The Food and Wine Hedonist

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Top Chef Seattle Episode 4: ’50s Food Flashback

Episode 3         Episode 5

The big news coming out of this episode is that the web series Last Chance Kitchen is back. This was where losing chefs get to compete for a chance to get back on the show.  It premiered last season and there was some controversy there.  Nyesha was unfairly booted from the show because she was partnered with Twitchy, who screwed up their dish.   She then went on LCK and proceeded to tear apart the competition like Michonne on The Walking Dead.

When Bev came on LCK, the producers pulled a last minute stunt where the two had to switch dishes midway through.   Nyesha was hosed because she left Bev a heckuva lot better dish than she received. Bev ended up winning LCK and got back into the show.  It seemed a little cheap at the time.

At the end of last week’s episode we saw the contestants sitting around in the kitchen, talking about Kuniko’s downfall.  Due to overwhelming internal urges (and probably some creative editing) we see John “The Time Bomb” Tesar starting to show glimpses of his legendary asshattery.  Will this be the week that he goes into full-on jerk mode?  Because you know it’s going to happen.  It’s just a matter of how long they want to draw out the suspense.

Yup. It happened, no milking it here.  I thought Time Bomb was right in saying that Kuniko should’ve been able to make her dish in 5 hours.  But then he had to make a snide reference to Oklahoma to Yukon Cornelius.

YC: You’re an asshole.

TB: Thank you.

YC: Don’t f-ing say another word to me.  There’s a reason you’re most hated chef.  It’s cause you’re a prick.

TB: I’m not a prick, I’m truthful.

YC: How many restaurants have you opened and failed? Walked away from? Not show up for events?  That’s why you’re an asshole.

TB: What are you talking about?  You’re making up stuff like a blogger.  You’re pretending to have balls, but you don’t have balls.

I love this!  First off, Time Bomb’s right – bloggers have no balls.  Second, Yukon Cornelius appears to have down his homework.  But I must say it seemed a little weird that he just went off on him like that.  All he said was something mild about Oklahoma.  To me, it seemed Yukon was just waiting til he had a chance to say all that.  He also came off as a little whiney.  Most annoying – he had some funky pronunciation of “prick.”  It sounded like “prigk.”  Quibbling, I know.


Quickfire Challenge

Padma is joined by Naomi Pomeroy, a Top Chef Masters alum and owner of Beast.  Padma pulls back some curtains to reveal – 5 new contestants from previous seasons who are now in the mix.  Just kidding, it’s two sides of beef.  The contestants have one hour to butcher a cut of beef and create a dish from it.  The winner gets immunity.

– Eliza – Grilled Flank Steak with cherry cognac reduction, asparagus, & potato cake.  Dish was just like the chef – Looked ok, pretty boring.

– Time Bomb – Braised oxtail, potato gnocchi with roasted vegetables, & celery

– Yukon Cornelius – Beef shoulder meatballs with creamy polenta and pickled shallots. Really?  You are a self-proclaimed meat expert and you give us a damn meatball?

– Sheldon – Kalbi round steak with tomato cardamom broth & fennel salad

– Brooke – Grilled hanger steak with smoked onion figs & cauliflower puree.

– Tyler – Hispanic crudo with charred tomato sauce & cilantro radish slaw

– Kristen – Top sirloin tartare with mustard sabayon & carpaccio salad

– Aaron Neville Jr –NY strip, oxtail polenta with truffled romanesco cauliflower

– Carla – Sirloin medallion wrapped in bacon, asiago risotto with marsala sauce

– Stefan – Braised top round ravioli with marjoram & aged parmesan

– CJ – Top round tartare, raw juniper, & kohlrabi

– Chrissy – Grilled hanger steak with brown butter, parsley & radish salad

– Lizzie – Braised foreshank with turnips & dill

Bottom 3 – Lizzie (still a little tough), Eliza (well cooked, but asparagus and cherry combo didn’t work), Tyler (underseasoned)

Top 3 – CJ ( tasty and good knifework ),  Time Bomb, Yukon

Winner – Time Bomb


Elimination Challenge

The chefs were called up on to revive the original menu at Canlis’ restaurant from 1950.  Winner gets $10K.  The twist here is that two people will be sent home.  Judges were Pomeroy, Mark and Brian Canlis, Tom, Emeril, and Hugh.

1st course

– Tyler – Fresh Crab leg cocktail.  Nailed the retro part.

– Lizzie – Marinated Herring.  Served with saltines?  THAT’S old school

– Yukon – French Onion Soup.  Salty, cold, crouton was hard

– Time Bomb – Steamed clams Bordelaise

– Chrissy – Special Canlis salad

– Brook – Seafood salad a la Louis


2nd course

– Sheldon – Fresh Hawaiian mahi mahi with buerre blanc

– Carla – whole milk-fed squab w red wine reduction.  Lots of people sending this back to the kitchen.

– Neville Jr – Mixed vegetables

– Stefan – calf’s livers

– Kristen – French fried onions for the liver

– Overgrown Van Damme – Double cut New York strip

– Josie – Gargantuan baked Idaho potato

– CJ – Lamb Shish kebab with pilaf.  Meat was mealy and underseasoned, pilaf soggy.

– Kristen – French Mushrooms



– Danyele – Vanilla ice cream, Royal Hawaiian supreme

– Eliza – mint sherbet , frozen Hawaiian parfait


Judges Table

Best Dishes – Lizzie (judges also dug the saltines), Kristen, Tyler, Stefan

Winner – Kristen

Least Favorite– Carla, Chrissy, CJ, Yukon

Gone – Chrissy, Carla.  Pretty obvious.


Random Thoughts

– I thought it was interesting that two of the top three from the Quickfire went to the bottom three in the Elimination.  And two of the bottom three ended up in the top three.  What does that mean?  Who knows…

– Kristen gets a footrub from Stefan.  She’s gotta take off those socks for that.  And her pants.

– Josie had problems handling the meat.  Heh heh…

– The Quickfires have been giving them a lot of creative freedom.  It’s not like they had to make snakemeat or play goofy games.  It’s good from a foodie perspective, but I think it might get boring later.  Without tasting the dishes it’s really just a visual thing and I think they’re all going to start melting together.  It’s like watching a ton of porn – you can have a Sasha Grey and Shyla Stylez marathon, but after a while you get desensitized to it.  Seeing it on the screen is no substitute for the real thing.

– Aren’t  you all proud of me for showing some restraint and not posting pics or videos of Sasha Grey and Shyla Stylez in action?

– Whoah– I think Hugh found wax

– This challenge reminded me of when Grant Achatz’s Next in Chicago recreated El Bulli’s  opening night menu.  Wonder if the diners at Canlis were also charged $400 a person like at Next?

– How many Chef Josie headbands does she have?

– Throughout the episode Yukon was whiny and bitching about Time Bomb.  I’m sure some of it’s justified and they may have edited it to play up the drama.  But even then, that’s a lot of whining.

– If you’ll recall Kristen is a former model.  You know, for a model her grill is a little jacked.

– Kristen was pretty surprised that she won for simple mushrooms and onions.  It’s a little surprising, but then again Lizzie was in the top 3 last week for mashed potatoes.  Especially when it is a re-creation of a 1950s menu, there’s not a whole lot of room for creativity.  So it really does come down to execution.


Last Chance Kitchen

It’s pretty late and this post is getting really long, so I’m not going to do a full recap.  I’m going to do LCK Haiku.  Apologies ahead of time, because I suck at poetry.  Go see it on my Facebook page.


About thefoodandwinehedonist

I don't know everything about the world of food and wine, but I'm not going to let a small detail like that stop me from blogging about it.

4 comments on “Top Chef Seattle Episode 4: ’50s Food Flashback

  1. Pingback: Top Chef Seattle Episode 3 – Tom vs Emeril: Turkeypocalypse « The Food and Wine Hedonist

  2. Yinzerella
    November 29, 2012

    Can’t wait to watch this episode for the 1950s revamp!

  3. a2sicilian
    December 2, 2012

    CJ should have gone, not just for the pretentiousness of the sous vide of the lamb for 50s-era shish kabob, but for shish kabob and pilaf that apparently tasted horrible. Not crazy about Carla, but so many people sent the squab back as too rare (probably thinking rare poultry = salmonella), not surprising the cooks started erring on the more well done.

  4. Pingback: Top Chef Seattle Episode 5: Pike Place Pickle « The Food and Wine Hedonist

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This entry was posted on November 29, 2012 by in Television and tagged , , , , , .
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