Top Chef: Seattle Recap
By Kim Hollis and David Mumpower
December 4, 2012
Stefan is making liver, and he frets a bit about the method of cooking it. He’s determined to make the best throwback dish possible. The grill room is so small that only a couple of people can fit inside it, so Carla is having to tell the assigned grill people how she wants her dish to be cooked. She tells them that she wants the squab to be cooked medium rare. Also, the birds look pretty gross.
CJ is using the sous vide technique on his shish kabobs. This seems unnecessarily complex for a dish that is supposed to be straight out of the 1950s. We struggle to picture the Fonz ordering this off of Al’s menu.
John Cesar has taken the lead here, and he’s being pretty insistent that dishes be plated the way he suggests and shows some irritation at his fellow chefs when they don’t jump precisely when he says jump. As the tickets for the first meal orders come in, chaos reigns. John is barking out orders, but he’s only confusing the other chefs. His communication skills are lacking. Also, the routine he has established over his career does not seem adaptable to this particular circumstance. Clearly, there are too many chefs in this kitchen.
The first set of dishes to be served include:
- Tyler’s fresh crab leg cocktail, which is colorful and nice. We can tell immediately that in order to cook ‘50s-style, components are stripped. A crab leg is just a crab leg.
- Marinated herring from Lizzie, complete with saltine crackers on the side. This is a very simple dish, but Tom is beaming after he sees it.
- The aforementioned French onion from Josh, which looks great, but the bread at the top is not really breaking apart and soaking into the soup like you would expect. It looks tough to eat. Architecturally, this dish strikes us as flawed.
- John serves steamed clams bordelaise. The bread on the side looks great, while the clams are surprisingly colorful.
- The Canlis special salad from Chrissy is pretty sloppy looking. To be fair, as we’ve noted, this was the toughest dish to draw since it’s such a staple of the restaurant. From the looks of the salad, she has not come through. Hopefully it tastes better than its appearance.
- Brooke has created seafood salad a la Louis. It’s pretty basic, but that seems to be the theme of the night.
The judges comment that Tyler’s crab cocktail is perfectly suited to the time period and that his ingredients were mixed perfectly. Finally, Tyler seems to have gotten off the schneid. If he can pull off a top three finish, he’s going to have an enormous boost in self-assurance.
Josh’s soup was too salty, cold, and “not guest friendly.” One of the Canlis brothers comments that you need a spoon, a fork and a knife to eat this meal. It’s way too hard to cut through the crouton. At this moment, we cut to the kitchen, where Josh is complaining that his dishes are not being expedited at the speed necessary to ensure they are hot. The feud continues.