Top Chef: Seattle Recap
By Kim Hollis and David Mumpower
December 4, 2012
Stefan and Carla continue to butt heads. She hates that he seems to be demeaning her while he’s just sick of listening to her talk.
After Padma and Naomi have tasted all of the dishes, they announce that the bottom three dishes include:
- Lizzie, whose shank with roasted turnips was just too tough, mainly because Lizzie used a pressure cooker to complete the process. Lizzie didn’t have a lot of familiarity with this apparatus and knew that it was dicey to cook the meat in this manner. She’s not particularly surprised to hear Naomi bring up her meal.
- Eliza’s flank steak was well cooked, but the combination of asparagus and cherries was ill-considered (sounds pretty gnarly to us).
- Tyler, with a bottom round crudo that was under-seasoned. His nerves were clearly a problem in this challenge.
On the other, more happy side of things, we have:
- CJ’s fantastic tartare, with perfect knife cuts. His confidence extends to this judging session, because he smiles a little smugly. (It’s okay. We still dig him.)
- Josh, who created a meatball with polenta. The flavor profile was fantastic, and the meatball was perfect.
- John Tesar’s name is announced as winner of the challenge, much to CJ’s chagrin. John’s oxtail gnocchi had a delicious sauce that came together as a result of the process he used to cook the meat. Naomi says that John’s dish really showed a knowledge of beef in general and also notes that the difficulty level was high. Thus, Texas beats Oklahoma (John vs. Josh), and CJ’s swagger is dashed to pieces.
We move immediately into the Elimination Challenge, and Padma brings out Mark and Brian Canlis, co-owners of Canlis. Their grandfather opened the restaurant in 1950 and it was fine dining the likes of which had never been seen. Today’s challenge will require the chefs to choose items from the original menu and recreate them using today’s techniques and skills.
Stefan takes this opportunity to celebrate the 1950s. He likes the more basic cooking style as well as the dirty martinis. He says, “Extra dirty. Super dirty.” Every word Stefan says leaves us with the impression that the law requires him to introduce himself to the neighbors every time he moves.
Another curve ball is thrown at the chefs when Padma announces that two people will be eliminated after this challenge. Tyler immediately takes a moment to freak out a little bit more. Composure is not in his vocabulary right now.
While the assignments are being divvied up, some notable comments come from the likes of Kristen, Carla and Chrissy. Kristen is annoyed that she’s basically making two side dishes in fried onions and sautéed mushrooms; Carla is uncomfortable with cooking squab; and Chrissy feels very much under the gun because she has agreed to take on the trademark Canlis Salad, a dish that has remained on the menu from the time of the restaurant’s opening.
John has decided that he will expedite since he has immunity, and instantly irritates both CJ and Josh. CJ isn’t really receptive to having John boss him around, while Josh’s hackles are raised when John tries to give Josh some advice about making French onion soup.