Wow. This is a first in all of the seasons if Top Chef that I can remember. The entire group does so poorly that they have to get scolded like a bunch of kids being told that Christmas is getting canceled.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
The chefs are up bright and early at 3:45 AM to head down to Seattle’s iconic Pike Place Market (For those that don’t know, it is the outdoor market where the guys throw giant fish at each other and tourists go and oohhhhh and ahhhh.) There, clown pants Padma and Daisley Gordon, local chef and no slouch in the inappropriately loud fashion sense department either, are waiting to hand over the early morning Quickfire and the chance for immunity.
But before the details of the challenge come out, Padma asks the chefs to divide themselves up into pairs. Maybe it was the sleep deprivation, but this is where we see people’s decision making skills start going to crap, none more so than the single biggest head-butting relationship in the house so far: John T. and Josh wind up together. These two hate each other. You can see Josh grinding his teeth as John stands next to him.
Not only are the teams responsible for preparing breakfast for 50 market workers that will be ready to eat in 1 hour, they also have to hustle over to Sur La Table to purchase any cooking surfaces or utensils they will need. So…plan, set up an outdoor kitchen, and cook breakfast for 50 people in one hour. Oh, and whatever they cook, has to be served ON A STICK.
Of course, what ensues is a mad dash. Bart almost kills himself moving too quickly with a panini press, dropping their cooking surface on the ground. That press winds up dying on him and Sheldon mid-cook, but they still manage to grill up enough of their breakfast sandwich to serve. And shockingly enough, it winds up in the top of the Quickfire
I still have not decided if Bart is actually a little weird, or just very European.
Josh and John seem to both take the high road and put their differences aside, despite their obvious hatred for one another. Their quail egg breakfast taco on a stick impresses Daisley, landing them in the top of the Quickfire as well. Ultimately, Bart and Sheldon get the win and immunity.
And I can’t think of a better episode for someone to have won immunity. Because, WOW!
As if the producers are going to let some of these pairings break up for the elimination challenge, especially Josh and John.
To celebrate some local artisanal vendors, each pairing is assigned a product to use and highlight in their dish, which will be lunch. These include spicy pickles for CJ and Tyler, rose water jelly for Stefan and Brooke, coconut curry chocolate for Lizzie and Danyele, truffle popcorn for Josh and John, Micah and Kristen get cheese curds, Eliza and Josie get cardamom bitters, and Bart and Sheldon’s candied salmon. The winning team gets $10,000.
Except they don’t.
I’ll spare you the details, but every team did SO BAD across the board that Tom almost has a freak out, Hugh’s head almost explodes with jokes, all of the local artisans are insulted by the crap the cheftestants turn out.
If there was a theme for the entire night, it can be summed up in one sentence: “But I didn’t say anything.”
That is the undoing of nearly all of the teams. With only two hours to prep, everyone gets so preoccupied with “good teamwork” that they allow bad ideas into the dishes rather than cause a problem.
So, papa bear Tom has to teach the cubs a lesson. Crank out horrible food like that, and no one gets $10,000. That is right; there is NO WINNER this week. And just in case this isn’t driving the point home, it is now also a double elimination, with the worst team going home.
Ultimately, CJ and Tyler’s decision to highlight spicy pickles by frying them and putting them onto a mushy pork burger as so unimaginative, that they pack up and head to Last Chance Kitchen, where I’m sure that Tyler will continue to be the spineless pushover that he has been all season.
Hopefully, this week is a wakeup call to these chefs to step their game up. Phoning it in not only won’t cut it, it will be severely punished.
Hugh at chef’s table. He had such delight in his face while ripping them to shreds, but none more so than when CJ actually walks BACK into the room to slam Lizzie and Danyele’s dessert and ask why it wasn’t in there, prompting Hugh to remind him that “your burger was even worse.”
“It feels like you are eating somebody’s grandmother” – Hugh
- By Jon Watson, Food & More blog