Top Chef Boston Recap: Episode 11
By Jason Lee
January 19, 2015
Following Doug’s elimination last week, the chefs stew in the Stew Room with a myriad of emotions. Greg is lamenting Doug’s departure - he calls him his “bro.” Mei comments to us that with only four chefs left, “it’s war.” George is down on himself after botching his protein, and Melissa is upset that she’s taken a step back after her recent series of solid performances. She’s feeling good about being in the top four, but misses her family and girlfriend.
George points out that there’s a lot of diversity among the remaining chefs. “We’ve got a little Asian (Mei), a gay Asian (Melissa), a gay black dude (Greg), and a white straight guy (himself),” he says. Wow, way to be as reductive as possible, George.
Before we know it, we’re in the Top Chef Kitchen for the Quickfire Challenge. Wait. No, we’re not. What’s going on?
Padma stands with 2014 James Beard Award winner Ashley Christenen and announces that there will be no Quickfire Challenge today. We’re heading straight into the Elimination Challenge.
Cue Elimination Challenge graphic.
The challenge is straightforward. The chefs will head to Island Creek Oyster Farm where they’ll dredge oysters and the rest of their ingredients. After that, they’ll have to create two dishes that utilize local seafood - one appetizer and one entrée. This is a big job, so the chefs will be getting a little help.
And in very Top-Chef fashion, in walks a family member for each chef - George’s dad, Greg’s sister, Melissa’s mom, and Mei’s brother. There are a lot of happy exclamations and some tears... except from Mei and her brother. Their reunion is casual and laid back.
Padma explains that their respective family members will be acting as their sous chefs. The cheftestants receive this news with mixed reactions. Mei is less than thrilled. “I’lll do all the work,” she promises, because her brother “can’t cook.” George is similarly worried - he’s not sure if his dad will be able to take direction from him. “Nothing was ever good enough for him,” he recalls.
The final twist: the cheftestants will not be allowed to touch the appetizers. Instead, those dishes will be executed entirely by their loved ones. As such, there will be no elimination this week. Rather, the winner of the Elimination Challenge will go directly to the final round in Mexico. The remaining three will fight it out one more time next week.
The chefs and their family members head over to Island Creek and set sail on their ships to dredge up oysters. Amusing family drama ensues. Mei’s brother breaks a crank on the boat. Mei scowls. George’s Greek father is very reluctant to try a raw oyster. He is finally convinced to try one - his facial expression clearly indicates that he relishes neither the flavor nor the texture.
The cheftestants complete their shopping at Whole Foods then head back to a beautiful house in Gloucester. Seriously, this is one of the nicest places I’ve ever seen TC-ers stay at. It rivals some of the Real World houses. Dinner gets started and the chefs start reminiscing with their family members.