And we're back. They review the previouslies from Canlis and the issues some have with John Tesar. So what's happening this week? They show them back at the house with only 14 chefestants. Stefan waves bye-bye to Chrissy and Carla in a confessional. Tyler notes that being on top means nothing - both Kuniko and Carla were gone right after they were on top.
Alarm goes off at 3:45 a.m in the suite, and everyone wishes Stefan a happy 40th birthday. When Stefan was on TC-New York, several cheftestants got booted on their birthday...so he's nervous.
Off to Pike Place Market, and Padma meets them with their guest judge, Daisley Gordon, chef/owner of Marché and Café Campagne. Their Quickfire Challenge is to divide into teams of two. Funnily, who gets paired together? Josh and John - neither are none too happy about it. Padma tells them that they'll be making breakfast to go - on a stick! - for the Pike Place Market vendors. Daisley tells them that the vendors work with food all day - so they won't be able to pull the wool over their eyes. A sausage on a stick won't cut it. Daisley brought down a pantry from his restaurant and Sur la Table has provided equipment. They have 1 hour to set up their entire kitchen and cook before the market workers show up.
They rush to get the food - and Josh breaks a bottle of what looks to be cream out of Eliza's arm. Some run over to Sur la Table to get the equipment they need - they have $500 to shop at Sur la Table. Bart tries to rush past C.J. as C.J. is trying to put on an apron IN the aisle (get out of the way, C.J.!). C.J. takes a griddle from someone else.
They get back to cooking. Josh and John seem to be getting along OK with making their dish. John is deferring to Josh, as Josh does breakfast every day. Bart falls and drops his press and hopes that it will work. But it dies halfway through cooking.
John & Josh - Chilaquiles - Tortilla, Salsa, Quail Egg, Avocado-Heirloom Tomato Relish. Good flavors and seasoning.
Eliza & Josie - Ricotta, Raspberry & Sausage Pancake with Jalapeno Maple Syrup. Padma ends up dropping her on-the-stick meal, but catches it. Daisley says it is a dessert & breakfast combo.
Micah & Kristen - Bacon & Cinnamon Waffle with Cantaloupe marinated in Pecan Maple Syrup, Boysenberry & Strawberry Jam.
C.J. and Tyler - Salmon and Cream Cheese Crepe with Arugula - Padma was amazed at how hers stayed together.
Bart & Sheldon - Green Forest Breakfast Sandwich: Eggs, Cheese, Pancetta, Bacon & Spinach. Daisley said the spinach was a clever addition.
Danyele & Lizzie - Summer Berries with Crispy Pancetta. The blackberries were drizzled with blackberry honey and the strawberries had some cracked black pepper. Daisley said the berries were amazing.
Brooke & Stefan - Croque Monsieur: Pressed Ham & Cheese Sandwich with Toasted Fig. (This dish looked really good!)
Bottom group - Danyele & Lizzie's berries; Josie & Eliza's ricotta pancake.
Top group - Sheldon & Bart's breakfast sandwich; Josh & John's chilaquiles
And the winner? Sheldon & Bart. They now have immunity for the Elimination Challenge. And for that challenge? They'll stay in the same teams of two for this challenge, and they drawn knives.
Bart/Sheldon - Salmon Candy
Josh & John - Truffle Popcorn
Stefan & Brooke - Rose Petal Jelly
CJ and Tyler - Spicy Dill Pickles
Josie & Eliza - Cardamom Bitters
Danyele & Lizzie - Coconut Curry Chocolate
Kristen & Micah - Cheese Curds
They are to make a dish that highlights the product they picked. Daisley has invited the the artisans who makes the products to lunch. The winning team splits $10,000, and Padma tells them lunch is to be served in two hours.
They all go taste their product, and get their other ingredients. Off to Marché to prepare the meals. The judges and artisans arrive, and include Hugh Acheson and Gail Simmons. Interestingly, both Josh and John aren't saying anything to each other about what they're individually making for their combined dish, as they each think that if they discuss, nothing will get finished.
Josh & John (Truffle Popcorn) - Pan-seared Pork Tenderloin with Truffle Popcorn Grits - The artisan would have preferred that they add some other flavors than just the truffle; Hugh said "As someone who makes grits everyday, those grits suck." :-D Tom also thinks the meat was poorly cooked, and the sauce was a gloppy mess.
Kristen & Micah (Cheese Curds) - Cheese Curds Three Ways: Béchamel, Raw & Fried - The artisan liked each individual component, but thought there was too much of them. The fried curds were the only ones that stood out. The Romesco sauce overwhelmed the cheese curd in the sauce.
Stefan & Brooke (Rose Petal Jelly) - Rose Petal Glazzed Muscovy Duck with Braised Cabbage - Hugh had problems cutting the duck; Gail doesn't get the rose petal jelly flavor at all; Tom thinks it's too sweet. The maker of the jelly thought the jelly went well with the duck.
Bart & Sheldon (Salmon Candy) - Candied Salmon with Sweet & Sour Salad - The artisan liked the salmon mousse, but Tom C. wanted more of the candied salmon - he didn't get enough of it, and Gail and Hugh agreed that they didn't highlight their product enough. This salmon candy is made by the guys who throw the fish in Pike Place Market. Hugh asks when the fish is thrown and it's not caught and falls on the ground, what happens to it? The artisan said "We have a stunt fish!"
The next group is shown making their dishes. CJ thinks his pork burger is a great idea to go with pickles, while Tyler thinks they underthought the dish. Eliza and Josie seem to *not* be working well at all.
Josie & Eliza (Cardamom Bitters) - Curry Cardamom Broth with Manila Clams & Seared White King Salmon - Gail said the broth was nicely done, but it was too salty. And Padma got some sand (Gail got a rock, like Charlie Brown at Halloween). The artisan said the cardamom's afternote finish is floral, but it was muted out by the fishy, salty broth. The dish didn't sing for Hugh.
Danyele & Lizzie (Coconut Curry Chocolate) - Coconut Curry Chocolate Mousse Tart - the artisan liked the flavor of the spice blend, but would have preferred not seeing other chocolate incorporated into the mousse. Tom said putting the hard disc on top was poor assembly of the dish. As soon as you cut into it, it squirted out the other end. Gail thought the flavors were overpowering and it was one of her least favorite dishes.
CJ and Tyler (Spicy Dill Pickles) - Pork Crumpet Burger with Spicy Dill Pickles - the artisan thought that the pickles would have been better highlighted if they were on three small sliders, not so doughy and more crispy. The crumpet was falling apart for all of them - Hugh called it a spongy, gross, bottom bun. Tom C. goes off - "You couldn't think of a better thing to do with pickles than to put them on a burger? How friggin' original! I got a burger with pickles on it! Wow!" Rut-roh! Bottom group for sure!
Overall review from the judges? Gail said most of the ingredients were highlighted properly, but the finesse wasn't there. Hugh's expectation was much higher. Tom said he didn't have a favorite dish, as they were all done poorly. Daisley said not a good day for pork, and Tom C. replied "Not a good day for Top Chef!" Padma notes that the winning team gets $10,000, and Tom said he doesn't want to see $10,000 awarded for any of the dishes. Padma apologizes to the artisans that they didn't have a better meal, as the judges have been seeing better food from this group.
Tom shows up where the cheftestants are hanging out (Josh says "uh-oh!" when Tom walks in), and tells them that overall, they were all really disappointed and that the food wasn't up to par. It showed a lack of imagination and technique, and he told them that they apologized to the artisans. Tom said they are NOT going to award a win today, as they dishes were *that* bad. He also tells them that they're going to send an entire team home tomorrow. Crestfallen looks on everyone's faces. But THEN Tom tells them all that they *are* doing Last Chance Kitchen again, so if they lose, they have a chance to get back into the game. He tells them to get some sleep, they'll get through Judge's Table tomorrow, but they need to step it up and take some risks and push it.
Tom leaves, and Sheldon notes the gray cloud that came over the room. Stefan calls it the birthday curse. CJ says everyone has a chance of going home, and no one feels safe. "Why am I back here?" Back at the suite, Stefan says "No wonder people drink in this business, dude!" to John as he's opening some wine. John notes he's never seen Tom C. angry before. He says he doesn't want to go home because of Josh. When asked if he would regret doing this again if he is sent home, CJ said he would feel like a "total failure bitch." Josh calls Tyler out for his defeatist attitude after Tyler said "if it's CJ's and my time to go home, it's our time."
In the in-betweener, Stefan tries to explain LCK to the rest of the cheftestants. Josh said he and Stefan click, as they're both a little on the arrogant asshole side, but at the same time, they're both likable. LOL
OK, it's Judges Table time. Padma comes into the Stew Room and asks to see the Red Team (John/Josh), the Yellow Team (Stefan/Brooke), and the Gray Team (CJ/Tyler). ::::::Racing WHOOSH! close-up camera shots of every chef's face::::: (Really, was that necessary?) These three teams' dishes were the most disappointing.
Tom asks if they find the challenge to be difficult. Josh said he was stymied by the ingredient, so he didn't have a clear direction to go. CJ said they didn't want to take away from the integrity of the pickle and wanted to make something that goes best with a pickle, what they liked to eat with a pickle. Tom asked did it never occur not to think "what goes great with a pickle" but "what could you make with a pickle?" Gail thinks it wasn't what they didn't understand how to use the ingredient; the food just wasn't well made.
Brooke & Stefan's glaze on the duck was fine, but the braised cabbage completely overwhelmed the dish. Stefan thought the small amount of rose petal jelly he used was still too sweet; Hugh said if it was still too sweet, he needed to fix it.
Padma asked Josh and John what they thought of the grits they made. Josh said he was apprehensive to make grits for Hugh; Hugh said he was apprehensive to eat the grits. Hugh also asked who thought to cut the pork that way; Josh hemmed and hawed and said "I don't want to throw anyone.....John suggested it, so I went with it. Normally I roast it whole and slice it. He suggested doing medallions. I didn't want to create friction in the team." Gail notes the lack of artistry on the plate - no garnish, no presentation. Tom said it looked like someone who hates cooking but had to feed their family.
Padma asked CJ and Tyler if they liked their burger; CJ said they tried it 3 times and liked it. Hugh said it was not a good burger. Tom said why would they make a burger and a pickle, and CJ said if they had made something else, CJ said he could hear Tom's voice saying "You could have just made a great burger and the pickle would have shined!" Everyone laughs and Padma says "Fair enough!" CJ said it was a double-edged sword. Gail said it's Top Chef; they want the chefs to be creative.
They are asked to leave the judge's table, but Gail asks CJ if he had something else to say, and he asked how they liked the dessert. Tom said some liked it; some didn't. CJ said "That thing was an abhorrence, I thought. It was a debacle, it was diabolical, it was a travesty." And Hugh replies "Uh oh! Because your burger was even worse!" CJ swears, and the judges all laugh, and someone (Josh?) says "You asked! That was like throwing underhanded pitches to a pro baseball player!"
The judges were surprised at the Gray's team burger and how poorly it was put together. The Red Team completely compromised themselves to tolerate each other, and because of that, they lost sight of what they were supposed to be doing. John's grits and Stefan's cabbage were the worst dishes, per Padma. Hugh hates the burger, Padma hates the duck, Tom hated the pork. What does Gail hate? Ball's in her court.
And we're back. Tom said it wasn't a unanimous decision but a majority decision. The team going home is the Gray Team - CJ & Tyler. (Tyler's confessional proved true - he was on top in the last challenge and was sent packing the next challenge!) CJ "doesn't think he was judged fairly." Still a bit too big for his britches. BUT - they both have LCK to prove themselves. And Stefan skirts by the birthday curse.
Previews have actors Anna Faris and Chris Pratt as judges along with Rick Moonen, who John Tesar used to work for.
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