So we're down to 11 cheftestants. Start off back in the Stew Room; Josh said he's not going to cook any more pork. They show back up the next morning in the Top Chef Kitchen and see Stephanie Izard there with Padma. Kristen quietly wonders "She's coming back into the kitchen." Nope - Stephanie is just there as a judge!
For the Quickfire Challenge, they can cook anything they want. They can choose anything they want from the pantry - BUT....everything in the pantry has been wrapped in Reynolds Wrap foil (product placement!) They can open as many foiil wrapped ingredients as they want but if they open the foil, they have to use the ingredient in their dish. And the foil is the only cooking vessel. Bart calls is "arts and crafts class." Stephanie notes that in her restaurant, they use foil all the time for ribs, for baking cheesecakes. The winner of the QF will be safe from elimination, and they have ONLY 30 minutes to cook.
Stefan ends up with salmon; someone else gets chicken; John gets a pineapple. Kristen is going for specific things to make a spongecake and does manage to get eggs, and beats them in a foil bowl. Danyele says in the confessional "Are you kidding? She's making a cake - that's the ballsiest thing I've heard of!" Sheldon gets scallops, and wants to sear them, but he can't, as he has to cook them in foil.
They're running around; several people are slipping on the floor - Stefan almost takes a header, Josie slips as well.
Danyele - Cannellini Bean Stew with Bacon, Asiago Cheese and Tomatillo - Stephanie liked the grilled tomatillo on bread.
Micah - Grilled Lamb with Tomato Fennel Panzanella - Padma notes that the lamb looks quite rare.
Stefan - Hot Smoked Salmon with German Potato Salad (and he had a small glass of champagne alongside) - Stefan got lots of Asian flavors, and said he's going back to his Asian heritage. That Stefan - such a kidder. Stephanie said the champagne was a nice touch.
John - Beef Egg Drop Soup with Braised Pineapple - Stephanie liked the pineapple and beef together.
Brooke - Bacon Roasted Yams with Bacon, Onion & Apple Salad - Padma asked if the onion was cooked (while waving her hand in front of her mouth). Brooke said half of the onion was cooked; Stephanie noted the raw onion was pretty strong.
Josh - Roasted Chicken with Potatoes, Poblano, Tomatillo & Carrots - Stephanie liked the bit of heat from the Poblano.
Kristen - Almond & Chocolate Sponge Cake - they liked the texture of the cake - nice and light and moist.
Bart - Beer-Poached Cod with Butter Beer Sauce - fish was cooked beautifully. Bart really took the using the foil to heart - he even made a foil strainer!
Sheldon - Lemongrass Smoked Scallops with Tomato & Shallot Salad - Both Padma and Stephanie can smell the smokiness of the scallops.
Bottom group - Brooke, Micah, Josh
Top group - Danyele, Kristen, and Sheldon.
And the winner was the chef who used the foil most creatively and made a dish that had great flavors and where they never would have guessed the dish was made in 30 minutes - it's Kristen! She has immunity in the Elimination Challenge.
For the EC, Padma tells them they are to get their competitive juices flowing. The next day, they'll be at Remlinger Farms' Berry Festival. And they'll be cooking with berries - Micah gets a bit snarky in the confessional saying "berries are so sweet and tangy; I'm very excited to be cooking with these little bundles of joy!"
And they'll be cooking head-to-head battles. Stephanie notes that her first competition was a head-to-head battle, and now is the time for them to let their competitiveness come through. They will have to feature a highlighted berry for 150 diners.
Padma separates out the top six in the Quickfire (Danyele, Kristen, Sheldon, Josie, Bart, and Stefan). Since Kristen has immunity, she'll be cooking alone, but she still has a chance to win. In order for them to be safe from elimination, they have to beat the chef against whom they're cooking. The top 5 in the Quickfire have earned the right to pick the chef against whom they will compete. The dining guests will pick who wins in each battle. They have 3 hours to cook, and the winner will get $10,000.
There are 6 cloches under the table - one for each pair, and one for Kristen.
Sheldon vs. Micah - Strawberries
Danyele vs. Josh - Blueberries
Stefan vs. John - Gooseberries
Josie vs. Lizzie - Raspberries
Bart vs. Brooke - Blackberries
Kristen - Tayberries
And off they go to shop at Central Market. Sheldon claims all the fresh tuna, so Stefan goes and bought fresh-frozen sockeye block tuna. John sees it, and says "It's Top Chef! Who uses frozen fish? I'm definitely beating Stefan!"
Back at the suite, John gives Stefan shit for buying frozen fish. They both give each other the "Loser" hand signal to their foreheads. John says "you know I love you - we'll just cook together; one will be on the top, one will be on the bottom." Stefan says (while his head rests on Kristen's hip on the couch) "If we don't get rid of him tomorrow, I'll shank him in the kidneys the day after."
The next day, off to Remlinger Farms. They rush to the outdoor kitchen. Total chaos - not enough space for a cutting board. Someone pulls up on a tractor with baskets of berries. Bart and John fight over a blender - John says he's "using it right now" but he ends up *not* using it when he said he would do so. John bitches about how difficult the white gazpacho he's making isn't as easy as he expected. His proportions are out of whack, he can't measure anything. He turns on a blender without having the lid on tightly, and sprays creamy gazpacho all over himself and Josh.
Kristen is not competing against anyone, and she's happy about that, but she still wants to win. With $10K, she could go to Korea, where she's from, although she doesn't remember it, as she was adopted when she was 4 months old.
Tom C. comes in to talk to the cheftestants.This is where John tattletales on Stefan after Tom C. said that Stefan said he was going to beat John's ass. Stefan says from the background "Was that a backstabbing moment?" John said he had noticed that Stefan was using frozen tuna. Stefan tells Tom that the fresh tuna was old brown, he didn't want to use it, and there was nothing else, so he went with the frozen block tuna from Japan - "very high quality!" A bit of back and forth between John and Stefan, with John saying the tuna is full of CO2 and irradiated, and it's not sustainable. Stefan said "just run into my knife, mo-fo."
The guests arrive. We find out that Micah's children have names that are culinarily derived, Sage and Saffron (because Cayenne and Cinnamon sound like stripper names, according to Micah). Josie's rolls are not built or wrapped, so she's rolling to order. *That* won't be easy and will be time-consuming.
The judges show up, and head over to the cheftestants to pick up their dishes:
Danyele - Chicken Pine Nut Terrine with Blueberry Mostarda - very crunchy, Tom said rubbery on the terrine. The crostini were too crispy (pre-cooked/toasted) and Danyele could hear people eating them.
Josh - Savory Goat Cheese Mousse with Blueberry Compote - Tom like his dish; Gail said it was very balanced and delicate.
Josie - Rock & Raspberry Roll - Sockeye Salmon, Dungeness Crab & Raspberry Aioli - Josie talks and talks and talks, and Gail asks Tom "Is she high?" And Tom said "Uhh, yeah!" She tries to talk through the dish and Tom and Gail tell her to keep cooking while she's talking. Another guest said she thinks Josie is actually killing the crab it's taking so long. After tasting, Gail said she likes that Josie used the raspberries in so many ways, but she didn't really taste the bright raspberry flavor. Tom said he thinks Josie thinks it's more important to put on a show vs. making nice food. Why weight down the light spring roll with mayonnaise?
Lizzie - Raspberry Steamed Cabbage Roll with Heritage Pork & Bacon Stuffing - guests and judges love the combination of pork, raspberries and bacon. Tom said it takes a lot of guts to decide to cook something in that style.
Sheldon - Ahi Summer Roll - Ahi Poke, Strawberries, & Sweet Chili Sauce - at first, the sauce was thought odd in its consistency, but the addition of the radish made it work. Gail thought there was interesting strawberry flavor.
Micah - Strawberry-marinated Fried Chicken with Strawberry & Bacon Biscuit with Maple Sour Cream - they like the fried chicken, but the biscuit was dense.
John - White Gazpacho with Spanish Chorizo, Gooseberries & Sweet Grapes - Stephanie said the chorizo overwhelmed the dish for her. Padma said it was two dishes going on in the same cup. A guest said it reminded him of cheeseburger soup.
Stefan - Cali Crudo with Radishes, Gooseberries & Spiced Vinaigrette - guests didn't get much of the tuna flavor. Gail said the spice and crunch from the salad was good, but *she* didn't get much of the gooseberry taste.
Brooke - Spicy Smoked Chocolate Pudding with Blackberry Tapioca with Graham Cracker Crumble and an Earl Grey Marshmallow - a guest said they'd like more of the tapioca and less of the chocolate. And more of the berries, as the berries get lost. Tom said she wanted to make S'mores, and Stephanie said "It's totally S'mores!"
Bart - Blackberry Soup wtih Salmon & Rhubarb Yogurt - Tom said Bart's soup is delicious, but the salmon was as bland as it gets. Stephanie said the dish didn't need the salmon. A guest said her daughter refused to try it, which ws "good judgment", per that guest.
Kristen - Toasted Sage and Matcha Goat Milk Custard with Olive Oil-Macerated Tayberries - guests were saying they'd have to go back and get more. Tom loved the custard's texture, not too sweet. Stephanie said the macerated berries one one of the best things she tasted today.
John and Stefan continue their bitching at each other; John tells anyone voting for Stefan that they can rest easy, knowing they voted for frozen tuna. He also said that the Stew Room will be interesting tonight.
We're back in the Stew Room - and Stefan tells John "you started it today!" John replies "That's not how it went down!" Stefan takes a poll if everyone else has ever used sockeye block tuna - and everyone says yes. So he tells John to.....well, I won't put it here. Let's just say there were a lot of bleeps by the censors.
Padma walks in asking to see John, Josie, Micah, Bart, and Danyele. As they walk out, Josh quietly says "That's the bottom." Stefan says "Of course it's the bottom! What are you, effin' high?" Yup, they're the bottom group. Turns out the judges had the same tally as the guests as to who was in the bottom group.
The judges reviewed each dish and what was wrong. Some try and give excuses (Josie and John especially). They are asked to send in the winning dish - Stephanie said the winning dish highlighted the berry used, and the winner put together a unique dish that didn't have a flaw in it - the winner is Kristen AGAIN! Another double win! Tom tells her keep cooking the way she's cooking, and she'll spend a lot of time on "this end of things" (the winning end).
The judges discuss the bottom group's dishes. Bart did a good job highlighting his berry; the salmon didn't need to be there, whereas Micah did a bad job of highlighting his strawberry. Josie's dish didn't have a clear flavor of raspberry - Tom likened it to Pepto Bismol in how it looked - just pink. Danyele's chicken terrine was a good idea, but the textures didn't work with the crostini, and John's soup just didn't seem to have good technique. The berries were lost in his dish.
I'm *thinking* it's going to be Josie or John, but it could be a crapshoot - I dont' think it'll be Bart. We're back at JT, and we get to see the ::::whooshing::::dramatic camera shots of the cheftestants. Padma asks Danyele to PYKAG.
And back in the Stew Room, Josie and Stefan begin to get into it when Stefan interrupts Josie speaking to Lizzie to ask John a question. So the "drama" starts. Great.
Preview for next week shows them digging for clams, and Padma is on rollerskates as they're cooking for a roller derby team. And Josie takes on Stefan in the suite.
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