Top Chef Seattle, Episode 2

November 15, 2012 § Leave a comment

So last week on Top Chef, we saw 21 chefs compete in the judges’ kitchens whittled down to 15. They made it to Seattle and as they enter into Top Chef Kitchen, eye one another up.

Padma enters soon after with three former contestants from previous seasons by her side. These former Top Chef hopefuls will be the judges. Here comes the Quickfire.

For their first task, the chefs are asked to divide themselves into 5 groups of 3. Seeing as how they just met one another, these groups turned out by pure luck. Although John has a strategy– he sees Kuniko and thinks as a Japanese chef she may have some good knife skills. As he is leaning in to cnospire with her during the directions, Padma totally calls him out for speaking when she is. Next time, the principal’s office.

Their task is to highlight local shellfish. Apparently, the hot item here is geoduck (sounds like gooey-duck) which Kristen describes as looking like, “a really big penis.” Cheftestants are throwing their hands into some murky looking swamp water to retrieve these things that are going like hot cakes. It pops up in two dishes and the yellow team is SOL when all the geoduck is gone by the time they get there and they have to choose something else.

This turns out to perhaps be their downfall because with their dish now of razor clam soup with grilled corn and lime, the yellow team turns out to be on the bottom. The judges are a little too confident and persnickety in their tastings (they did lose after all). But despite the dish describing the dish as needing, “a hair more salt”, they declare…. the geoduck as the winner! Turns out John was smart sticking with Kuniko because he now has immunity. Oh and then BOOM the three former contestants will now be joining the competition. And the judges become the judged.

The elimination challenge takes place in the Seattle space needle. Staying in their teams of three, the chefs have 45 minutes to prepare a dish using regional ingredients. After shopping in the Top Chef Kitchen for items to use the next day, the judges pack up and head to their new digs at Olive 8.

The next day, the teams cook two at a time. The reigning team of Sheldon, Kuniko and John come up with a hot chili oil poached cod with dashi and vegetables. They face off with the red team, the only team of all women, and dominated by Carla, who is still subtitled despite the fact that she is speaking in English. The kitchen is loud and crazy when she is in there and most of the chefs look on in wonder as she runs around shouting obscenities preparing her dish.

Meanwhile the judges are enjoying a nice glass of wine and quite the view as they meet with famed Seattle chef and restaurateur, Tom Douglas. Gail mentions she wants to go fishing while they are here. Gee, I wonder if they’ll get the chance.

The other two sets of teams face off with more fish/ spot prawns and a lone quail dish. The judges seem all around pleased with what they’ve seen and are looking forward to the season.

The big winner is Kuniko for her ingenious hot chili oil poached cod which she admits was her first time trying. Alas, someone’s got to go though and Padma announces they’d like to see the grey team and-gasp!- the vets at the judges’ table. Season 5 contestant/ persnickety judge Stefan is charged with an overcooked quail but the offense is less than Jeffrey’s overdone fish. He holds his head high as he leaves and is so nice it’s definitely Sad to see him go.

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