Top Chef Boston Recap

By Jason Lee

November 3, 2014

Ron is smiling to hide his intense hatred of certain other contestants. You know the ones.

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The TC producers bring us back to the Stew Room in the immediate aftermath of Joy’s elimination. Ron pointedly expresses his hope that on the next team challenge, they aren’t so many “children” cooking in the kitchen. Aaron divines insult lurking in Ron’s subtext and asks Ron if he’s accusing the Green Team of sending Joy home. Ron shows admirable restraint in not responding with a monotone “duh,” and notes that the Yellow Team’s plating was a shit show. Aaron responds that at least they (i.e. Stacy) cooked their protein properly. Ron says that both Keriann and Aaron should have gone home for their unprofessional behavior.

Wow, is this going to be the most argumentative cast since TC Season 2? I say “since TC Season 2” cause nothing will top Betty, Sam, and Ilan ripping Marcel a new one, each in separate episodes. Ah, that was a glorious season.

The producers cut to the next morning and we see that Aaron has found himself a buddy in the house: James. James says that he and Aaron have similar backgrounds, with tough childhoods and no glowing culinary resume (unlike some of the other cheftestants). Aaron discusses his general lack of discipline and a father figure growing up. He says that he became self-reliant and recognizes that others might see him as a cocky asshole (no argument there) but professes that he knows his strengths and weaknesses (I’m not so sure about the latter) and says he’ll work himself out on TC.

The Quickfire kicks off with Ming Tsai as the guest judge. And we have our second Sudden Death Quickfire of the season! Dougie commences an internal freak out.

The inspiration for the SDQ is the Boston Tea party. The cheftestants will get a random tea box and must make a dish that highlights whatever tea they get. Winner gets immunity; loser is up for immediate elimination. And… GO!

Immediately, some of the chefs start bitching about their teas. Aaron got gunpowder spearmint and he’s not happy. Rebecca wanted black tea but got lemongrass pomegranate. I’m wonder which Teavana got cleared out for this challenge, because these are certainly some specialty teas.


James is busy cooking his rainbow trout. Aaron shows that no one is safe from his disdain - not even his “buddy” - saying that James’s dish is dated. “80s, baby,” he remarks, drawing a parallel with James’s bizarre Patrick Swayze tattoo.

There’s other cooking going on, and none of it good. Ron has totally scorched his duck breast and has to rely on his backup. Aaron has “cooked the shit” out of his monkfish cheeks and hopes that the other ingredients on his dish are enough to keep him off the bottom (ah, like last week with Stacy’s chicken saving the day).

Out of the 13 SDQ dishes, Ming Tsai loved three most of all. Melissa cooked a delicious duck breast with toasted nut oolong tea - Ming loves the incorporation of rice flavor. Greg made a tuna crudo with strawberries and white tea that blew Ming away with its use of the fruit. Finally, Ron was super ballsy in making a mole (!!!) with crusted duck breast. Ming thought his mole was the best sauce of the round.

And the winner ends up being Greg with his perfect ratio of tuna to strawberry. Greg revels in his second win of the season… though his first “win” was in a team challenge, so it’s hard to know how much of the win to attribute to him.

On the bottom are the trio of Aaron (with his way overcooked monkfish cheeks), James (who put on way too much beurre blanc sauce), and Rebecca (who didn’t incorporate enough of the tea flavor in her “neutral” cake).

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