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May 27, 2013 10:04 PM

Top Chef Canada, Season 3, Episode 11

I'd like to start off by saying, The Real Housewives of Vancouver? Really? They couldn't do better?

Quickfire: The chefs have to prepare a dessert for Jody Claman of the Real Housewives of Vancouver. The chefs draw knives to determine which inspirational word will be the focus of the dish.
Danny draws "crisp". Matthew gets "rich". Nicole get "velvety", Jonathan gets "shocking" and Dennis gets "flaky". The winner gets a trip to British Columbia.

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

Elimination: Cater a garden party at a home on the Bridle Path. The chefs have to create two canapés which highlight a luxury ingredient.
The chefs draw knives and Jonathan draws truffles. Matthew gets foie gras. Danny chooses lobster. Nicole draws caviar and Dennis gets Kobe beef.
The winner will receive a $10,000 cash prize.

Matthew's dishes are a foie gras and fig sandwich with crumbled brioche, and an English pea ravioli with foie gras and mushroom butter sauce.
Nicole serves an oyster with caviar, creme fraiche and champagne melon vinaigrette, and a deviled quail egg with caviar.
Jonathan prepares a Dungeness crab salad with shaved truffle, and a ricotta tortellini with white truffle cream sauce.
Dennis makes a Rickard's White marinated Kobe beef tataki on a Yukon Gold potato chip, and an adobo marinated Kobe tenderloin with mint cilantro pesto.
Danny makes a 3-part lobster canapé with cocktail sauce and herring roe, as well as deep-fried lobster with pineapple, ginger General Tao sauce.

After the party, Jon, Matt, Danny and Dennis jump into the pool. The Housewives drool over Matt.

On the top: Jonathan, Matthew and Dennis.
On the bottom: Nicole and Danny.
The winner is Jonathan and Nicole is sent home.

Where to start. Why producers, why the vacuous bimbos of Vancouver? Have you run out of real judges?

I haven't watched the Vancouver housewives but if they are anything like the other Housewives, then they are tacky "rich" plastic, superficial people, setting a terrible example for young women. Ok, end of my Housewife bashing.

Ok, not really. Jody had a dead, vacant look the entire time she was judging the Quickfire. She kind of smiled occasionally but it didn't reach her eyes. By comparison, you could see the sincere smiles from Lisa. Jody was stilted and pretentious during the whole show. When the other judges joked about her moment with Jonathan, she was bitchy and dismissive. Meanwhile her eyes practically rolled back in her head while watching him shave the truffles. And what was she wearing during the Quickfire? Just because it's expensive doesn't mean it looks good.

Ok, back to the food. I knew Danny was going to be in trouble. General Tso is never going to win at an elegant party - what were you thinking Danny? I was surprised that he was so overcome during the judging. I don't want to be sexist but the guys can usually hold it in better than the women. I think he could have easily gone home this week. He and Nicole both did not highlight the luxury ingredient. I was going to be sad either way.

Am I wrong in thinking that a chef on another season served oysters with creme fraiche and was praised for it?

I didn't expect Dennis to last this long but it's nice that he's doing well. He seems like a sweet guy.

Bye Nicole. I thought you'd make it until the end.

Next week, cooking on a plane for Charlie Palmer? Why must the challenges be so gimmicky so late in the season?

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  1. Thanks for the recap chefhound.

    This was probably the hardest episode to watch. I would've cracked a can of dog food and served it to those snobs. Even with the 10k on the line I would've been embarrassed to win.

    I really appreciated Danny's feelings at the judges table. It takes a lot of character to show that kind of emotion. Compared to Matt and Jonathan he's so much more real.

    Since Nicole didn't win I nominate her to get her own TV show. I would most certainly watch regardless of whether it was instructional or reality style.

    At this rate I think Matt is going to win. Just like the previous two seasons (Dale & Carl) he puts out consistent mediocre food that Macewan can't get enough of. This show has absolutely no balls whatsoever. If Danny goes I probably won't bother with the finale.

    1 Reply
    1. re: piano boy

      I'm going to have to disagree with you. I think Matt's food is very interesting. It's always intricate and shows a lot of technique. He's well-rounded and not afraid of desserts. What more can you ask for? Without be able to taste any of the food, I think he has some of the more sophisticated food of the group. I don't think he's ever been in the bottom, has he?
      I also think he's pretty real. I can always see the worried look in his eyes just before Lisa announces if they're in the top or bottom. And he was pretty emotional when he saw his wife and baby. I would be happy if he won.

      I really like Danny as well, but he's hot and cold. Considering that he works for Chuck Hughes' seafood restaurant, he should have done better with the lobster canapes. I hope that he makes it to the finale. I think he's talented and so sweet and likeable but I don't know if he's mature enough to consistently deliver.

    2. At least all the people in it at this point are likable personalities. Very sorry to see Nicole go. I would have thought with her catering background that this challenge would have been right up her alley. At this point I wouldn't mind if any of the remaining chefs won.

      1. I have definitely seen oysters served with creme fraiche before. There is no way that what Nicole or Danny made was bad enough to get served up with such disrespect. I mean, come on, one of the judges was a Real Housewife. It doesn't get lower than that.

        I also took offence to Lisa Ray's comment about Danny's food being "working class". Really, Lisa? Do you forget that you're the child of immigrants and that you, too, work for a living?

        The more I watch the show, the more I respect Becky Ross's decision to leave. She probably saw right through the ratings game.

        22 Replies
        1. re: Karina2

          TCC's facebook page is on fire today with negative comments about last night's show.

          The judging stinks, IMO. So inconsistent from one week to the next. They all come off like typical, uptight Torontonians.

          1. re: C70

            Lisa's offered a halfhearted apology of sorts via Facebook. She's basically blaming the peasants for not understanding her highbrow critique. :) I might be done with the show. All of the judges come from working class backgrounds no matter how much they'd like us to believe otherwise. I found her comment, and the fact that they chose to air it, very anti-Canadian.

          2. re: Karina2

            I normally like Lisa Ray much more than say, Padma. But she was pretty inappropriate.

            1. re: Firegoat

              If she stood any chances of growing on me, this comment and her half-baked apology blew it. I really don't think I can stomach the show from now on.

              1. re: Firegoat

                Yeah, definitely a low-light of the season so far. Maybe the food wasn't good... but, just say it was "bad food"... No need for saying it is "working class"

              2. re: Karina2

                Here is an oysters with creme fraiche recipe from Richard Blais on TC season 8 which received high praise. Also note that this was simply an amuse-bouche, not the main even of an elimination challenge! The recipe is much more technical and innovative than nicole's offering which was pedestrian for an EC.


                1. re: catroast

                  I think part of the problem (as I understood it) was that while oyster and creme fraiche may work, and caviar and creme fraiche may work - the three of them together didn't highlight the caviar.

                2. re: Karina2

                  Why is everyone so offended by the "working class" statement, big deal, it doesn't get any more working class than my parents btw but cmon this is TV. They were in a glitzy backdrop at a multi million dollar house, the judges need to say something and they expect the food to match the surroundings.

                  I'm rooting for Danny as he's a fellow Montrealer and seems really laid back and I figured he was going to kill it when he chose Lobster. Unfortunately his Tao Lobster idea backfired, deep fried doesn't conjure an image of lifestyles of the rich and famous. We can mock the housewives but they were just there for show and to plug their series, this has nothing to do with them.

                  Bottom line is the food didn't match the decor, deepfried in elegant uppy surroundings just don't work.

                  1. re: JerkPork

                    It has everything to do with them. If you want a classy vibe, have classy people. Faux fancy is not something to strive for, so you can't criticize someone for serving something too low grade to people that have very little class. I am sick of the judging on this show and I think that the problem with the guest judge is that she epitomizes the worst of the regular judging panel: superficial, catty, and vaucuous.

                    1. re: aasg

                      I personally don't care nor watch these Housewive junk shows but they didn't bring their cattiness to Top Chef and that's why it has nothing to do with them. It wasn't the housewife judge who made the comment that everyone is up in arms about it was Lisa Ray. That comment still would have been made even with the classiest guest judge around.

                      1. re: JerkPork

                        To reemphasize, the reason it has to do with the Housewives is because the event was centred around them, hence the judges being called out for something not being classy enough. Unless they were ready to turn the cast away at the door, I think pepperoni sticks from a convenience store would have had the same amount of class as them, so Danny's lobster was safe in my books.

                        More simply put, money does not equal class.

                        1. re: aasg

                          I'll reemphasize as well, even if the housewives were not in this episode people still would have been making a stink about Lisa Ray's comment. I gather the opulence of the setting has a lot to do with it, classy guests or not. I personally wasn't offended by the comment, hey like everything else in life we all have our tastes and tolerances.

                          1. re: JerkPork

                            Oh if someone had only had the balls to make tiny little bologna and yellow mustard finger sandwiches with a garnich of caviar.... I would have applauded.

                          2. re: aasg

                            I don't generally associate deep fried meat nuggets with vein bimbos. maybe a general tao lobster would work as part of a larger cocktail party or wedding reception, but as 50% of a challenge on top chef, I think not. Nevermind that it was poorly executed - as the judges said, it could have been any meat.

                      2. re: JerkPork

                        I think where the idea of class and food butt heads is that notion of "who decides"?

                        There have been "cooking for airlines first class" challenges that I remember for Australian Masterchef and (US) Top Chef - were often the dishes that are the most reminiscent of "home cooking" are perfect in the eyes of the airline because of this notion that what the frequent first class passenger wants is a "taste of home". Masterchef US just had a langoustine challenge where the winning dish was a tempura (i.e. deep fried) dish.

                        If Danny's food wasn't good - it wasn't good. But I think that the term "working class" implies that there is "poor people food" and "rich people food". While costly ingredients will always veer towards wealthier people - it doesn't mean that fried is déclassé. It was also supposed to be a cocktail party and Matt got away with serving a fairly large pasta dish.

                        1. re: cresyd

                          there is poor people food, haven't you ever watched an anthony bourdain show?

                          the USA TC judges have called food 'low brow' - exact same connotation, maybe a bit more PC? Regardless, who cares, it's a poorly made tv show, did you really expect better?

                        2. re: JerkPork

                          The term "working class" was used as an insult, and that's precisely the problem. It's not what Canada stands for, and it had no place on a Canadian show.

                        3. re: Karina2

                          'Decide to leave'? What she did was more like quitting just before getting fired.

                          1. re: John E.

                            I actually think they were going to send Smiles home that night instead of Becky. There was some buzz about producers wanting Becky and Matt in the final 2, but riding Becky for drama's sake. I personally don't believe her food that night was as bad as they claimed. Also, if you watch the footage closely from that episode, Caity's food wasn't that well received, and she basically rode on Matt's, Geoff's, and Jonathan's coattails. They declared Caity's team winners simply to create drama. That's my personal opinion.

                            1. re: Karina2

                              I don't think Becky was sent home because her food was bad.

                              1. re: Karina2

                                What is this "buzz" you speak of? Is this speculation or do you have some sources we can refer to?

                                1. re: chefhound

                                  Sorry, no sources. Just something I read online.

                          2. I was a bit disappointed to see Nicole go home. She always demonstrated a sense of class when being judged in previous challenges.

                            While I think the judging itself is terrible and inconsistent, you have to hand it to Nicole and Danny for taking the comments as well as they did.

                            The comment by Lisa seemed so inappropriate especially since the concept of "high class" food is such a social construction. Look at how lobster has become elevated since the past. Lisa's comment seemed so ironic given the actual (sarcasm on) "high class" (sarcasm off) of the housewives of Vancouver.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: daeira

                              Agreed. I was very much put off by the high class/working class comments during judging. Good food is good food. If a trashy reality star can be passed off as classy, a piece of deep fried lobster in a good sauce is royal to me.

                              In this episode, we saw a humanizing segment with Matthew, so it made me all the more certain of what I figured from the first episode: he will win. In the first episode, his personality reminded me of the two past winners.

                              One final thought on Nicole: when they were talking about how she didn't use enough caviar, I was reminded of Meg Ryan's character in "You've Got Mail" who says, "That caviar is a garnish!"

                            2. Sorry to see Nicole go.

                              I'm not sure what is supposed to be "real" about those housewives, either. One of the least interesting guest judges this season and she took herself far too seriously.