Top Chef Boston Recap

By Jason Lee

November 25, 2014


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The episode opens with the cheftestants returning to the loft, Aaron-free for the first time. Katie is the first to enter, and she does so with a beaming smile on her face. The cheftestants all toast to Aaron’s departure. Yep, they disliked him as much as we guessed. Kerinna notes that he butted heads with everyone in the house. Greg calls him a pain in the ass. There is general assent that he was incredibly messy in the kitchen.

The next morning, before anyone is even ready to start thinking about the Quickfire, in walks Tiffani Faison, runner-up in Top Chef Season 1 and Top Chef: Duels, and frankly, one of my favorite chefs to have ever graced the show. She says she has a surprise for them… and as a side note, I think there are few instances in life where the word “surprise” has more of a negative connotation. Do any of the chefs really relish hearing that there’s a “surprise” in store?

Tiffani takes the chefs to an unnamed lake or pond where they spot a huge load of cranberries floating in a fenced-in circle. Frankly, it looks like the exact lake where Ocean Spray films its commercials with that old, cranky guy and the dumb-but-in-a-cute-way younger guy.

The chefs are informed the first part of their Quickfire will require them to slog out in waist-high water to where the cranberries are and “harvest” them - meaning, carry armfuls of cranberries from the lake to the shore. The first four chefs to fill their baskets to the brim will get a “huge advantage” in the next part of the Quickfire.

Adam, with his long lanky legs, and Katsuji, with his… regular legs, jump out to an early lead. Mei Lin is fine being one of the slowest chefs. She points out that she can’t swim and is only 5’2”. In a bit of a surprise, Katie ends up being the quickest chef to fill her basket. Adam and Greg follow, with Doug getting the last spot. Katsuji collapses due to exhaustion on the shore. He’s only being slightly melodramatic.


Back at the Top Chef kitchen, the chefs are tasked with cooking a dish that highlights the versatility of the cranberry. And yes, Ocean Spray is the sponsor of this Quickfire Challenge, so the chefs will not only have the cranberries that they harvested, but lots of Ocean Spray products to use. As for the other ingredients available to the chefs, the four fastest chefs are allowed to use anything on the “high-end” table, while the five slowest must make due with more modest ingredients on a second table, like ground pork and ketchup. “It has nothing fancy,” Katsuji pouts. Keriann eyes the “high-end” table with obvious envy.

The cooking gets underway and most everything being made sounds pretty good… except for Katie’s dish. She’s using cranberries to make borscht. It sounds bizarre and looks bizarre, but she seems confident. “It looks disgusting,” Doug tells us.

Meanwhile, Adam is making something called “cranberry dirty water.” Don’t ask me what it is, because I have no clue. It was apparently intended for use in Adam’s couscous, but that idea has gone down the drain.

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