Top Chef Boston Recap
Boston's Bravest and Finest
By Jason Lee
October 28, 2014
Welcome back, TCers. In keeping with their practice from last season, the producers of Top Chef open this week’s episode by throwing us back in the Stew Room, immediately following Michael’s elimination last week. Mei Lin is reveling in her victory. She asserts that her triumph and pedigree of working for Michael Voltaggio has shown the other chefs that she’s a force to be reckoned with.
Katsuji, on the other hand, is embarrassed. He made a fool of himself last week by trying to open clams in the most ridiculous way possible (BANG BANG BANG) and ended up on the bottom of the elimination challenge with his twenty-eight-ingredient “taco” - a description that draws laughter from the other chefs. He’s looking for some redemption.
Katie, who joined Katsuji on the bottom, laments Richard’s lack of receptivity to her olive oil powder. Aaron jumps in and criticizes her use of molecular gastronomy, saying that it’s the first “go to” for rookie chefs. He’s pretty demeaning, but Katie stands up for herself and her decision. I’m impressed - looks like we’re gonna have a crew of cheftestants that are confident in their own skills and comfortable in their own skin.
Cut to the following morning, and we’re treated to gratuitous shots of the cheftestants getting out of bed. “What’s the point?” I wonder aloud. “These people aren’t gorgeous, pseudo-models waking up without a shirt. This isn’t Million Dollar Listing.” In somewhat predictable fashion, the camera pans over to James making coffee shirtless (“not bad,” I admit). He says that he’s inspired by brilliance and points to a bizarre tattoo of Patrick Swayze on his arm. I’m not sure how this proves his point.
Soon enough, the chefs are back at the Top Chef Kitchen cooking, where they’re greeted by Todd English. Aaron says that he has realized that he’ll be cooking for the best chefs in the country every day. “So long as you’re not eliminated,” I say to the TV.
Taking in some local, historical flavor, Padma reminds the chefs of the story of how Paul Revere alerted Boston patriots as to the movements of British troops - lanterns were to be hung in Old North Church, “one if by land, two if by sea.” Taking this cue and gesturing to the lamps at the front of the room, the cheftestants will be making the “ultimate surf and turf.” If one lantern goes on, they have to pick an ingredient from the land table; if two lanterns go on, they have to pick an ingredient from the sea table. Pretty cool.
The final product, Todd warns, has to be cohesive. Padma informs the chefs that immunity will not be given to the winning chef, but that he or she will win $5,000.
The challenge begins and one lantern goes on. Half of the chefs run to claim a station while the other half of them run to claim an ingredient. Katsuji grabs sweetbreads, leaving Dougie jealous. He wanted those sweetbreads. James grabs wild boar bacon, and I’m left to note that he’s getting a lot of screen time this week, in contrast to last week. Might he be leaving us over the next hour?