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All We Can Eat
Posted at 08:17 AM ET, 12/27/2012

‘Top Chef Seattle,’ Ep. 8: Rinksmanship

Ten chefs remain. Does this mean Restaurant Wars? 

It doesn’t? 

Really? 

Have we escaped Restaurant Wars this season?  That might be for the best, methinks.  It was getting stale and tired and unnecessary.  I feel like we need to whip out our bagpipes or sing “Auld Lang Syne” to mark its passing. I’ll pause for a moment while y’all do that.

For this week’s Quickfire Challenge, the chefs drive their product-placement-mobiles to an “oyster farm” to harvest as many oysters as they want/need.  John seems to have lots of bivalve experience, as does D.C. favorite, Bart. The only expertise Josie demonstrates is in being annoying.

Back in the Top Chef Kitchen, Padma and Emeril ask the chefs to make oysters on the half-shell: Five of the chefs get to do a hot preparation, while the other five do a cold preparation. They have 25 minutes and the winner gets $5,000. $25,000.

I will confess that for many, many years, I loathed oysters. Hated them. Gagged over their texture. About three years ago, I ate a dozen oysters because I lost a bet, and you know what?  I can’t get enough of them now. Watching Padma and Emeril taste the chefs’ oysters might be the first time in Top Chef history that I am legitimately, honestly jealous.

Emeril didn’t like Bart’s champagne-oyster dish, Josie’s chorizo-influenced oysters or John’s New Orleans-style oysters. He liked Lizzie’s currant-peppercorn prep, Micah’s fried oysters and Brooke’s oysters with salsa verde. Top Chef Ego Olympiad Micah wins the challenge. As my grandmother used to say, “He sure does think a lot of himself.”

This week’s Elimination Challenge involves cooking for Seattle’s Rat City Rollergirl’s team. The chefs are asked to self-form squads of two and make a dish inspired by their assigned derby girl’s name (which you’ll find further on in this recap). Most of the cheftestant pairings make sense to me, but Bart gets stuck with Josie. He very gentlemanly says he doesn’t mind. But dude, the rest of us mind! We don’t want you stuck with her.  This is no bueno.

Later that night, the chefs watch a roller derby match at the team’s rink, and Josie whoops and hollers and generally drives everyone a little crazy. Back at the chefpartment, Josie calls herself a tree, repeatedly points to her chestal and crotchular areas and tells Micah he’s closeted.  Ooooookay. Then, just in time, the camera cuts to Bart in his awesome pink and blue and green paisley shirt which should bring joy to even the most curmudgeonly curmudgeon. But I’m still not happy he has to cook with someone who must embroider her own name on every sweatband she wears around her head.

The next day, the chefs cook for the roller derby party at the skating rink. Judging them, or their food, rather, are Emeril, Padma, Hugh and Tom. Here’s what they made:

Teriyaki Terror (Josie and Bart). Steak teriyaki with forbidden rice, beet blood and green papaya salad.

Jalapeno Business  (Micah and Lizzie). Crab-stuffed jalapeno with avocado crema and onion-pepper relish.

Eddie Shredder (Stefan and Kristen). Corn puree, chicken liver and sunny-side-up egg.

Kutta Rump (John and Brooke). Thai beef with lobster-jasmine rice and Thai slaw.

Tempura Tantrum (Sheldon and Josh). Tempura yuzu curd with shiso, Fresno chili, sweet potato and vanilla.

John, Brooke, Micah and Lizzie are called to Judges’ Table first for having the two best dishes of the night. Emeril praised the perfect cooking of Brooke and John’s dish, and said he was pleased that Micah and Lizzie’s jalapeno didn’t overpower the crab inside it. Hugh announces the winning team, which is Brooke and John.

Next up before the judges: Josie, Bart, Sheldon and Josh.

Josh’s twee cap and douchestache fight Josie’s self-branded sweatband for camera time. Tom tells all four of them that their dishes missed the mark. Padma asks Josie and Bart who did what in their dish. Bart looks pained when Tom tells him his cooking, in general, is under-seasoned.  Tom criticizes Josie for not knowing when something isn’t seasoned well. Josh seems surprised even to be there, then pulls a CJ and says he thought the stuffed jalapeno was concession-stand food. Tom and Padma correct him and tell him the components in his dish just weren’t good.

So, who’s going home tonight? Washington’s remaining cheftestant, Bart, who goes up against CJ in the online series, “Last Chance Kitchen.” Two tall drinks of water duking it out in the same room as Colicchio. I do believe I have the Vapors.

Up Next Week: Cooking dishes from previous seasons, Lizzie getting angry (!!!!), Wylie Dufresne, Jonathan Waxman, bad meat, Chris Cosentino and confusion and angst over some sort of iPad-looking device at Judges’ Table.

Blymire recaps new “Top Chef” episodes each Thursday.

Futher reading:

* ‘Top Chef Seattle,’ Ep. 7: Berry basic

* ‘Top Chef Seattle,’ Ep. 6: Faris thee well

* ‘Top Chef Seattle,’ Ep. 5: Stick-y issues

By Carol Blymire  |  08:17 AM ET, 12/27/2012

 
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