First off, tip o’ the cap to Bravo for not making the chefs dress up in Christmas elf outfits or do the entire Quickfire from the back of a motorized Santa’s sleigh careening around the streets of Seattle. We all know this was filmed 6 months ago, and faking their way through Thanksgiving was one holiday too many.
Instead, the Quickfire was apparently designed to make me insanely jealous.
The chefs pack up and head off to Taylor Shellfish Farm, where the chefs have to harvest their own oysters for the challenge. I’ve never had the chance to harvest a fresh oyster and shuck and eat it on the spot, and I’ve always wanted to. Now….cue some physical comedy as both Josie and Micah get stuck in the mud and bust it right onto the flats.
And what better judge for this challenge than Emeril, being all N’awlins and whatnot. The chefs have to impress Bam Bam Lagasse with their best oyster dish, but half of them must cook a hot prep and the other half a cold prep. First ones to race to the red or blue aprons win. Strangely enough (to me at least) the red aprons go first.
Some chefs are more pumped about this challenge than others. John grew up eating oysters, and whips up a modern take on Oysters Rockefeller, with a soft poach in garlic butter instead of a broil, and light Parmesan foam. Brooke is really struggling getting her oysters shucked, but Micah is super excited, especially because Emeril is his audience. Apparently, he was an idol of Micah’s….so much so, that he likens cooking for the man to “Moses meeting God.” It seems they also teach hyperbole at Le Cordon Bleu.
Josie, Bart, and (much to his surprise) John wind up in the bottom. However, Lizzie’s risky move with her cold prep with crushed currant juice, Brooke’s flavorful salsa verde, and Micah’s spicy flash fried oysters wowed Emeril. Ultimately, it is Moses…er…Micah that wins the $5,000 purse, but no immunity today.
For the elimination challenge, the chefs divide themselves into teams of two. Stefan immediately grabs Kristen in a not-creepy-I-promise way, and both Brooke and Bart look like the last kids picked at dodge ball when they wind up with John and Josie, respectively.
This week’s challenge? Cooking for one of “Seattle’s hottest sports teams”….the Rat City Rollergirls. Each of the 5 teams gets one of the girls to cook for, and the dish must be based around their rollergirl names. I have to wonder if they ACTUALLY use names like Teriyaki Terror and Jalapeno Business on weeks when they are not on Top Chef. Nothing strikes fear in the heart of roller derby roughnecks like the name Tempura Tantrum.
And in this week’s twist, the chefs must prepare their entire meal while on roller skates.
Ok, not really, but I couldn’t have been the only one that thought that was coming, was I?
The chefs go to watch their team get their roller derby on, and Josie is cranked up to 11. She is like that drunk heckler at a baseball game that you don’t want to confront because you aren’t sure if they are going to swing on you or not. This of course, leads to some more drama, as a semi-passed out Josie overhears the other chefs talking smack, leading to one of my favorite explosions of the season.
“This tree right here? You don’t want to bark up Micah! This right here? Knows what she is. You are hiding in a closet!”
I’ll give a shout out to the first one of you technically proficient enough to turn Josie’s “this right here” hand motions into a .gif that I can post on here.
On to the cooking:
John & Brooke – Team Kutta Rump: Thai beef with lobster jasmine rice and Thai slaw
Bart & Josie – Team Teriyaki Terror: Steak Teriyaki with forbidden rice, beet blood, and green papaya salad
Lizzie & Micah – Team Jalapeno Business: Crab-stuffed jalapeno with avocado cream, onion & pepper relish
Stefan & Kristen – Team Eddie Shredder: Corn puree, chicken liver and sunny-side up egg
Josh & Sheldon – Tempura Tantrum: Yuzu curd with shiso, Fresno chili, sweet potato, and vanilla
Team Kutta Rump and Jalapeno Business have the judge’s favorite dishes. Everyone is surprised by Lizzie and Micah’s well-made glorified jalapeno poppers, commenting on the smart use of the crab, as well as the well-executed and light fry. John and Brooke also got high marks for the way the flavors build on one another and the strong use of acid in the dish. Ultimately, John and Brooke win, but my favorite part had to be when John not-so-humbly announces his own win to the stew room. That was the first really awkward “look who won” moment of the season.
Bart & Josie wind up in the bottom due to the “earthy” and under seasoned forbidden rice and beet juice with their steak teriyaki. Ms. Terror is too nice to call it like it is, and refers to it as unique. And Josh and Sheldon are right there with them, as their tempura dish had everything conceptually, but the fry job on the tempura itself killed the dish. I think a recurring pattern of under seasoned dishes finally did Bart in, and much to everyone else’s chagrin, Josie is still hanging around.
Next week: More drama. And some food.