Top Chef Seattle Recap: Episode 2 – A Shock At The Space Needle| November 14, 2012 at 9:00 PM EDT
Last week on the premiere of Top Chef Seattle we saw 21 chefs get tested in the Ultimate Chef Test and try to earn their way to Seattle for Top Chef Season 10. While they were put to tests by Tom Colicchio, Emeril Lagasse, Wolfgang Puck and Hugh Acheson, only 15 of the chefs survived the cut and are moving on to Seattle…or are they? A twist comes into play tonight on Top Chef Seattle, but who was eliminated from Top Chef Seattle?
It was interesting to see the chefs make their way to the different restaurants last week and try to pass the test and get a Top Chef jacket. While some of the tests seemed harder (Tom had his chefs help run the dinner service in his restaurant), other tests seemed a tad bit easier (Hugh had his chefs make a salad). How hard is it to make a salad? Apparently not that easy, as one of the chefs is sent home from the salad-making group. One group had to make omelettes for Wolfgang Puck and the last group had to make soup for Emeril. The nerves had to be going for these chefs and having to cook for such huge chefs in the cooking world, which is why six of them were sent home.
Tonight, the 15 remaining chefs on Top Chef Seattle head to Seattle to try to be the winner of the tenth season of the Emmy-winning show. While they think they are good to go, the chefs are thrown a twist right away. What will it be? I am thinking we might be saying goodbye to some more chefs, but after a little competition between them all heats up. Come back for my Top Chef Seattle recap.
The chefs make their way to the Top Chef kitchen. Padma Lakshmi joins them in the kitchen with some Top Chef veterans, Josie Smith-Malave from Season 2, Chris “CJ” Jacobsen from Season 3 and Stefan Richter from Season 5. They will be the judges of the first Quickfire Challenge. The chefs must divide themselves into teams of three and put on a colored apron. The challenge is to create a dish that highlights a local shellfish. They have 20 minutes to complete the challenge. John Tesar starts planning while Padma is still talking, so she cuts him off and calls him out.
The teams are scrambling around trying to get everything done. Carla wants to be a good cook, but she wants to look good doing it and apparently have a nice ass also. Lizzie is over Carla and wants her to shut up. Kuniko is not good at speaking English, so she is happy her team is understanding her. Tyler feels good working with Kristen and is confident with their dish. The time runs out and the teams are all complete.
First up is Gray Team (Bart, Jeffrey and Brooke) who made Crawfish with Pickled Red Chili, Fennel and Crawfish Cream. CJ said it is old school. Stefan said it was good. Next is the Orange Team (Lizzie, Carla and Chrissy) who made Oven Roasted Crawfish with Fennel and Herb Salad. CJ wanted more acid. Josie said flavored well and two thumbs up. Next is the Green Team (Micah, Kristen and Tyler) who made a Fried and Sashimi Geoduck, Radish and Bok Choy Salad and Yuzu Chili Vinaigrette. Josie said it is nice to see the texture. CJ said he wanted to see the Sashimi cut a different way, but good texture. Next is the Blue Team (Sheldon, Kuniko and John) who made Geoduck Sashimi. Ponzu, Apple and Cucumber. CJ thinks it is great. Stefan said great but a little more salt. Up last is the Yellow Team (Eliza, Danyele and Josh) who made Razor Clam and Grilled Corn Chowder with Fresno Chili and Grilled Lime. CJ thought the grilled lime was a good addition. Stefan said it needed more seasoning.
The judges discussed and Josie said they all did well in the short amount of time. The least favorite dish was the Yellow Team. The winning team for the first Quickfire Challenge is the Blue Team. The three will draw knives to see who gets immunity and John draws the knive and he has immunity this week on Top Chef Seattle. And the twist comes: not only did Josie, CJ and Stefan come back to judge the Quickfire, but they are also going to be competing for Top Chef Season 10! That is insane and the chefs are not happy to have them join them.
For the Elimination Challenge, the teams will be staying together, so Josie, CJ and Stefan will form a new team. For the challenge, they will be cooking at the Sky City Restaurant at the top of the Seattle Space Needle. The teams will be cooking one dish for the Top Chef judges using regional ingredients for Seattle Chef Tom Douglas. They will have 47 minutes to prep and prepare their dish. They have 30 minutes in the pantry for their dish.
The Yellow Team picks a fish that they don’t even know what it is. Lizzie is worried about cooking with Carla again. John is excited to have Kuniko challenge him, even after all these years as a chef.The chefs finish their shopping and then head to their new home while on Top Chef Seattle and getting to know each other a little bit more.
A new day has arrived and the teams head to the Space Needle. Two teams will cook at one time. The veterans change their dish right before going to cook because they want to separate themselves from the other chefs. Josie is worried because it is risky to change at the very end. The judges arrive. The Blue and Orange Teams start off and Carla is bothering Lizzie already. Kuniko burns the oil and John is worried. The time runs out for the first two teams and they finish plating.
They present their dishes to the judges: Padma, Tom Colicchio, Gail Simmons, Emeril Lagasse and Tom Douglas. The Blue Team made Chili Oil Poached Cod with Dashi, Spot Prawn Shabu Shabu. The Orange Team made Poached Salmon with Seasonal Vegetables and Beurre Blanc. They return to the kitchen and Carla cuts her hand putting away her knives, but hit no nerves and is fine. For the Blue Team, Gail said the Spot Prawns are great and Tom Colicchio said it is not overpowering, which he thought it would be. For the Orange Team, Tom Colicchio said both dishes are really well done and Gail said a pretty good starts.
The Gray and Red (the veterans) head into the kitchen. Brooke is concerned the fish is overcooked for the Gray Team. Josie does not want to go home on the first challenge. The time runs out and plating is done. The Red Team made Quail Breast with Confit Spot Prawn, Cherries and Porcini. The Gray Team made Pan Roasted Halibut, Mushrooms, English Peas, Wheat Beer with Herb Sabayon. For the Red Team, Gail said she wanted to taste the cherries more and Emeril said the Spot Prawn is overcooked, but Tom Douglas thought it was a good dish. For the Gray Team, Gail said it tastes like Nutmeg and Padma said the Halibut is overcooked.
Next up on Top Chef Seattle are the Yellow and Green Team. The Yellow Team has determined that they have cod once they cut into it. The Green Team made Crispy Seared Salmon, Local Vegetables and Spot Prawn Butter Sauce. The Yellow Team made Pan Roasted Cod, Mushrooms, Fava Beans, Pickled Green Apple and Garlic Scape Pistou. For the Yellow Team, Tom said it was cooked nicely, Emeril loves the apple and Tom said the apple was the best part about this dish and the sauce is loaded with garlic. For the Green Team, Tom said the salmon is perfectly cooked and Gail said the texture of the Spot Prawn is lost.
Padma comes to the chefs and the judges would like to see the Blue Team. They served the best dish of the day, so two victories for them on the first episode. Emeril said the collaboration of the dish is what won it, but the fish was what stood out and Kuniko is the winner of the first challenge. The Blue Team comes back and tells the Red Team and Gray Team the judges would like to see them (of course they pick the Red Team). Both are on the chopping block and one of them will be heading home.
For the Red Team, Tom said the quail was overdone, which Stefan cooked. The fish was not working for the Gray Team and that was Jeffrey’s responsibility. The judges discuss and Tom said they were both good dishes, but issues on both sides. Padma said she expected it to be so flavorful, but it was so flat. Jeffrey overcooked the fish and let it sit under the heat lamp. Stefan overcooked the quail, so it looks like one of them will be heading home, but which one?
The chefs come back to find out who was eliminated from Top Chef Seattle. It was a quick decision and Padma tells Jeffrey that he needs to pack his knives because he is headed home! Who did you want to see go home?
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