'last chance kitchen,' (which, full disclosure, i don't watch) josie was even the superior 'top chef' contestant.

                                                    1. re: linus

                                                      " i don't think i know which one is the superior chef, because i don't use 'top chef' as the final criterion to make that call."


                                                      "i think josh's current position on 'top chef' speaks of his ability to make tasty food on a par with the other contestants."

                                                      1. re: chowser

                                                        there's a difference between being a chef and having the ability to make tasty food.

                                                        i've seen josh make plenty of tasty looking food on 'top chef.' of course, i haven't tasted it, though.

                                                        the judges have liked some of his food. they haven't liked some of his food. sometimes, they liked his food, but liked other chefs' better. sometimes, they didn't like his food, but disliked other chefs' more.

                                                        as i posted earlier, just because you don't win a challenge doesn't mean your food isn't tasty. just because you're in the bottom group doesn't mean your food isn't tasty, either. tasty food can have mistakes in it.

                                                        i really don't understand what point you're trying to make.

                                                        1. re: linus


                                                          "o.k., then, he seems like a decent chef to me.

                                                          frankly, in the context of the show, i don't think the distinctions between those two terms are relevant.
                                                          at the end, the contestants cook food and are judged on the taste of that food."

                                                          Spelling it out: since Josie stayed longer than Kristen and CJ, as you said about Josh, she must have made better food than they did. And, the distinction between chef and cook is irrelevant so she's a superior cook/chef in the context of this show. Since you've said Josh must be equal to those remaining in making tasty food, with the same logic, Josie made tastier food than CJ and Kristen, given how far she went on the show.

                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                            josie stayed one week longer than kristen, because kristen was shitcanned for her restaurant making crappy food and running the kitchen poorly.
                                                            yes, it's true, i made a mistake, and in this case, she was judged more on chef-ness than food, perhaps (although they disliked her food as i recall.).
                                                            the restaurant wars challenge is distinctive that way, and i made a mistake not acknowledging that.
                                                            however, once you progress further, all these chef-ness tests go by the wayside and they judge your food by the way it tastes.
                                                            thus, my previous statements, which you quoted. i don't think this is a chef competition (where emphasis would be placed on other areas beside just making tasty food as to who the winner is) as much as a t.v. show about who makes tasty food.

                                                            and of course, we have to remember the show goes week by week (although i think the judges often have longer memories than they let on).
                                                            we don't now how good of food cj or kristen would have cooked had they stayed on. it might have been great (seems more likely, but you never know), it might have been crappy. bottom line is, we don't know, because they underperformed in a challenge, and were sent packing. josh performed well enough to advance, so he did.
                                                            maybe a 'round robin' format would be more "fair" or a better evaluation of their skills. but i don't care. i like the format just fine.

                                                            let's use an analogy of the hundred meter dash, although it's a poor one because it's not totally subjective, like food. if you lose in the heats, you're out. you may have sixteen faster times than a competitor, but if the competitor runs fast and you don't, he/she goes to the final and you go home. if your competitor runs a horrible time, but beats enough people in the heat, and you false start twice, even though you have run faster in every meet before that, he/she goes on, you go home.
                                                            does that mean he/she is a better runner? i'll let you answer that question.
                                                            does the competitor "deserve" to be in the final? well, i hate the word "deserve," but yes, yes he or she does. is he competitive? yes, because he ran well enough to get to the final. that's the way the competition was designed.

                                                            'top chef' was designed a certain way, too. that design has made josh progress, and has said goodbye to other chefs. and, remember, this is food they're judging, so the grey area is much, much bigger than something like the 100 meter dash.

                                                            it bothered some people when, say, hosea won 'top chef'. i guess they thought he didn't deserve to be there, i don't know.
                                                            well, it didn't bother me or ruin the show for me. he cooked good enough food to get to the final, and in that final, he made better food (according to the judges) than his competitors, and thus, he won. didn't bother me a bit. he seemed like a nice fella and a good cook.

                                                            so, it doesn't bother me josh is where he is. it won't bother me if he wins, because he "earned" his way there, just like the others, because of the way the t.v. show is designed.

                                                            by the way, it won't bother me if he doesn't win, either. i'm happy with the group they have now; they all seem like nice people and skilled cooks. if josh goes home this week, i'll get over it. if kristen wins by slogging her way through last chance kitchen, i'll be fine with it, even though i'm not a fan of the concept at all.
                                                            the show is entertaining me. that's really all i ask.

                                                    2. re: chowser

                                                      That's an interesting assertion, chowser. On what do you base it?

                                                      1. re: chicgail

                                                        Sorry it doesn't make sense as a stand alone statement. Linus was saying Josh must be comparable to the remaining chefs because he made it as far as they did. I was saying that, based on that logic, Josie must be better than CJ and Kristen, which we obviously know is untrue.

                                                        1. re: chowser

                                                          please don't represent your ideas as mine. you'll find mine posted above.

                                                          josh has cooked tasty enough food to reach the position he is in, which is the same as the remaining chefs. thus, he is comparable.

                                      2. re: LurkerDan

                                        "Of the remaining chefs, I'd be happy with anyone winning except Josh."

                                        I feel the same way.

                                        I think Josh is the next to go and I wonder if his kid is going to be born with one of those lame hats he's always wearing.

                                      3. re: Wahooty

                                        I want to get Josh a t-shirt printed that says "Bacon: I Put That Shit on Everything." He's annoyingly bad, and somehow managed to slip through the cracks.

                                            1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                              That's hilarious. I think Josh would find it funny enough to wear it himself.

                                            2. re: Wahooty

                                              Me too! It was so clear to me that she was getting the goodbye edit.

                                            3. Is it just me or did it just seem like all the remaining chefs just got a major dose of gravitas? It just seems like they all became very serious and very focused people, not hat they weren't focused before but they all just seemed to have achieved Shibumi.

                                              6 Replies
                                              1. re: Phaedrus

                                                Well, Josh's wife is having a baby a couple thousand miles away, Lizzie's mourning her dad, and Stefan's off-center sense of humor is gone. So, gravitas, yeah.

                                                    1. re: ennuisans

                                                      Yeah, I felt for all of them at JT. They were obviously sopping wet and trying to pretend they weren't freezing.

                                                      1. re: ennuisans

                                                        You know it was chilly by the lack of visible Padma skin.

                                                      2. re: momjamin

                                                        Plus, editing can work wonders. Producers: "Let's make the chefs seem more serious from now on. They are the champions, after all. So cut any laughing, and insert a few solemn looks whenever someone says something. Great!"

                                                    2. No more drama. No back stabbing. No sexual innuendo. No stupid challenges. No Padma cleavage (sigh). Just good, straightforward cooking. Two good challenges. Crab and Salmon.
                                                      They're all doing very well and they all seem to get along well too - it's nice considering that it's been almost two complete continuous seasons of drama.
                                                      QF - Josh. Please say it's true and you're done with bacon.
                                                      Sheldon. Great idea with the broth for the crab. He's back!
                                                      EC - Once again, I thought Sheldon might have blown it. Don't disrespect your fish - the judges never appreciate that. I too thought he was beating up the salmon during service. Lucky, the locals thought the idea of eating dog food was a good one. Tip to future Cheftestants: learn the "local ingredients" inside and out. Top Chef Texas? BBQ! Top Chef Seattle? Salmon!!! Top Chef Nebraska? Corn!!!, etc.
                                                      Lizzy's dish looked good but boring and Brooke was a no-brainer win from what they showed.
                                                      I really thought Sheldon was going home but I like the guy so much, I'm glad he's still in the competition.

                                                      On another note, after the beating Padma took from most of us last week, I decided to pay special attention to what she had to say this week - the fact the she was fully clothed made that easier to do. I think she did a nice job judging and had some good insight and many good, pointed comments.

                                                      34 Replies
                                                      1. re: bobbert

                                                        OK, your "Top Chef Nebraska? Corn!!!" comment got me giggling. :-D

                                                        But I thought the minute they said Lizzie's salmon was underseasoned, I knew it was her going home. Agree with Wahooty above about Lizzie mentioning her father so many times. After the 2nd time it's mentioned, I realized the Elves are attempting a heartstring tug. DIDN'T WORK.

                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                          When I saw her sandwich, I thought she'd be going home. That much bread, so crusty, with something as delicate as salmon flesh and that little salmon. The proportions looked way off.

                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                            Yeah, they were talking about Sheldon squashing the salmon with the tongs? What about her crusty rolls?

                                                          2. re: LindaWhit

                                                            The way the show is edited gives me the same sort of hint -- the little out of the kitchen pieces seem to focus on the people having the upcoming doom.

                                                          3. re: bobbert

                                                            Although the Alaskan locals don't eat chum, they all liked it so maybe it's a good idea not to listen to the locals.

                                                            1. re: chowser

                                                              I should recuse myself from responding (but that never stopped me before!), but I thought chum was the bait used in fishing for the big-deal fish or drawing in sharks for the tourists to see. Correct?

                                                              1. re: pine time

                                                                Could be, I have no idea what they use to draw in sharks for the tourists. But, does it matter? People loved Sheldon's chum salmon as did the judges. That was the second part of Padma's comment about it being used for dog food (pause) but people loved it.

                                                                1. re: chowser

                                                                  When they dumped that load of ice covered fish for the chef's to pick from, I was wondering how they could tell one from another. There is a common appearance in Salmon and they all looked gray to me when dumped. Covered in ice it would be hard to tell the subtle differences in color or markings. I didn't see tags on them.

                                                                  1. re: scubadoo97

                                                                    I was impressed that they all seemed to be able to distinguish their salmon. And, other than the major types, is every chef familiar with them all? And, I'm wondering how many of the general public could taste the difference between them, if they were prepared the same way.

                                                                    BTW, I loved the Eaters comment that while they said it was disrespectful to treat the chum salmon w/ tongs, as Sheldon did, they then commented that it was usually used for dog food, as if that's somehow more respectful.

                                                                    1. re: chowser

                                                                      I bet there was a local salmon guy there who expleained to them the different salmon species and we just didn't see him on camera.

                                                                      1. re: John E.

                                                                        I'm sure you're right. The show is so scripted and there is a lot that we don't see

                                                                      2. re: chowser

                                                                        OTOH, if we are talking sled dogs, aren't they considered quite valuable and treated very well? Maybe 'dog food' isn't quite so insulting in that scenario.

                                                                        1. re: chowser

                                                                          I'm not so sure that there weren't people advising them that were edited out.

                                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                                            Sheldon actually used both sockeye and chum, so presumably the tongs were disrespectful to the sockeye.

                                                                      3. re: pine time

                                                                        That type of "chum" is usually guts and various scraps of any fish that are discarded by a cannery.

                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                          Thanks, Linda--that's why I should have really recused myself: I'm not much of a fish eater and have no dog in that race (or should that be fish in that swim?)

                                                                          1. re: pine time

                                                                            Haha,I should have recused myself from answering because I really had no idea but didn't want to be rude and ignore the question. If a chef could create a winning dish with either chum, especially the guts one, he/she deserves to win.

                                                                            1. re: chowser

                                                                              That would be an ... umm, interesting? ... challenge. :-)

                                                                          2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                            That's why we call it "chumming the water" when we toss a bunch of fish innards and bones etc. overboard when cleaning fish and hoping to attract more fish. The downside is that you might attract sharks (sometimes the goal). Another challenge for them! Scuba diving for your main ingredient in shark infested water...

                                                                            1. re: KailuaGirl

                                                                              Maybe they'll make them cook inside one of those steel cages that people use to protect themselves while they swim with sharks...

                                                                              1. re: piccola

                                                                                The first literal "jumping the shark" episode since the Happy Days ep that birthed the term ;-)

                                                                      4. re: bobbert

                                                                        Except they didn't know ahead of time they were going to Alaska, so they wouldn't have had the chance to study the local ingredients and cooking traditions.

                                                                        1. re: piccola

                                                                          I think it might be better not to know the traditional cooking methods. If you tried to make someone people know well, eg. succotash, unless it's stellar, it's going to come back to haunt you. Make something completely different and as long as it tastes good, they don't have a point of reference.

                                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                                            I think both sides of that can be argued. I was just responding to the suggestion that the contestants should all read up on local cooking methods and ingredients for each of their destinations beforehand.

                                                                          2. re: piccola

                                                                            Seattle = lot's of salmon. Alaska = even more salmon.
                                                                            I don't know about trying to perfect the local cooking methods - maybe become familiar with them - but as Chowser says, if you try to repicate something you are putting yourself on very thin ice.

                                                                          3. re: bobbert

                                                                            TC Nebraska: Corn! Good one. This was a great episode for all the reasons you listed - no drama, seemingly genuine respect for each other, great ingredients. This is the Top Chef I know and love.

                                                                            1. re: KrumTx

                                                                              I'm glad the last chef's standing are not the ones that have exhibited the heavy drama and back stabbing that we've seen it previous seasons

                                                                              1. re: KrumTx

                                                                                They have to interpret and de-construct Runzas.

                                                                                1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                  I've been meaning to make Runzas at home but have never gotten around to it.

                                                                              2. re: bobbert

                                                                                "Top Chef Nebraska? Corn!!!"
                                                                                Why, I believe the locals in Nebraska feed corn to their animals.:)

                                                                                  1. re: ratgirlagogo

                                                                                    Well that would be feed corn.
                                                                                    Feed corn = chum salmon
                                                                                    Sweet corn = king salmon.
                                                                                    Top Chef Nebraska. Better know your corn.

                                                                                1. Another great recap Linda. I liked this episode. I too hope Snidely is done with the bacon.

                                                                                  Sure, it was a bit rainy near Juneau, but the temperature wasn't freezing. It was August for crying out loud. Sheldon, if the temperature is above 60° you can take off the stocking hat.

                                                                                  11 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: John E.

                                                                                    Thanks again, Linda, for the great recap!
                                                                                    I'm so glad that Sheldon didn't get eliminated. Loved his miso soup idea. Lizzie's rolls looked delicious, but the salmon did look lost in the bread.
                                                                                    I know what Sheldon means about being cold. When it hits 60 degrees here in Hawai'i, we all put extra comforters on our beds and bust out whatever long underwear we have acquired on Mainland trips. Locals in down parkas are seen in Waikiki beside tourists in wet swimsuits. What a hoot!

                                                                                    1. re: KailuaGirl

                                                                                      I think Lizzie was the only person to give her bread an egg wash...at least she was the only one they showed doing so. Her rolls had a nice shiny look to it, and you heard the crunch when Emeril bit into his sandwich.

                                                                                      And my brother and his family, who now live in L.A., are the same way. Anything under 60° is "freezing" to them.

                                                                                      1. re: KailuaGirl

                                                                                        Ok, I was being a bit snarky. I do know that a person gets used to the climate in which they live. I don't even break out the winter coat until it hits zero or below. The thermostat in our house overnight is set to 62°. (When I was in Arizona I was wearing short pants and no jacket and of course I stood out as visitor. Hey, it was almost 50° and sunny.)

                                                                                      2. re: John E.

                                                                                        Can I just say I was thankful for a 60 minute episode vs. 75 minutes? I think I was done with the recap by 11:20 or so, watched LCK, made a few comments back here, and was in bed before midnight. :-)

                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                          Bless you for your dedication. I've watched the last two episodes a few days late because I can't stay up past 9 pm lately.Those extra early mornings are a killer!

                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                            Me too! I was at a hockey game last night and got home around 10pm, and still was able to watch (fast forwarding through commercials) and get to bed at a decentish time.

                                                                                          2. re: John E.

                                                                                            I don't know any place where you can see your breath at 60 degrees. I think it was colder than that. It looked pretty chilly for Hawaii man Sheldon. Brooke was trying her best to not look like an icepop.

                                                                                            I liked this episode too but I am getting tired of the swoopy camera shots.

                                                                                            1. re: Dee S

                                                                                              Agree on the swoopy camera shots. I hope they abandon them after this season.

                                                                                              1. re: Dee S

                                                                                                They were in Juneau in August and the mornings can be a bit chilly, the afternoons too if it's rainy. Which it usually is.

                                                                                              2. re: John E.

                                                                                                Hey he's from Hawaii. I'd be wearing that cap if it was me

                                                                                                1. re: John E.

                                                                                                  I liked how, in the car when Josh said he was done with bacon, that whole discussion was based on a misunderstanding. Josh asked Brooke if she was ready to start "baking" bread, but she thought he said "bacon bread". She said she wouldn't put bacon in her bread, and that prompted Josh to claim he was done with bacon.

                                                                                                2. Thanks Linda! Sheldon pulled it out again, but Brooke is looking strong.

                                                                                                  31 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                                    You said it: Sheldon pulled it out again. We all like him but he's had some rough showings. Hasn't he screwed up tempura twice now? Thank goodness he didn't come in calling himself the Tempura King. He's very eager to entertain outside the kitchen, which makes me think he's worried during the performances, perhaps more than Josh and Brooke (who come off well at ease overall).

                                                                                                    It's not to say he's less capable than the others but I feel like he feels like he's an underdog by this point, even if he's not playing that up any more than the others.

                                                                                                    1. re: ennuisans

                                                                                                      As long as he doesn't choose to cook rissotto next round he should be fine............ I still worry that next week will be a gimmick with the previews of a husky dog team....... have they jumped the shark with a sled? And I actually don't think Sheldon's technique is any worse than Josh... Josh has had serious problems lately.. broken butter sauce, using the wrong kind of gelatin for the scallop noodle... Sheldon has really pushed the envelope at least in terms of flavor including this time with the smoked asparagus.

                                                                                                      1. re: cwdonald

                                                                                                        I saw Brooke fall on the run towards what seems to be a tent with large boxes outside? So they'll be cooking inside that tent?

                                                                                                        Right now, to me, the top two are Brooke and, should she come back, Kristen.

                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                          Agree completely.. right now Brooke Kristen Sheldon Josh in that order to win. I just wonder if Kristen might be under a bit of a disadvantage having to cook lots of dishes as opposed to the 30 minute quick fires she has been blazing through. I also wonder about her ability to cook outside the "French" box ...

                                                                                                          1. re: cwdonald

                                                                                                            I like that lineup as well. If things continue as they've been going in LCK, Kristen would have to beat Lizzy and maybe someone else. Then she would have to also beat the save a chef leader who presumably would be CJ ... for a second time... no easy feat.
                                                                                                            I don't think anyone has considered the possibility of CJ returning to the competition. That would be interesting even though not what I'd like to see. Kristen should "throw" the match against Lizzy, beat out CJ as the save a chef and then knock off Lizzy in a rematch to return to the competition. Easy.

                                                                                                            1. re: bobbert

                                                                                                              Kristen's too competitive. She'd never throw a competition.

                                                                                                              1. re: bobbert

                                                                                                                Does anyone know when they film/ed the finale. I was at Animal in Los Angeles on Sunday night and CJ was in the kitchen there. I know he is doing a new project with the Animal guys but I though they were filming the finale now.

                                                                                                                  1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                    I don' tthink the finale could have been filmed yet if we are all voting on the Save A Chef, could it?


                                                                                                                    1. re: JuniorBalloon

                                                                                                                      That's true but I thought they were sequestered until the end of LCK. Guess they are going to do the finale show down between the winner of LCK & Save-a-Chef at the same time they do the finale.

                                                                                                                      1. re: tjinsf

                                                                                                                        I would think they were sequestered until the end of the filming and then they could go home. At that point, they're all out and about so there is no spoiler, even if episodes haven't even started airing. This isn't live.

                                                                                                                    2. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                      They've often had eliminated chefs back to play sous.

                                                                                                                      1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                        Don't worry, it wasn't a spoiler ... the finale wasn't taped on Sunday :)

                                                                                                                        1. re: Papuli

                                                                                                                          Contestants have been livetweeting for a while now. Tesar was cooking at his restaurant the night he was voted off.

                                                                                                                      2. re: tjinsf

                                                                                                                        I'm pretty sure they have already filmed the finale. Thus, CJ could easily be in the kitchen elsewhere.

                                                                                                                        1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                          I think they usually would have filmed it by now, but with the Save a Chef only just completed how could they?


                                                                                                                          1. re: JuniorBalloon

                                                                                                                            That's a great question. It's not being shown live.

                                                                                                                1. re: cwdonald

                                                                                                                  "have they jumped the shark with a sled?"

                                                                                                                  No. They jumped the shark last season, when the contestants had to hack the ingredients out of blocks of ice.

                                                                                                                  1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                                                                    It feels very similar ... cooking outside on the top of the mountain, or cooking in a tent or igloo while interesting television really is not a true test of culinary skills...

                                                                                                                    1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                                                                      My thoughts exactly. Also the cooking in a gondola travesty.

                                                                                                                      Linda, I agree completely. Kristen's way too competitive to do something like that - no games, just cooking great food. For that I'm thankful.

                                                                                                                      1. re: KailuaGirl

                                                                                                                        Yeah, even though i suggested it, I know it would never happen.

                                                                                                                        1. re: KailuaGirl

                                                                                                                          I think most of the competitors want to win by cooking their best and not by some default reason. Operative word is "most."

                                                                                                                        2. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                                                                          IMO they jumped the shark cooking in that aerial gondola

                                                                                                                          1. re: coney with everything

                                                                                                                            That was the kind of gondola I meant, not the type that has some poor guy in a costume poling them around, pretending to be a water taxi in an icky casino. Writing that makes me glad they didn't do that in Top Chef Vegas. It would have been even worse than the aerial type of gondola.

                                                                                                                              1. re: KailuaGirl

                                                                                                                                oh no, you just gave the elves a new idea! next season on top chef: the chefs have to make an Italian dish while cooking in a casino gondola in LV.

                                                                                                                                1. re: tjinsf

                                                                                                                                  LOL! You guys are too funny! Maybe we should start a preposterous challenge contest. Then again, maybe not. The elves might actually check in every now and then and we really don't want to give them ideas!

                                                                                                                          2. re: cwdonald

                                                                                                                            "a gimmick with the previews of a husky dog team....... have they jumped the shark with a sled?"
                                                                                                                            I was hoping they'd be cooking in igloos with the Inuits. The BLUBBER challenge! But they'd have to elevate and modernize the blubber, not just do the same old-fashioned home cooked blubber dishes we're all so bored with.

                                                                                                                            1. re: ratgirlagogo

                                                                                                                              No igloos in August, at least none that are made of snow.

                                                                                                                              1. re: ratgirlagogo

                                                                                                                                "....today we have a slow-braised blubber loin served over a pan-seared blubber cake on arugula with blubber lardons and a champagne vinaigrette."

                                                                                                                        3. i was amazed at what they could do in half an hour for the quick fire - cracking and shelling crab, etc., and especially Sheldon smoking the pine needles. i agree - these guys are focused now. we may even see the last of Josh's bravado (i hope) with the imminent birth of his child.

                                                                                                                          for those who hadn't baked before, do we think there were explicit directions on that sourdough mother on how to bake bread? no way would i know how to wing that.

                                                                                                                          Sad to see Lizzie go, but a sandwich? at last she was humble enough to admit it was a silly mistake not to taste the whole thing together.

                                                                                                                          i'm on team Brooke! unless Kristin comes back.

                                                                                                                          thanks as always, LW.

                                                                                                                            1. re: saeyedoc

                                                                                                                              Great comments:

                                                                                                                              " Sean and I made it a point to go to all the bars in Juneau that locals told us not to go to. Should have listened to the locals, as the Lucky Lady has no luck, no ladies, and is about the strangest-smelling drinking hole on the planet. It smells like Lysol covering a crime. "


                                                                                                                              "They cook in a bear-infested outdoor space called the Gold Creek Salmon Bake, kind of like a matchmaking site for hungry bears and stupid humans. "

                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                I loved his comment "It took someone who loves Spam to realize that we should be eating the primary ingredient of catfood."

                                                                                                                                1. re: KailuaGirl

                                                                                                                                  I think his most accurate line:
                                                                                                                                  "Loser is Lizzie, who I think wanted to lose about five episodes ago. "
                                                                                                                                  So true and so kinda sad at the same time.

                                                                                                                              2. re: saeyedoc

                                                                                                                                Here's the link for those of you who don't want to bother navigating through the various forms of "real housewives" content to find the blog post:


                                                                                                                                1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                                                                                  Thanks for that. I dread having to do that.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: dagoose

                                                                                                                                    I've bookmarked http://www.bravotv.com/top-chef and then use the Cast Blog pull-down menu to get to each one.

                                                                                                                                  2. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                                                                                    i'm confused.... "they ho-hum to Brooke’s crabby toast..." guest judge Sean did not ho-hum it, he said he wanted to dislike it but it was just so delicious. and then Acheson doesn't really say who won. ok, i mean, he does say they enjoyed Sheldon's smokey delights (which um, makes me think of Sheldon's package again, ew)....

                                                                                                                                    1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                      He also joked about how expensive that dish would be, with butter made from dungeness crab roe.

                                                                                                                                2. Did Padma really say succotash was a southern thing during the QF? I thought New England?

                                                                                                                                  13 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: charlesbois

                                                                                                                                    Succotash is not a New England thing

                                                                                                                                      1. re: charlesbois

                                                                                                                                        I've seen various originations - central American Indians, Native Americans from the East, and Narragansett Indians, an Algonquin tribe from Rhode Island.

                                                                                                                                        But it's known as a dish on New England tables at Thanksgiving, and it's known as a Southern dish.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                          I always thought it was a duck thing.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                That would be Sufferin' Succotash.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Leepa

                                                                                                                                                  I always heard it as "thufferin' thuccotash".

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                      Yeah, with spittle. That's how I do my impression. :-)

                                                                                                                                                2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                  In the five different Southern states I've lived in, I've not known it to be served as a traditional dish. Maybe it's from Texas... ;)

                                                                                                                                            1. re: charlesbois

                                                                                                                                              Yeah I was confused on that too. Succotash is from a Narragansett word so, if anything, it's an eastern woodlands dish. I didn't know I was a big thing in the south. I've always known it to be a New England thing.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Hobbert

                                                                                                                                                if your attribution of the origins of the word 'succotash' is accurate, there would probably be similar or related terms throughout the Algonquian-related languages and tribes (the Narangansetts and neighbors like the Mohegan were both Algonquian in a region that eventually became dominated by the Iroquoian-affiliated tribes). Algonquian-related languages are spread from the northeast coast, Great Lakes (Chippewa/Objibwe), Ohio and Mississippi Valleys (the extinct Cahokians, who built the monumental mounds still visible near the river in southern Ill.), and the high plains/eastern Rockies (incl. the Cheyenne, Arapaho).

                                                                                                                                                it would not take much for a word to cross over into a neighbor's vocabulary and be used in the southeast. words we take for granted like 'jerky' and 'lagniappe' travelled very far, and sound like they have differing geographic origins, but both came from western/Andean S.America. the staples in succotash, beans and corn, were grown by the indigenes in a somewhat different geographic distribution than the Algonquian languages, so the use of the word could have simply stuck where those staples were cooked together.

                                                                                                                                            2. I'm kind of amazed that Josh has made it to the finale three. He's won one elmination challenge and that was for basically making his grandpa's fried chicken. He hasn't really shown any technique or the skills that a professional chef should have.

                                                                                                                                              it would ironic if it was an Hosea season with the last mediorce Chef wins the whole things because he doesn't take any risks.

                                                                                                                                              This episode was better than some of the texas challenges because there was some freedom in what dishes they could make with the ingredients. Baking bread is so different than being a savory chef although most culinary schools do teach basic bread making. And cooking fish is such a skill. The elmination dishes dish especially Lizzie's did seem rather boring.

                                                                                                                                              Hoping Kristen instead of CJ gets back in for the finale.

                                                                                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: tjinsf

                                                                                                                                                I'm amazed that Josh has gotten as far as he has, too. Lizzie was a close second. What was the season, with Angelo, in Singapore where the middling chef won--was it Kevin Sbrago? CH help me out because I remember it vaguely.

                                                                                                                                                As bread baking goes, I wonder if they had recipes or ratios or anything that might help w/ sourdough. Oh, and I was surprised to see Brooke slashing her loaves with a knife, rather than a lame or razor. I'd always been told/read that it's not sharp enough.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                  Yeah I was wondering too if they were able to bring recipes since bread baking is far more about measuring and exact recipes than most savory food.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: tjinsf

                                                                                                                                                    Actually, you can be pretty loose with a bread recipe. It's really not as precise as baking cakes, for example.

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                    The big buckets of the mother starter had large notes taped to the lids. I assumed that it was instructions for making basic bread using the starter, and that the contestants would then branch out from there.

                                                                                                                                                2. Linda-
                                                                                                                                                  So many of us have thanked you - but I do appreciate your recaps so much. I always read you and the posts first and then watch the dvr-ed episodes. You do such an amazing, detailed job!

                                                                                                                                                  17 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: SFLisa

                                                                                                                                                    Awww, thanks, SFLisa! I very much appreciate it. And I'm going to assume the "SF" means either Sante Fe or San Francisco. If that's true, and if I ever visit either city (SFO for the 2nd time), just buy me a drink and we're even. :-D

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                      Even closer . . . Head on down to Philly and I'll buy you a drink for your troubles. Maybe even a meal at Sbraga ;)

                                                                                                                                                      But not this weekend . . . the NE corridor promises to be a mess.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                                                                        Well, now this is kind of cool. Perhaps I could drink and eat my way around the country at Top Chef cheftestant restaurants. :-)

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                          That could be fun. And who knows, there soon could be one of those restaurants in Boston?

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                                                                            We were up against Seattle for this season's filming. We lost. :-/

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                              Yes, but if Kristen wins, Boston will have a TC restaurant.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                maybe next season or the one after that or the one after that. I think a Boston season would be cool, they could go to the Cape too, do a historical meal...

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: tjinsf

                                                                                                                                                                  I can picture the Pilgrim challenge.

                                                                                                                                                            2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                              Not sure if there are any cheftestant restaurants here, but I can't wait to welcome you to Portland.

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: SFLisa

                                                                                                                                                          DEAR LINDA:

                                                                                                                                                          I, FOR ONE, ADORE YOU!!

                                                                                                                                                          YOU ROCK!!

                                                                                                                                                          LOVE, A SECRET RODENT ADMIRER

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                                                                                                            ::::snort-snickering:::: Thank you, little rodent! Want some bits of apple and cheese? Artful plated with a double-swirl of pureed carrots and peas, of course.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                              um... don't i have dibs on you? you need to come to the west coast!

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                LOL! Yes, you get first dibs, mc. I swear, I gotz to win Powerball and MAKE IT WORK! (To quote Tim Gunn from Project Runway!)

                                                                                                                                                            2. re: C. Hamster

                                                                                                                                                              +1 from another secret rodent admirer.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ratgirlagogo

                                                                                                                                                                Wow, Linda, you're a regular pied piper.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Wahooty

                                                                                                                                                                  I've noticed. Not sure if that's a good thing! I don't think the cats are going to much like hamsters and rats in the house. :-/

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                    are you kidding, i think they'll be in heaven! you, on the other hand, may not be so happy with their "gifts"....

                                                                                                                                                          2. I'm very confused about how they're going to wrap up this season (and having read all the other comments, I know I'm not alone). Clearly, they are daparting from their previous approach--filming the finale while the season is airing.

                                                                                                                                                            First, there's the matter of LCK. Save a Chef voting closed at noon Eastern time today, so a very short 13-hour window for voting. Also, the Bravo site says the LCK finale is next week. So it appears whomever is eliminated next week does not get a chance to battle for the right to return.

                                                                                                                                                            Then there's this: http://www.thebraiser.com/top-chef-se... which confirms the shooting in Alaska took place in August (don't worry, no spoilers).

                                                                                                                                                            And then this tidbit (again, no spoilers) http://juneauempire.com/art/2013-02-0... . According to this article, only two episodes were filmed in Alaska.

                                                                                                                                                            Sooo . . . Next week (filmed in August) they eliminate a chef? And next week they show the LCK finale? But the earliest LCK finale can be shot is tomorrow because of the Save a Chef? And the following week, the LCK winner is introduced to compete against the final two chefs in a location other than Alaska? But the filming for that can't start until Saturday, at the earliest?

                                                                                                                                                            My head is spinning. I wish my curiosity hadn't prompted me to search for the Season 10 finale and discover those two links :(

                                                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                                                                              gaffk, I'm pretty sure the finales have always been filmed while the season is showing on TV. Except for maybe the first season.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                Yes, but don't they usually film while the season is about mid-way done? This seems to be awful last minute, as part 1 of the finale airs Feb 20. Oh well, we shall see.

                                                                                                                                                                On an unrelated note, Season 11 casting starts next week. http://www.alltopchef.com/

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                                                                                  Perhaps the Save-A-Chef has caused finale filming to be so much later than usual. That's the only thing I can think of. And why the most recent Save-A-Chef time frame was so short, as noted on the LCK thread.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                                                                Love this:

                                                                                                                                                                " annual Gold Creek Salmon Bake, which genuinely sounds like my kind of picnic. Top Chef, why are you not sending me to all these things? Because I've shat on your show for going on five or six years? Grow up. "

                                                                                                                                                              2. A few amusing comments in Max's wrap up:


                                                                                                                                                                Sorry just saw Momjamin did this too.

                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Joanie

                                                                                                                                                                  "Josh seems to miss Stefan more than he misses his wife, who at this point is past her due date. Maybe Stefan will be reincarnated as Josh's child. I imagine they'll both be bald, critical of Josh's cooking, and very into nursing." - hah! love it.

                                                                                                                                                                2. fun episode!

                                                                                                                                                                  I rolled my eys as Josh added bacon to his QF dish. :)

                                                                                                                                                                  18 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                                                                      i didn't. i'd be curious to see a list of all the dishes josh has made on the show, how many of them contained bacon. i honestly don't know what the outcome would be, although, to be honest, even if a vast majority contained bacon, it wouldn't bother me. that doesn't reflect on his cooking any more than another cook putting butter or oil in a vast majority of dishes.

                                                                                                                                                                      i'd also be curious as to how many of the dishes of, say, kevin gillespie (season 6) contained bacon.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: linus

                                                                                                                                                                        Of course not.

                                                                                                                                                                        That's a bit of an stretch to equate using bacon to using oil in a dish.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                                                                          i don't know that it's any more of a stretch than a mediterranean finishing lots of dishes with olive oil.
                                                                                                                                                                          olive oil is a fat that has flavour. butter is a fat that has flavour. bacon is a fat that has flavour.
                                                                                                                                                                          all seems fairly the same to me.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: linus

                                                                                                                                                                            'all seems fairly the same to me.'

                                                                                                                                                                            You're comparing apples to oranges or in this case bacon to olives or perhaps contrarian to nonsensical.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                                                                              actually, i'm comparing cooking fat to cooking fat.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: linus

                                                                                                                                                                                Actually, it's a cooking fat to bacon, which I believe would be considered a meat.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: donovt

                                                                                                                                                                                  true enough, but perhaps josh uses bacon because he likes cooking with the fat.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: linus

                                                                                                                                                                                    Possibly. There's certainly nothing better than cooking with bacon fat. I'm thinking about making carnitas using the quart of bacon fat in my fridge.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: linus

                                                                                                                                                                          There's using bacon and then there's using bacon badly. Bacon with sushi, bacon with crab--apparently Kevin couldn't pull off the odd combinations. Bacon is a strong taste. I wouldn't want to eat bacon in every dish in every meal, no matter how well it was cooked and his were poorly cooked. As Padma told him, stop cooking pork poorly or stop referring to yourself as the pork guy.

                                                                                                                                                                          "olive oil is a fat that has flavour. butter is a fat that has flavour. bacon is a fat that has flavour."

                                                                                                                                                                          And yet, there are times when you use olive oil, times when you use butter and times when you use bacon and being a good cook means knowing when to use which one. Maybe you don't see the difference but that doesn't mean there isn't one.

                                                                                                                                                                          Thyme is a spice with flavor. Nutmeg is a spice with flavor. Dried mustard is a spice with flavor. And, yet, they're not "fairly the same" to most cooks.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                            um, who says josh doesn't "know when to use which one"?
                                                                                                                                                                            maybe he chooses to use bacon because he likes it.

                                                                                                                                                                            bruce springsteen plays mostly bruce springsteen type songs, and rarely plays german lieder or brazilian farro or chinese opera. that doesn't mean he's not a "good musician."

                                                                                                                                                                            i don't think a sushi chef, for example, is "not a good cook" because he chooses to make mostly sushi.
                                                                                                                                                                            as far as padma's comment goes, well, one, good on you for using padma as something other than a punching bag around here, and two, o.k., he cooked the pork badly.
                                                                                                                                                                            maybe that means he doesn't know how to cook pork. or, maybe it means he chokes on television. i'll bet chefs and cooks make bad dishes and screw up outside of top chef. fortunately for them, they don't have to serve them on national t.v.

                                                                                                                                                                            i don't think your spice analogy holds. the use of spices is different than the use of cooking fats. perhaps josh thinks bacon is the best choice of cooking fat in most cases.
                                                                                                                                                                            olive oil can be a strong taste, too. and so can butter. it's well documented, for example, how much butter goes into many restaurant dishes.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: linus

                                                                                                                                                                              Apparently the judges who are actually eating his food don't care for it. He's been in the "low" group five times (matches Josie's record), no QF wins, only 1 EC win and was called out for the bacon not working with in his succotash and his poor bacon sushi sandwich. I have no doubt he uses it because he loves it. Who cares, if you don't do it successfully, as shown by his record?

                                                                                                                                                                              A sushi chef might only make sushi but I'll bet a good one will know when it's appropriate not to do it just for the sake of being able to do it ("Hmmm, bacon challenge, let me put a big hunk on a nice delicate piece of fish"). Bruce Springsteen would lose in a chamber orchestra concert. But, I have the feeling he has the sense not to try. And, that's the distinction.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                according to a post above, they don't care for his use of bacon a whopping 29 percent of the time he actually uses it.
                                                                                                                                                                                just because you don't win a challenge doesn't mean your food was bad. just because you're in the "low group" doesn't mean your food was bad.
                                                                                                                                                                                it means other people had (subjectively) better food with you.
                                                                                                                                                                                look, if there's five people left, someone is going to have the "fifth place food." that doesn't mean it was bad. same with four people, three people, 12 people.

                                                                                                                                                                                i'm not sure there's a bible anywhere stating the appropriate and non-appropriate uses of bacon.

                                                                                                                                                                                as for your distinction, i'm afraid i don't understand it. someone above called out josh for "not taking risks," like bruce being afraid to rock a string quartet. maybe using bacon a "lot" (29 percent of the time. whoa.) IS taking a risk.

                                                                                                                                                                                maybe he's lulling the judges into a false sense of bacon security.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: jujuthomas

                                                                                                                                                                        juju, it'll be interesting to see if Josh goes back to using bacon in his upcoming dishes.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                          You're such an awesome source, Linda! Good to see Kevin refrained from using bacon with crab. This sounds amazing.


                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                            Yup - Josh has already had 29% of his dishes using bacon - out of 24 dishes so far. Kevin was at a total of 20% (29 dishes total).

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                              29 percent? golly, all of that?

                                                                                                                                                                              that's hardly using bacon for everything. like someone said, hyperbole.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                            me too! I love me some bacon, but he's approaching the "Top Scallop" arena, as I believe someone mentioned up thread. :-D

                                                                                                                                                                            I can't wait to get home and read the blogs, can't at work.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. It looks to me as if TC is setting up for a woman to win this season. Both Brooke and Kristin have been the most consistent in putting out excellent food, and the only reason Kristin is gone is because she took the fall for Josie. IMO, Josh is a culinary lightweight compared to them and the relative sophistication of their dishes, and Sheldon has proven himself to be very erratic in recent challenges.

                                                                                                                                                                          19 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                            What do you mean by "setting up" a woman for the win? Did you think they were setting up men for the win in the past when there were weak women? CJ did really well in the LCK; people were pulling for him. Don't you think if they wanted Kristen to win, they would have just edited her for the win and let Stephan go--they could have easily thrown it for the women team in RW. I have to say it's frustrating that when women do well, people chalk it up to their being gifted with it. It's not the Kristen or Brooke are great chefs. It's that they were put up against weak men. Yeah.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                              By "setting up," I mean that given the chefs who are left, it seems that the best ones left are women. I didn't mean that the show was rigged for that; I meant that all signs point that way for me, and I'd be disappointed if neither Kristin nor Brooke won. I would never posit that they weren't strong in their own right, only that their strongest competition would be each other.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                Thanks for clarifying it. It honestly didn't seem like something you would think or say. Oops, egg on my face--sorry!

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                  No problem, I probably could have found a better way to express that! As of now, I'm on team Brooke, but if Kristin gets back in -- which I hope and believe she will -- then I just don't know!

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                    chowser, I assume you mean a properly poached egg? On top of duck hash confit, with a wild mushroom-shallot cream sauce?

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                        Don't forget the bacon and chum!

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                    Roxlet said they are "Setting up FOR" a woman to win. I believe she means that way the competition is going, and the edit everyone is getting hints that one of the girls is going to win.

                                                                                                                                                                                    I agree with her that Brooke and Kristen have seemed more consistent and stronger in the kitchen than the guys who are left. (and I really like Sheldon, but you gotta admit he's been inconsistent) If CJ had remained in the competition, I think it would be more difficult to predict the outcome, since he is also clearly a strong competitor, who was eliminated too soon.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: jujuthomas

                                                                                                                                                                                      Yes, you're right--roxlet clarified it. But, what a Freudian eye-opening moment for me with how I read that.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                        we must have been typing at just about the same time. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: jujuthomas

                                                                                                                                                                                        You know, everyone has written off CJ as gone. Last I looked he was probably going to win the save a chef vote which would mean Kristen would have to beat him for a 2nd time in LCK to return to the competition. That will be difficult although I'll be rooting for her. I also think it might be more than just Tom judging that final -just my gut feeling. And I still think that will take place prior to continuing so... either Kristen or CJ rejoins the remaining 3 next week. I'm willing to put my reputation as being clairvoyant on the line with that view. Also, Brooke is my pick to win it all.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: bobbert

                                                                                                                                                                                          good point re: CJ - we'll just have to see how it plays out. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                      When I read your comment about "TC setting it up for a woman to win" I thought you meant Tom Col. was setting it up that way. I now realize you meant Top Chef, but I've often wondered about Last Chance Kitchen. Tom has the only vote and he could put anyone he wants back into the game. I'm not suggesting the fix is in, but he sure did seem to like a certain dish this week, but pick the other chef (no spoilers).

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Bart Hound

                                                                                                                                                                                        With Tom having the only vote it does make one raise an eyebrow to his selection. Still glad Kristen is still in the running

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: scubadoo97

                                                                                                                                                                                          Well. As long as he likes who everyone here likes ;->

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Bart Hound

                                                                                                                                                                                          I think it's the gift of editing. If Tom wanted to throw the contest, don't you think he'd just coach his words to favor the one he wants to win? Like in The Bachelor, I'd hope the finak decision isn't as uncertain as the editing makes it seem.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                            Big Spoiler alert ... a reputable media source has an exciting preview of next weeks show... product placement does play a big part in it...


                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: cwdonald

                                                                                                                                                                                              Funny. Not too far from TC reality

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: cwdonald

                                                                                                                                                                                                Some really impressive butchering skills on display there.

                                                                                                                                                                                        3. I had two thoughts as I watched it. When Sean Brock said he had flown 13 hours to get there I did a double take as I wasn't really paying attention to where he was from. Couldn't they find a good chef in Alaska to judge this thing?

                                                                                                                                                                                          And when Sheldon jumped out of the curtain I had this instantaneous thought that this was how they were going to get the LCK person back in (obvioiusly not thinking very clearly that it's not done yet). Surprise!!

                                                                                                                                                                                          6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: DGresh

                                                                                                                                                                                            "When Sean Brock said he had flown 13 hours to get there I did a double take as I wasn't really paying attention to where he was from. Couldn't they find a good chef in Alaska to judge this thing?"
                                                                                                                                                                                            That was a puzzler for me also. Plus, he looked so sour and out of sorts for the whole episode, kind of like he had been forced to judge Top Chef as some kind of community service.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ratgirlagogo

                                                                                                                                                                                              He's been in the limelight recently and featured in David Chang and Anthony Bourdain's shows. It certainly didn't hurt his exposure to be seen again

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ratgirlagogo

                                                                                                                                                                                                well, according to Hugh's blog, he was probably hungover most of the time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ratgirlagogo

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I thought he looked like he'd spent 13 hours in coach class with his knees up near his chin on a red eye.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: DGresh

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I was thinking that he'd come in steerage, too, but with his knees up around his ears. A friend of mine who is a bilateral amputee says the only good thing about it is that she never gets cold toes anymore when flying, and can take her legs off to give herself more room in steerage. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: DGresh

                                                                                                                                                                                                  That struck me as odd as well. Culinary professionals from Alaska have been notable absent. Usually the owner of an establishment will at lest be introduced. But when they were cooing at the crab shack no one from the place was there. Like they handed the keys over and went home.