Top Chef: Seattle Recap
By Kim Hollis and David Mumpower
January 2, 2013
Each meal must match up to one of the roller girls’ names. These colorful monikers include Teriyaki Terror, who “tears girls apart;” Jalapeno Business, who is “2 hot 2 handle,” Eddie Shredder, who will “shred the track” (okay, hers is pretty damned lame); Kutta Rump, who is a “roast beast;” and Tempura Tantrum, who “has a bad temper.” Emeril says that the dishes need to be bold and brash to match the names. Tempura Tantrum comments that they don’t really want the food to be fussy, but says that they also don’t want concession-type meals either.
Since he won the Quickfire, Micah gets to choose on behalf of himself and Lizzie. Their skater girl is Jalapeno Business. Also as a result of winning the Quickfire, Micah gets to select the next duo to choose their skater. He awards Sheldon, who is teamed with Josh and picks Tempura Tantrum. Josh figures this is a great choice because Sheldon cooks a lot of Asian food.
Next up are Stefan and Kristen (heh heh heh), who select Eddie Shredder. Stefan makes sure to say something creepy to her. Brooke and John will Kutta Rump, and finally Bart and Josie are the last team left, so they’re left with Teriyaki Terror. Bart gets both the worst teammate and the worst ingredient. Doesn’t his knighthood mean anything? Since it’s a Belgian knighthood, we suppose note.
Teriyaki Terror invites the chefs to attend their game that same evening for inspiration. Let’s just say that for the most part, the chefs are not roller derby type of people. They’re pretty much there for the beer. There is one notable exception, though. Josie is “being more obnoxious than usual,” according to Josh, cheering for Teriyaki Terror, who happens to be sitting on the bench. Even Sheldon says “f#ck.” Sheldon!
Back at the Top Chef residence, everyone gets together to complain about her. Although she appears to have passed out on the couch, Josie hears everything they’re saying and chooses this moment to deliver an odd soliloquy. “This tree right here, you don’t wanna bark up, Micah, okay? Because, see, this right here knows who she is. You are hiding in a closet!” Micah has some trouble figuring out what all this means, but supposes it means that he is gay but doesn’t know it. As for Josie, she closes this segment out with a “Namaste, bitches.” We don’t think she knows what “Namaste” means.
Lizzie and Micah have never worked together before, but have a plan for a stuffed jalapeno. The way Lizzie describes it, the dish sounds pretty interesting. Bart is trying to settle Josie down, knowing that she’s A) nuts, B) rattled and C) a terrible teammate. We wish him good luck with that. He’s also concerned that their dish might be too spicy, because his flavor profiles don’t really match with Josie’s. This smells like trouble.
Although Stefan tries to rib John for being old, asking him if he roller skated in the 1950s, John’s having a great time cooking with Brooke. He tells her how much he appreciated her taking time to get to know him and talk to him, and comments that she reminds him of his daughter. He’s very human in this moment.
The judges arrive, including Padma, Tom, Emeril and Hugh Acheson, who instantly ups the funny quip potential. He does not disappoint. As soon as they get to their table, he tells Padma that her roller derby name would be Padma Smacks Me. She laughs. So do we.
Their first visit is to John and Brooke’s table, where they are serving Thai beef with lobster jasmine rice and Thai slaw. The flavors are complicated but well constructed. Kutta Rump notes that the spiciness really builds as you eat the dish (in a good way). They certainly seem safe tonight.
Bart & Josie’s teriyaki terror is represented by steak teriyaki with forbidden rice and a beet blood and green papaya salad. Bart says that the teriyaki is in the steak and the terror is in the glass. It does look pretty nasty. Teriyaki Terror says, “This is really unique, this taste right here.”
Hugh asks her, “Is that unique good or unique crappy?”
Not wanting to be overly mean, Ms. Terror replies, “It’s a little to earthy for me.”
“Mmm, we’re going to unique crappy,” Hugh says sardonically.
Even worse, you see danger signs in Tom’s reaction to the dish. He wonders how Josie and Bart expected to be able to get the right flavor profile by sautéing each individual piece of meat. Padma says that the rice is overcooked, and Emeril says the rice is under-seasoned. Cut to Josie telling some customers, “It’s a little spicy, huh?” We think it’s safe to say Josie and Bart will be in the bottom grouping tonight, and unless someone blows it big time, one of them will be going home. Even the editors couldn’t find a way to make us think that they have a chance.
According to Hugh, Emeril’s roller derby name should be Roux the Day Lagasse. The group decides that “Bam Bam” Lagasse makes the most sense. They’re right, of course.
As we mentioned previously, Lizzie and Micah are serving crab-stuffed jalapeno with avocado cream, onion and pepper relish. This looks absolutely delicious. Lizzie worries that it might be spicy, but Hugh says it’s better than he thought it would be, and Tom gives it high compliments. Jalapeno Business appreciates the way that a simple dish was elevated to something quite special. Everyone at the table nods.
Stefan and Kristen have created a corn puree with chicken liver and sunny-side up egg. It looks pretty terrific, but gets mixed reviews. The judges are mostly complimentary but have a couple of ideas on how the dish could be better. Emeril’s egg is slightly overdone. Tom thinks if they had actually shredded some chicken, it would have been appropriate for their theme (Eddie Shredder) and elevated the taste profile.
Finally, we close out with Sheldon and Josh’s tempura yuzu curd with shiso, fresno chili, sweet potato and vanilla. It’s sort of an odd desert. The sauces look colorful and interesting. Emeril loves the idea, but the tempura is not fried enough. Hugh agrees, saying that the sauces and the method of eating the dish are fun, but the tempura ruins it all. Sheldon took responsibility for the tempura, which makes us worry about him for elimination. It seems fairly certain Sheldon and Josh will finish on the bottom along with Josie and Bart.
On the plus side, Tempura Tantrum loves their dish.