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Top Chef Canada, Season 3, Episode 9

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Before announcing the challenge, Lisa tells the chefs that the finale will be in Calgary.

Quickfire: The chefs have to create a dish inspired by a classic cocktail. Guest judge is Frankie Solarik of BarChef.
Jonathan gets the Cosmopolitan, Nicole gets the Caesar, Dennis gets the Black Russian, Caity gets the Negroni, Matthew gets the Whisky Sour, Geoff gets the Old-Fashioned and Danny gets the Mojito. The prize is $5,000.

On the top: Dennis and Jonathan.
On the bottom: Danny and Nicole.
And the winner is Dennis.

Elimination: The chefs must prepare a 7-course tasting menu based on the diets of animals from the Toronto Zoo and the cuisine of the region the animal is from.
Dennis chooses Indomalaya/Lion-tailed Macaque. Jonathan chooses Canadian Domain/Wood Bison. Caity picks Australasia/Komodo Dragon. Geoff chooses Tundra Trek/Polar Bear. Matthew picks The Americas/Blue and Yellow Macaw. Danny gets Eurasia/Snow Leopard. Nicole gets African Rainforest/Western Lowland Gorilla.
Dennis is also responsible for setting the progression of the meal.

The guest judge is Michael Voltaggio. (Yay!)

The courses:
Jon - Angus tartare w/Parmesan crisp
Dennis - quail and tamarind consommé
Nicole - herbivore tortellini
Danny - Asian-spiced chicken
Geoff - Arctic char with crab hollandaise
Caity - foie gras and veal liver
Matthew - banana and coconut tapioca

On the top: Jonathan, Matthew, Danny and Dennis
On the bottom: Caity, Nicole and Geoff

The judges torment the top four by pretending that they were on the bottom and then telling them that they were on top. The top four receive autographed cookbooks from Michael Voltaggio.
There are two winners this week: Jonathan and Matthew.
And Caity is sent home.

I was surprised that Caity got sent home. I'm not a Caity fan but Geoff has been mediocre throughout the whole show so I thought it would be his time. Although I have to admit that Caity's dish was a strange idea. Liver on top of liver? Strange.

I didn't really understand why the other chefs were so tough on Danny for helping Caity. I agree that she should have cooked her own dish but Danny was just a nice guy. He probably didn't even realize that he was doing anything wrong because it's his nature to be helpful. In any case, his help was not enough to prevent Caity from being eliminated.

I do have to give points to Caity for accepting her elimination with grace. She knew that she did not do a good job and admitted it. I wasn't crazy about Caity but I did grow to respect her more because she was always willing to take criticism and admit when she wasn't good. She wasn't like Becky - denying any mistakes all the way.

At the beginning of the show, the guys were teasing Danny about the leek ash. Which reminds me of a question I have about the last episode. It wasn't clear to me whether the chefs created their own dishes or if they were directed by the team leaders.
Did Danny come up with the leek ash or did Becky tell him to make it? Did she dictate the entire menu for the restaurant because she was the team leader? Or did everyone come up with their own dish, guided by the leader's restaurant theme? Just curious how much of Danny's dishes were his fault (execution) or Becky's fault (concept ?)

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  1. Great recap!

    Hmm - It seems as if Becky suggested the dish based on the way Danny was mocking himself, but it was ultimately his decision to go along with it. He's young and seems impressionable still, especially compared to someone like Matt who looks like he'd do his own thing regardless if the leader wanted it or not

    Definitely agree that Caity became a lot more likeable as the season progressed. I really disliked her at the beginning, but I thought she left very gracefully yesterday. In comparison to Becky's petulant exit, it was definitely a lot more respectful of the whole competition and I like that she acknowledged her own faults

    I have to say, I'm liking the judging more as a whole this season. Not sure if it's just the editing, but Shareen in particular seems to have more insightful and opinionated comments this year instead of just agreeing with everyone else. And I really enjoy Lisa as host

    1 Reply
    1. re: tygrr_lily

      I agree that the concept and recipe were Becky's but that Danny did go along with an idea that he clearly wasn't very comfortable with. Whereas Matt would have pushed back against something like leek ash or really placed it on Becky's shoulders to be responsible for.

      Overall I did find this to be one of the more enjoyable episodes though.

    2. I also don't get why Caity would choose to cook something she dislikes and doesn't eat. I understand that might happen in a restaurant, where the chef doesn't necessarily love everything on the menu but has to make it for customers who do. But that's not the case here -- she had no obligation to make liver.

      It was totally wrong of her to ask Danny for help in the cooking. Plating, sure, but the actual execution of her dish should be all her own.

      Still, I was hoping Geoff would go. He's been pretty meh the whole time.

      1 Reply
      1. re: piccola

        So is Geoff's restaurant...

      2. Great summary - thanks!

        I thought Dennis did really well with the meal progression and it really did look like a tasting menu.

        Any predictions as to who will win? I'm stumped at this point but wonder if the producers aren't under a lot of pressure to have a female Top Chef?

        2 Replies
        1. re: ElizabethS

          Nicole, Jonathon and Matthew - final 3.
          Nicole winning it in a shocking finale.

          1. re: cellophane_star

            Nicole, Matthew and Danny

        2. I have been enjoying watching Top Chef Canada. So far, I have watched all of TCC2, and am up to episode 11 of the first season and I am watching this season as soon as the eposodes show up online. I am an American close to Canada (Minnesota) and I have a Canadian grandmother (she emigrated to Canada and lived there a year) and I have cousins in Vancouver, Moosejaw, North Bay and Timmins, Ontario and also Toronto. The only thing I find real different are the Canadian accents. I know Minnesota is known for a heavy accent (think the movie Fargo) but I actually enjoy listening to a Canadian speak while I get annoyed with many regional U.S. accents. (I have been told I don't have the stereotyped Minnesota accent. I have a background in broadcast news, maybe that's why.)

          Anyway, I liked the episode. A couple observations....

          Danny 'Smiles'... He should not have cooked a competitor's food in an individual challenge. Is he a 'gangsta'?

          Jonathan...why did he cook the bison (beef) instead of what the bison eats? Also, neither bison nor beef eat straw.

          Edit: I almost forgot my dad had cousins in Carmichael, Saskatchewan. I see on Wikipedia that Carmichael has a population of 30. I wonder if any of them are my cousins?

          2 Replies
          1. re: John E.

            I thought the same thing about the beef/bison. My only thought was maybe MacEwan's, where they buy their supplies, was out of bison so he had to settle for beef. However, the show wouldn't want to mention that the store owned by the head judge didn't have a product like bison in their store.

            1. re: cellophane_star

              My point wasn't so much beef instead of bison, it was beef instead of what bison 'eat'. Everyone else made a dish with what their animal feeds on. Of course he could not have prepared a dish with wild grass, so they chose the wrong animal (if they wanted to be logical and consistent.)

          2. I am pretty sure Becky told Danny to do the leek ash dish and gave him instructions on how to do it. Thought I saw that in the episode. I think that is why they were making fun of it this week too.

            EDIT: just noticed the other responses to this question..