Top Chef: Seattle Recap

By Kim Hollis and David Mumpower

December 4, 2012

Welcome to Loserville, population you two.

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Previously on Top Chef, Tom Colicchio proved once and for all that he is a far superior chef to Emeril Lagasse. Somehow, he was able to do this even though neither he nor Emeril ever plated a single dish. Both men headed up a team of chefs in a Thanksgiving Battle Royale, with the eight players on Tom’s team unanimously besting the nine would-be “bammers”. In the end, Kuniko experienced a stunning reversal of fortune, as eh went from winning to first two challenges to being eliminated.

Remember how we mentioned last time that John Tesar was antagonizing the other contestants after his “friend” Kuniko’s ouster? We pick up right where we left off last week. He continues to criticize Kuniko for her failures in the Elimination Challenge and every chef except for one is shaking their head in derision. The only person who seems somewhat amused by this turn of events is Stefan, who is pleased that he’s not the one having to push people’s buttons for once.

Speaking of Stefan, remember how he had a crush on Jaime during his original season? The same Jaime who dated a girl from the L-word? We’re starting to think Stefan has a type. He awkwardly flirts with “not a lesbian” Kristen, deciding that his best play is to discuss her foot odor. Even if Kristen does like boys and not her BFF Stephanie, we still don’t think that this is the best way to win her heart.

Meanwhile, the tension between John and everyone else in the house is palpable. This is not a trick of editing. When he enters a room, all the eyes follow him. It’s the same expression that children get when they don’t want the unpopular kid to sit at their table at lunch.


We quickly move to the Quickfire Challenge, which features guest judge and Top Chef Masters alum Naomi Pomeroy. We only mention this to say that she has a restaurant named Beast. This name is quite possibly the best one ever for a restaurant. Would you rather go to Chili’s, TGI Fridays, or BEAST? We’re just saying.

What Padma and Naomi reveal looks like something out of a mobster movie. The flayed corpses of skinned animals are hanging from meat hooks. All that is missing is Rocky Balboa shadow boxing beside them. For this challenge, the contestants must butcher the meat for their dish and then prepare it. Padma emphasizes “safety first.” She instructs the chefs that only two of them may carve one slab of meat at the same time. We presume these instructions are in place to prevent the other contestants from giving John Tesar the “Ides of March” treatment.

The two most notable aspects of the cooking during the Quickfire are CJ’s confidence and Tyler’s nervousness. CJ fully believes that he is the best chef this season, and he is certain that his plate will be a winner. Also, he’s bound and determined to defeat John Tesar, who has thoroughly aggravated and annoyed him over the last couple of days. Meanwhile, Tyler is bummed about having finished in the bottom group two times in a row, and it seems to be getting in his head. He’s trying to take a risk with his dish, but he clearly has no confidence whatsoever.

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