And now for my recap of Top Chef Seattle Episode 8, which Bravo titled Jalapeno Business… I’m not sure why though, the jalapenos weren’t really te highlight of this episode. In fact, this episode wasn’t really the highlight of this episode. But I digress.
Let’s take a look at what happened tonight on Top Chef Seattle
We start on a serious foodie high, with the cheftestants walking oyster beds on a beach outside Seattle. Gorgeous sand flats overflowing with luscious, fresh oysters. It’s a dream for any seafood lover, which I am. If the entire show had been this good, I’d have nothing to complain about at all. Unfortunately, the oyster beds and the quickfire challenge were the high points of this one.
So, our chefs collect oysters and eat a few fresh on the flats. (I’m jealous now. You just don’t get oysters that fresh in most parts of the world.) Everyone seems pretty jovial and there are smiles all around.
Perhaps the biggest smile is on the face of Chef John Tesar, the man we were supposed to hate coming in to this show. I mean seriously, John has been labeled “The Most hated Chef in Dallas”. He’s also been immortalized by Anthony Bourdain in Kitchen Confidential as Jimmy Sears, a hard-working but hard-@$$ed chef that Bourdain himself claims to have thrown kitchen utensils at.
The reality of seeing John on camera though, is different. While he’s definitely opinionated, he’s also an insanely talented chef, a team player and more than capable of handling his temper. The only downfall I see is that his dishes are far more firmly rooted in the old-school methods of a French chef, which leaves the judges feeling that his creations are a bit “safer” than that of some of the younger chefs. This isn’t due to a lack of skill or talent, but more representative of the fact that the judges are more used to what John is cooking.
Familiar or not, he’s cooking it damned well in most cases.
Now, to the QuickFire: Oysters on the half-shell
So, Enter Emeril and Padma, who announce that the cheftestants will be cooking oysters on the half-shell for chef Lagasse. Some of them will be cooking hot dishes and some cold. All will be using the fresh oysters they collected from the beach. (Still jealous.)
In the end, Micah comes out on top in this one, walking away with $5,000 and a great compliment from Emeril for his fried oysters. He says it’s more of an honor to have made Emeril happy than to win the money. I think I have to agree with him there. If I could make oysters that Emeril wanted seconds of, I might just hang up my apron and call it good… Either that or I’d start trying to make a pizza that would make Wolfgang Puck cry tears of joy.
So walking out of the challenge, we go straight to the elimination challenge. This involves creating dishes based on the stage names of a female roller derby team, a trip to the roller derby, and a wrap party catered by our cheftestants.
First, off to the derby, where Chef Jose proves to be even less likable than she has been in past episodes. She also proves that she’s that person you never-EVER want to sit next to at a sporting event.
We suffer through Josie yelling at the roller derby match, then we suffer through her yelling at Micah. (I’m not sure why, my interest was already waning by tis point and the dog had… Um. Business to attend to.)
Now were cooking. This seems like it’s going well for the most part. Nobody is critically behind. There’s no bickering. Everything is moving as one would expect. It’s not really interesting reality TV, but it is a testament to some talented chefs.
So we serve. John and Brooke walk away winners tonight and Sheldon, Josh, Josie and Bart are up for elimination.
For Josh and Sheldon, the issue was soggy tempura in a dish called Tempura Tantrum. The only tantrum it evoked was from the judges, who weren’t thrilled that an otherwise great dish was poorly executed. Sheldon thought he was on his way out, and looked willing to take the fall for Josh if necessary.
Luckily, Josie and Bart’s dish was flawed more drastically than just a soggy tempura. it was bland, overcooked and under-seasoned. (For those unaware, under seasoning a dish on Top Chef is about as close as you can come to asking Tom to send you home.)
Bart took the fall for this one, but you can bet he’ll be fighting back in Last Chance Kitchen, trying for his shot at a comeback in the season finale.
My thoughts? I don’t think Bart should have left. The more I watch this season, the more of a dislike I hold towards Chef Josie. I have no idea how much of my dislike is due to selective editing, but I’d like to see her gone nonetheless.
Luckily, next weeks episode looks to be far more interesting than this weeks. For the next challenge our cheftestants will be cooking recipes from previous seasons of Top Chef. That looks interesting.
It also looks like they’ll be sharpening knives.
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