Top Chef: Seattle Recap

By David Mumpower

December 18, 2012

She absolutely doesn't seem like she's in over her head!

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Previously on Top Chef, my beloved CJ was eliminated because he failed to create a tasty burger. Also, Tyler was removed from the competition for being an unsuccessful Yes Man to CJ. Tyler is the John Elway chef with the insecurity complex. Tyler’s inability to stand up to a chef he perceived as better rightfully led to his elimination. This is a learning experience for future contestants. Going along for the ride on somebody’s coattails is the quickest way out of the game.

These two gentlemen managed to produce the worst food during a challenge where everyone failed so completely that Head Judge Tom Colicchio refused to award any participant with the announced $10,000 prize for first place. In other words, CJ and Tyler finished last in a competition wherein everyone’s food tasted like Papa John’s pizza. As much as I like CJ, this was a tremendous setback.

The good news is that Last Chance Kitchen has returned so CJ and Tyler are still alive at the moment, thanks to a victory over Kuniko. Their odds of a return to the game are still remote. CJ would have to win the equivalent of eight consecutive coin flips. If you’re going to try this, CJ, remember that tails never fails. Except when it does.


After only four episodes of the actual Top Chef competition, we have witnessed some strange math. Initially, 15 contestants earned their jackets. Then, three former players were added to the mix. Single eliminations occurred in the first two episodes. Over the past two episodes, four different chefs have been eliminated from the game. So, we started with 15, added three and have now removed six. A dozen contenders remain in the winner’s bracket along with Tyler and CJ at Last Chance Kitchen. There have been a lot of moving parts considering how little has been settled thus far.

Tonight’s episode begins with multiple chefs dealing with the ramifications of the most recent Judges Table. Brooke is despondent over the harsh words directed at her cooking. Joshua is being teased that he will have to change the name of his restaurant from Divine Swine to Divine Cow. A bit of foreshadowing occurs when Stefan states, “No more pork, dude!” Joshua is hopeful that he will have a chance to redeem himself with regards to his favorite protein. So he is either going to win an upcoming challenge with a pork dish or he will be sent home for one.

We segue straight to the Quickfire Challenge, where the chefs are introduced to Marilyn Hagerty. The 86-year-old gained notoriety early in 2012 when her sincere review of a new Olive Garden Restaurant went viral. You can read the review here if you have not already done so. The 55-year veteran of the newspaper industry became an overnight media darling because she is the grandmother everybody wants. The cast of Top Chef instantly falls in love with the woman due to her genial positivity.

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