11/23/2012 10:45:00 AM

Top Chef Seattle Episode 3: Make Cornbread, Not War

It's Top Chef Thanksgiving! Food and Wine EIC Dana Cowin kicks it off with a dumpling quickfire. There are 17 types of dumplings from 17 countries. Cowin has eaten her weight in dumplings (she's small, we've eaten double that) and she wants to see what they can do with a wrapper, stuffing and sauce (nice Thanksgiving tie-in). They have five minutes to research their dumpling and for Micah to find out Kazakhstan isn't just Bruno's made-up country. The lesser dumplings all failed on a technicality. Brooke didn't have flour for a casing, Carla couldn't use the Kindle with her broken hand to read the recipe so she made it up and Kuniko didn't get hers on the plate in time. Josie's Korean Mondu, Stefan's German Klopes (when he was young he had hair and ate klopes) and Micah's Kazakhstan Manti are on top. Josie wins immunity.

On to Thanksgiving, it's Tom vs. Emeril. They're each leading a team  (a Top Chef first!) to cook Thanksgiving dinner for culinary community program FareStart. Emeril's lived in New Orleans for the last 30 years so he does a Creole Thanksgiving and Tom does an Italian American Thanksgiving. For the turkey, they both have the same advice: stuff a ton of butter in there. Tom and Emeril seem like they're having a blast in the kitchen and all the chefs are super excited to be working with them. Chrissy's an Emeril fan, "Can I say Bam? Bam!"

The Emeril-led Creole Thanksgiving has its ups and downs. The biggest problem is the turkey made by Josie with immunity. The whole time she worried it was going to be overcooked and it's practically raw. They loved Brooke's sweet potato biscuit, Danyele's chorizo and cayenne stuffing and Chrissy's white chocolate and pecan bread pudding (yum). Tyler's gumbo is bitter and lacking depth (and Worchester and hot sauce). John nails the cornbread dressing but his deconstructed pumpkin pie is too grainy. Kristen's root vegetables are under-seasoned, Sheldon's braised greens are good but undercooked. It's not a good night for Kuniko, her potato pave is raw.

Tom and Emeril can't vote because they're biased but the Tom-led Italian Thanksgiving wins unanimously with the rest of the judges. Almost everything is works. The weakest thing on the plate is Josh's sweet potato ravioli, the dough is too thick. They don't love Stefan's panna cotta or Eliza's too spicy chocolate tart but CJ's turkey is roasted to perfection. They love Carla's carrot soup with turkey meatballs and Cowin tells Lizzie she hit the Joël Robuchon high mark of half butter half potato in her mashed potatoes. Carla takes the win.

Tyler, Kuniko and Sheldon are on the chopping block. They'd like to send Josie home for her raw turkey but they can't. It's Kuniko. She won last week but everything fell apart for her tonight. She says she has no regrets because if she didn’t help anybody and only took care of herself that's worse than her going home. Awwww. That's the holiday spirit.

Happy Thanksgiving!

1 comment :

  1. It's always interesting to watch Top Chef and learn a new thing or two (or three) from up and coming chefs and seasoned mentors. What I learned from episode 3 is that I will NEVER go to or recommend an Emeril Lagasse restaurant, after watching that man put his nasty fingers in pot after pot (and licking them in between) - disgusting! He's not barefoot and cooking in his home kitchen; he's cooking food for a major event. He should respect the dinner guests enough to practice basic hygiene. (Didn't Tom excise one of the cheftestants for identical behavior in episode 1?). C'mon Top Chef, surely you all can afford tasting spoons.