Top Chef: Seattle Recap
By Kim Hollis and David Mumpower
January 2, 2013
Padma arrives at the stew room, and tells the chefs that the judges would like to see John, Brooke, Micah and Lizzie. Clearly, this is the top group, because the judges were gushing over these two dishes. And it’s true – these two dishes were the hits of the party. Tom thinks the meals were fantastic, and Emeril just can’t say enough nice things (more so than usual, even). Hugh announces the winner as the dish that was bold and adventurous, citing Brooke and John’s dish as the best of the evening. After Brooke talks about how well she and John meshed, John says, “I finally won.” No credit to the girl who reminds him of his daughter in this confessional. The judges don’t announce any prizes here. We guess just the honor of being at the top is enough.
The four winners are told to send losers Josh, Sheldon, Bart and Josie to Judges Table. Before that happens, though, the chefs in the stew room are discussing Micah and Lizzie’s dish. Stefan says that it was spicy, and Josh says that he tasted it and it was good, but at the end of the day “it’s just a jalapeno popper.”
When you look at the faces of the “losers,” it’s clear that Sheldon is very nervous. He knows that his contribution to the dish was substandard, it’s clear. Tom tells Josh and Sheldon that conceptually the dish was excellent, but it had one problem (the tempura). To Josie and Bart, Tom says that the dish was all over the place. Generally, this is a sign that Tom didn’t understand the dish, and Tom not understanding a dish almost always leads to someone being sent home.
The judges ask who was responsible for which portion of each dish. Clearly, they’ve decided what they don’t like, and just need to decide who made the mistakes. Josie goes through a laundry list of problems with their dish, all of which came about because of her poor decisions. Tom is agitated by how under-seasoned the food was, and addresses Bart directly, commenting on how this problem has recurred for the knight over and over again throughout the season. Colicchio also criticizes Josie for not tasting the dish. When Josie says she did taste it and asked Bart to add more to it, he says that he did. The problem is, after Bart added the additional seasoning, Josie didn’t take the time to taste it again. This is a real issue for Tom and Co. It’s such a brutal critique that we feel relatively certain that Josh and Sheldon will be safe.
Because we love it when Hugh describes things, “It kind of was like a beet…a spoon of syrup on top of a really boring porridge.”
The judges move on to Josh and Sheldon, but it feels like this is just going through the motions before sending home one of Bart or Josie. Josh defends their dish, saying he believed it had amazing flavors. Sheldon, on the other hand, knows immediately what the problem was and steps up to take the blame for bad tempura.
Even though Sheldon appears perfectly willing to take his lumps, Josh wants to ask the judges a question. “The crab-stuffed jalapeno – they told us not to serve concession-style food.”
Tom retorts, “You know what? If that were a canned jalapeno with the skin on that was brined and picked and that they dipped in a bunch of really bad cheese in the center of it, yeah, that would be concessions. But when you take a jalapeno and you roast it, and you peel it, you take the seeds out, the stems out, you put a really nice crab salad in the center of it and it’s perfectly fried, it’s no longer concession.” Don’t mess with the Colicchio.
Despite that little smackdown, Bart is announced as the loser today. Once again, Josie survives another day (like a cockroach) and Bart has taken the bullet for her. He moves on to Last Chance Kitchen, where he competes with CJ to make a perfect dish using chicken breast. Sadly for Sir Bart, CJ defeats him and holds his position.
Nine chefs left. We’re getting to the point where most of the chefs who remain are formidable. Also, Josie is there.