Real Time Web Analytics Foodie Gossip: Top Chef Seattle Episode 9 Recap: "Something's Fishy."

Friday, January 4, 2013

Top Chef Seattle Episode 9 Recap: "Something's Fishy."

On week 9 of Top Chef Season 10 in Seattle...

9 chefs left. Is it me or is this season flying by? 

Yikes! We’re greeted by Stefan cursing about wrinkles while plastering his face with moisturizer. Ugh. Definitely not an image you’d wanna wake up to.

Hey what is this? We get a little personal back story on Sheldon? What, is John busy this morning?

Sheldon tells us he sharpens his knife every day, and that’s what separates a great chef from a good chef. Funny how 9 episodes in and we’ve never seen him sharpening his knife before this? I wonder why.


Eric doesn't wear glasses you silly!
The chefs enter the Top Chef kitchen and standing next to our beautiful Padma (today in a sleek black turtleneck) is omigod is that Eric Ripert?! 


This handsome silver haired gentleman is Master Bladesmith Bob Kramer. There are approximately 120 master bladesmiths in this country and his custom made blades cost $ inch. I think Top Chef aside, Master Bladesmith is about as bad ass as it gets. To be a master you must forge a knife that can cut through a free hanging rope, chop through two 2x4’ pieces of lumber, and be able to bend 90 degrees without breaking. Find out more on how to be a bad ass here.

This Quickfire is a team relay skills competition. 

Round 1. Sharpen a dull knife so it can cut through paper. Top two teams move on.

Round 2. Tourne’ 50 potatoes. First team to do so moves on.

Round 3. Break down and french a rack of two rabbits. Final team now competes against each other. 

The first person to finish the rabbits will receive immunity and takes home a Bob Kramer knife. 

Oh and anyone who so much as nicks themselves will be disqualified. 

Here we go!

Round 1. 

Right away Josie tells us how “you needs to have good knife skills to be a good chef. Just like you need to be able to sharpen your knives to be a good chef.”

Thank you for the insight Josie. If that’s the case something tells me you’re not going win this Quickfire.

Surprise! John is ordering his team around. He tells Kristin and Josie to hurry up since the knife only needs to be sharp enough to cut through paper. Before everyone is ready, John calls for judges to check the team’s blades. Whaddaya know. Ends up John’s was the only dull knife on the team.   

Brooke also failed the first inspection and couldn’t get her knife sharp enough before the other two teams cut through the paper. Her team of Stefan and Lizzie are eliminated.

Round 2.

Turning potatoes into mini football shapes is not easy. You basically have to shape the potato into seven evenly spaced smooth sides with both ends tapered. To do that with a big chef’s knife makes it even more difficult - unless you’re this guy

It's supposed to look like this. 
Hey remember how Josie was talking about a good chef needs to know how to sharpen his/her knives? Yeah she cuts herself. *rolleyes*

She’s gone. And with her team being down one person, John and Kristin lose to the team of Micah, Sheldon and Josh.

I gotta say though. No offense to Master Bladesmith (you NEVER want to offend a Master Bladesmith) but if Tom was here those potatoes wouldn’t have passed. The lot of them looked like “little poop logs.” Hey, Micah’s words, not mine.

Round 3.

Sheldon’s never had to break down a rabbit before. I guess with all that Hawaiian seafood around, rabbit isn’t exactly high on anyone’s menu list. 

“Same as a cat.” Josh chimes in.

Sheldon’s not sure how that factoid would be helpful. Frankly, neither am I. Um. *somebody call SPCA*

This is hard. To break down and french a rack of rabbit with a chef’s knife is like using a machete to make chopsticks. Specially difficult when you not used to doing it every day.

Despite Josh’s experience as a butcher and potential serial killer, Micah prevails as the winner. He’ll take home immunity and one of Bob Kramer’s coveted knives. For the rest of the chefs and the general public, you can get a Bob Kramer ready-made knife on the internet for about $350.

The real deal. Slightly more than $350.

Elimination Challenge.

Top Chef has been around for 10 seasons. It’s time to honor this milestone by looking back at some of the most memorable moments of each season. What better way to walk down memory lane than with our sponsor tie-in of the week, a Kindle Fire!

Each chef is assigned a specific season’s “memorable moment” and is to cook a dish inspired by that moment to serve to the judges and Top Chef “superfans.”

The winning dish will inspire a new Healthy Choice Top Chef Cafe Steamer. So that means they need to make a healthier version of their assigned dish. Oh oh. Double product tie-in alert! Does that mean...?

Yup. Winner also gets $15,000! That’s a big jump from last week’s...bupkis! Somebody must have opened up the complaint box! 

Ok there are 9 Kindle Fires each with a season’s “moment” on it. They randomly distributes the Fires but wait - Padma is holding something in her hand. It’s a 10th memorable moment on a 10th Kindle Fire!

Hm. Season’s about half over and we’ve already had our memorable moment? Oh remember when John and Josie were so annoying they voted them off in a double Tribal Council? Oh wait. That didn’t happen. (Is that show still around?!)

Actually, I can’t really think of a super memorable moment so far, maybe when Tom got pissed off and read everyone the riot act. But what would you cook for that? Bad food? Guess we’ll find out later.

Kindles are passed out and everyone’s eager to check their moment. 

There’s the obvious “Top Scallops” moment, the stolen pea puree, and for those of you older fans, the “I’m not your bitch, bitch!” from season 1.
Ex-Uptown Girl
Ex-Top Chef Host

Wow this show’s been around since 2006. Hey remember Katie Lee Joel? Yeah me neither. Can you imagine her still being the host of this show? Yeah I can’t either. 

Cooking time.

Jon’s moment comes from season 3, where Bourdain bitches out Howie Kleinberg’s sea urchin mushroom risotto with the missing frogs legs. John of course takes this moment to remind us that back in the day he was the one who hired Bourdain and introduced him to Eric Ripert. 

While in all honesty I don’t know if that is true (it could be). All I know is by all accounts (From No Reservations to Hampton’s Magazine, to various interviews) Ripert read Kitchen Confidential then called Bourdain and invited him to lunch. Who knows. Maybe John was the one who gave Eric the number. *suspicious look*

Here we go. John can’t find a flat bottomed pot. Is it me or does this guy have a problem with something every week? 

Oh oh. Josh is making pork again. He got Season 6th’s Air Force episode, where (my person hero and daily inspiration) Michael Voltaggio made an awesome pork belly dish out of packaged bacon. 

Micah’s doing some duck breast dish from Season 9. The moment comes when Heather bashed Beverly’s work ethic. Even though it was just last season I barely remember the damn thing. What I DO remember is that Heather Terhun was the biggest bitch perhaps in Top Chef history. Her nastiness was UNmatched. Sure Tiffany Faison was kinda mean but she could cook with the lights out. All Beverly did was make cake (poorly.)

Lizzie’s scallops stink. No they literally stink. That’s gonna be a problem.

Almost time to serve. In walk the Top Chef “Superfans.”

I’m sorry but did I miss the audition for superfan? Did they have to go through a Jeopardy style quiz show and must answer the question in a form of a cooked dish? Cuz you know, that’ll make for a great show! Hey Bravo producers...I think I’ve got something here! *Gesture: Call me*

John’s making risotto. He says it “not a difficult thing to cook.” However, being a big fan of the show he also points out that risotto has had a bad history on Top Chef. Apparently many past contestants have been kicked off when they tried to make risotto. John dubs it “The Curse of the Risotto.” Well, he’s hoping maybe he’ll ride out the curse.

Service time.

Our judges and special guests this week are: Wylie Dufresne of WD-50, Jonathan Waxman of Barbuto, Culinary Legend (he’s finally back!) Wolfgang Puck, Top Chef Master winner Chris Cosentino of Incanto, and of course head judge Tom Colicchio.

Ok this is a crazy scary table to cook for. The table’s got all type of cuisine and techniques covered. You’ve got the super-out-the-box creative Wylie, nose-to-tail expert/pork aficionado “Offal” Chris, Californian cuisine pioneer Jonathan Waxman, and Wolfgang and Tom. It would be an honor for this table to say your food is good. 

Round 1. Seasons 1-3.

Josie. Season 1. Herb Roasted Chicken with Parsnip Puree & Steamed Root Vegetables.

Stefan. Season 2. Roasted Red Pepper Soup with Bacon & Grilled Mimolette Cheese Sandwich.

Crunchy Porridge

John. Season 3. Umami Risotto with Chicken, Salmon Roe, Burdock Root & Carrot Emulsion. 

This round seems kinda meh. Between Josie’s nice but boring roast chicken and Stefan’s pleasant but slightly greasy grilled cheese/pepper soup, the judges looked bored. Well, at least until they had John’s risotto.

Some of the rice grains were overcooked while others were undercooked. That’s a big problem when it comes to risotto. It’s not a good idea to miss execute a basic technique with this crowd. They’ll tear you apart. Not good.

Round 2. Seasons 4-6.

Sheldon. Season 4. Beef Carpaccio with Poi Aioli, Mizuna & Mushroom Salad & Silken Tofu Foam.

Lizzie. Season 5. Seared Scallops with Roasted Fennel, Garlic Puree, Orange & Olive Salad.
Something Fishy this way comes...

Josh. Season 6. Soy Glazed Pork Tenderloin with Smoked Cashew Puree & Heirloom Peaches.

Hm. Looks like we’re headed downhill this round. The only bright spot was Josh’s pork tenderloin. Rejoice! He finally redeemed himself with pork. It was well-cooked and flavorful. Congrats Josh! You can finally put up the name of your restaurant again!

Padma asked if Tom remembers Michael Voltaggio’s standing ovation worthy pork belly dish that season. Well, Tom remembers that Padma also received a standing ovation as well but for different reasons. Flashback from that day show Padma in a skin tight leopard mini-dress complete with extreme cleavage and super high heels. 

Tom, with a smirk on, kept insisting that Padma wore a “jumpsuit” that day.
Padma's "Jump" Suit.

I thought it was a slang term for “an item of clothing so sexy, everyone wanted to jump her,” but apparently there’s no such actual term! Looks like Tom and I just created a new slang for “jump suit!” *Gesture: Call me*

Ok I digress. Back to the food.

Sad to say, Josh’s pork and Padma’s dress were the only bright spots this round.  Chris Cosentino thought Sheldon’s carpaccio went through a meat grinder and Wylie found his tofu foam tasteless. Yeah. Something unappealing about the words “tofu foam.” 

The real problem of the round comes from Lizzie’s stinky scallops. They’re obviously just a little “off.” And because these scallops gave off so much liquid, she was unable to sear them. You know it’s a bad sign when judges are busy smelling your shellfish instead of eating it. 

Note. One of the most important tips in picking scallops is to avoid the ones soaked in a milky liquid. That usually means it’s been treated with a chemical to prolong its life and thus, not fresh. 

Oh and apparently according to Wolfgang, the Austrian-German term for dubious is...dubious.

Round 3. Seasons 7-9.

‘Hello...intimidating group of people,” said Brooke when she saw the table. She’s just adorable and a bad ass cook. 

Brooke. Season 7. Smoked Salmon, Forbidden Black Rice with English Pea & Parsnip Puree.
Not your Grandma's Chicken Pot Pie

Kristen. Season 8. Poached Chicken Breast, Carrot Puree with Garlic & Tofu Emulsion.

Micah. Season 9. Five-Spiced Duck Breast with Miso Polenta & Pickled Cherries.

This round’s got some contenders. Micah’s duck was highlighted by his pickled cherries. Kristin, who got Carla’s chicken pot pie, managed to make a flavorful and healthy version without piecrust and gravy! Brooke also put together a healthy and light salmon dish. All three looks like they could be headed to the winner’s circle.

During the interlude, a little quick blurb on everyone’s favorite dish/moments. Chris brought up one of my favorite moments, when last season Tom threw out “the guy who can’t butcher a piece of meat.” Even in Tom’s show blog he refused to address it. That guy didn’t even deserve a name. Ha.

Hey! Did someone just hand Wylie the bill? (Actually I think someone handed him his notes.)

Stew Room time. 

Here comes Padma. She calls for Josh, Kristin, Brooke, Lizzie and John.

Those left behind looked pained. I think Stefan just got a new wrinkle. In this season, it’s never a good sign when you’re left in the stew room with Josie. Not a good sign at all.

Alright. So why five people?? Well, actually it’s the best AND worst dishes. Josh, Brooke and Kristin and the top three while John and Lizzie are in the cellar.
Compliments all around. Brooke’s nicely cooked salmon, Kristin’s surprising pot pie, and Josh’s redemptive pork tenderloin all impressed the judges. The dish that’s worth $15,000 is...

The Good, the Bad, and the Stinky Scallop.
Kristin’s crustless, gravy-less, pot pie!  Wow she’s totally on a roll. I don’t think she’s ever been in the bottom yet. Right now it’s definitely between her and Brooke. 

Meanwhile the producers of Healthy Choice Cafe Steamer just freaked out. How the hell are they going to make a healthy frozen entree doing what Kristin did!? It was essentially poached chicken with a bunch of awesome purees and emulsion! Good luck guys. You’ll need it.

Ok. Time to see who goes home.

The travesty, as Chris puts it, was the rice. Some grains were hard and some were mushy. 

Now comes John Tesar’s favorite phrase throughout the season, “I’m not making any excuses but...”

How many times have we heard him say that on this season? Too many to count.

His excuse today was that there weren’t any level pots in the kitchen for him to properly make the risotto. 

Here comes Josh, in a true douche bag fashion, who decides to jump in and stomp on his nemesis while he’s down and says there were level pots.

Really Josh? Show some class dude. One good showing and you’re feeling strong huh?  My dad always said, “Act the same way going up and you do going down,” and Kevin’s obviously never met my dad. Sigh.

Lizzie on the other hand had no excuses. Tom is surprised that she served ‘off’ food and frankly so was I. Up until this moment she’s been one of the favorites. 

Out of the blue Padma pulls out the 10th Kindle Fire. Wow!

This 10th Kindle hold the memorable moment of THIS season. John and Lizzie will have to cook against each with a dish from that moment for the right to stay.

What’s the key incident of this season?

It’s CJ’s pickle/burger. 

The damned two will have 45 minutes to make a healthier version of the pork burger with fried pickles. 
The winning chefs return to the stew room to tell them who the winner is and what’s going on in the other room (John/Lizzie cook off).

You wanna see something memorable? Check out Stefan’s expression when he realizes he’s not on the bottom. I think all of his wrinkles just went away! 

Josh continues his bashing, telling everyone in the room how John’s making excuses. Even Brooke, who seem like one of the only few who tolerates John, jumps in. 

I always add a fried egg to make it healthier.
We all know John’s an a$$hole, but this is where he really shows it. During this last cooking segment he would bump into Lizzie, “jokingly” talk about how he could not share the pickles, and finally take the entire supply of dill that they were going to share.

I’m not sure of the actual rules. But I can’t imagine under that circumstance he can just grab one of the essential ingredients and declare victory. I mean, this is STILL a cooking show right?

Alright back to the food.

John. Lamb Burger with Fried Egg & Spicy Pickle, Tomato & Pomegranate Salad.

Lizzie. Chicken Burger with Goat Cheese Ricotta & Dill Pickle Roasted Red Pepper Salad.

Both pickle salads were tasty but in the end it came down to the patty. The lamb was a bit on the dry side and when Wolfgang asks Lizzie if she used dark or white meat, it was became obvious who the winner is.


You could tell Tom was torn about the decision. He said, “Lizzie you deserve to stay for THIS burger.”

Yeah. In a normal episode, Lizzie would have probably been sent home with off scallops. But in this overtime cook off, Lizzie wins with a superior burger.

So long John. Good luck and don’t let your personality get in the way of your food.

Next week...

Could it be...RESTAURANT WARS?!??

Eliminated chefs come back to assist?

See you next week! 

Thanks for stopping by and always, how about a follow at @ChezWu! Thanks!

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