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Posted at 02:25 PM ET, 11/25/2012

‘Top Chef Seattle,’ Ep. 3: Buttering up

Are you Thanksgiving’d out? I am. But never fear. Episode 3 of “Top Chef Seattle” was all about turkey and the trimmings.

After a global dumpling Quickfire challenge (which Josie won with Korean mandu), the 16 cheftestants split into two teams — one headed by Tom Colicchio, the other by Emeril Lagasse. As one might expect, Emeril’s team cooked a Cajun/Creole-inspired Thanksgiving dinner, complete with blackened (whoops) turkey, cornbread stuffing, collard greens, sweet-potato biscuits and gumbo. Team Colicchio’s dinner was more traditional, with a bit of an Italian influence: turkey, stuffing, potato puree, carrot soup, salad and ravioli. Both teams delivered desserts that were underwhelming, which I’m sure will surprise exactly zero viewers of the 10 seasons of this show.

There were great and not-so-great dishes from both teams, but the judges (Lagasse and Colicchio recused themselves from voting) chose Tom’s team as the winners. CJ (turkey), Carla (carrot soup with turkey polpettine) and Lizzie (potato puree) stand before Judges’ Table to find out who won. It’s Carla. Pardon me while I don’t care.

On the losers’ side, Josie is told she would’ve been sent home for her blackened-on-the-outside-cold-and-raw-on-the-inside turkey, but her Quickfire win gave her immunity, so she’s safe this week. Thus, Kuniko gets sent home — not only did she fail to complete the dumpling Quickfire, her potato pave was hard, raw, under-seasoned and undercooked.

One thing I am thankful for? That this episode was pretty straightforward without any forced product placements or unnecessary twists. Could that be a thing of seasons past? Let’s hope! So, in the spirit of being thankful, I present to you. . .The Top Ten “Top Chef” Moments I Am Thankful For in This Episode:

10. Padma’s lipstick (seriously; that is a gorgeous color, and I need to own it);

9. Colicchio in a chef’s jacket (and less superficially, Tom and Emeril providing leadership in the kitchen);

8. Team Colicchio’s stuffing with kale, sausage, foie gras and pancetta roasted inside the turkey (yes!);

7. CJ’s response to Carla flipping her lid (again) while cooking;

6. That the Chef Josie sweatband trend never took off;

5. That John’s forehead can see clearly now;

4. The inspiration to make sweet potato-buttermilk biscuits as soon as my pesky cold goes away;

3. A turkey roasted and braised with three pounds (three pounds) of butter under the skin;

2. Joel Robuchon’s potato-making technique is being carried forward;

And the No. 1 “Top Chef” thing I am thankful for?

1. CJ’s side-eye response to Carla winning the challenge (in slo-mo for your full viewing enjoyment).

Up Next Week: whole-animal butchering, double elimination, Carla being Carla and more fighting among the men.

Further reading:

* ‘Top Chef Seattle,’ Ep. 1: Egged on & off

* ‘Top Chef Seattle,’ Ep. 2: Fish on high

By Carol Blymire  |  02:25 PM ET, 11/25/2012

 
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