Top Chef Boston Recap: Episode 8
By Jason Lee
December 16, 2014
For all the drama and eliminations that have taken place thus far this season - sudden death Quickfires (“SDQ”), head-to-head battles, Thanksgiving in the Boston spring, and yet another surprising outcome in Restaurant Wars - it’s hard to believe, but we’ve passed the midway point in Top Chef: Boston. We started with 16 and now only seven remain. Which, of course, means that we’re a trio of episodes away from the finale.
But more on that later. For now, it’s about making it through this week’s Quickfire, which will be (Padma explains) a SDQ. Yep, someone will be going home after this.
Standing at the front of the kitchen with Padma as the chefs enter is “local legend” Jasper White. Beside them is a table full of clams. Taking a cue from the city’s local cuisine, as the producers so often do, the cheftestants will be putting their own spins on chowder. The winner gets immunity. The loser in this SDQ will have to survive a head-to-head cooking challenge to stay in the competition.
Padma gives them the green light and all of the chefs grab as many little neck clams as possible. Apparently, they’re the type of clams that pack the most flavor, and the single bucket provided to the chefs simply does not provide enough to go around. Adam and Doug apparently get the bulk of the bucket, while Melissa has to scrounge for enough to use. Mei had grabbed some, but some unknown chef steals them from her station and she’s left with three. She has to use steamer clams instead, and she’s appropriately steamed.
Meanwhile, Greg shows that he was as smart in his preparations before the show as he has been throughout the season. Anticipating this challenge, he practiced and is using razor clams to put together his pre-planned dish. It’s a coconut curry soup, and Doug points out that Greg has used this combination on multiple occasions already.
Meanwhile, the other chefs are doing their best to put together unique versions of a Boston staple. Adam doesn’t want a heavy chowder, and is thus incorporating tomato water. Across the room, Katie is doing a bizarre-sounding black tea chowder with sourdough. Katsuji’s chowder - in total Katsuji fashion - is green.
Padma and Jasper make the tasting rounds and before long are ready to announce their decisions. On top are Adam (whose red wine-poached little neck clams with boiled potatoes had excellent flavor), Greg (who smartly incorporated sweet potato into his razor clam chowder with dashi), and Melissa (with a cioppino chowder with clams, shrimp and white wine that was “very tasty”). This is a nice performance by Adam - his first individual top three-showing in any Quickfire or Elimination challenge this entire season, I believe.
He’s not able to get the win, however, as that goes to Greg (his third QF win thus far). Padma assures Adam that he was a “very, very close second,” but it’s cold comfort.