12/06/2012 10:45:00 AM

Top Chef Seattle Episode 5: The Birthday Curse

Image via Bravo
It was Stefan's birthday and he was worried about carrying the birthday curse from his New York season where, in a crazy coincidence, everyone got sent home on their birthday. Last night's episode was designed to celebrate Pike Place Market, "the soul of Seattle," but the curse must've gotten to the soul and they joined forces to take everyone out.

It started out okay. The quickfire challenge was to make breakfast on a stick for all the vendors who start their day before sunrise. They split themselves into pairs and had an hour to set up the kitchen and cook. They even played a clip of one guy saying "this is awesome," twice in a row (remix?). Sure, Padma and guest judge, local chef Daisley Gordon weren't impressed by Danyele's and Lizzie's summer berries with crispy pancetta and they didn't care for Eliza and Josie's ricotta raspberry sausage pancake, but rest of them did well. CJ and Tyler put up a good fight with their grilled salmon and cream cheese crepe that held together surprisingly well, but their top choices were John and Josh's chilaquiles (breakfast tacos) on a stick and Bart and Sheldon's green forest breakfast sandwich, which looked the best and took the win with eggs, cheese pancetta, bacon and spinach. Bart and Sheldon got immunity - lucky them.


For the elimination challenge, the chefs have to stay in their pairs and this is where the disaster ensues. Pike Place is known for their hand crafted artisanal ingredients and the challenge was to make a dish that highlights a chosen ingredient in two hours to impress both the judges and the local artisans who made them. They pick knives for ingredients, which all sound fun and delicious with items like truffle popcorn, salmon candy and spicy pickles.

With the exception of Sheldon and Bart who are shielded by immunity and having a blast, all of the pairs self-destruct in the kitchen. No one's getting along and almost everyone has a problem with their dish and isn't saying anything in an effort to appease their partner.

Lizzie doesn't want to make dessert out of the coconut curry chocolate, she wants to make fish but Danyele says chocolate mousse so they make chocolate mousse and the judges wished they hadn't made dessert. Tyler thinks CJ's burger idea for spicy pickles is too simple but CJ says Tom will want simple and Tom says "how friggin' original." Josie and Eliza hate each other, and Josh and John are ready to explode at any moment. Josh knew John's plan to cook pork medallions was off but he didn't want to rile John up so he let him do his thing and the judges asked how accomplished chefs could ever make the choice to cook pork medallions.

All this anger came out in the food and resulted in an unprecedented total failure. The judges decided none of this food was worthy of a $10,000 prize, so they took the prize off the table and sent two people home instead of one. They had to apologize to the local artisans who came to taste the Top Chef renditions of their ingredients. It was awkward.

The bottom three were Josh and John's pork tenderloin with truffle popcorn grits, CJ and Tyler's burger crumpet with spicy pickles and Stefan and Brooke's rose petal jelly-glazed duck and cabbage. Not only were the judges horrified by Josh and John's use of a medallion but Hugh Acheson said the grits sucked and Tom said the sauce was gloppy. They thought CJ's burger (it was CJ's, Tyler was really the sous chef on this one) was abominable. They hated the actual burger, the fried pickle and the bun. They thought Brooke and Stefan's duck and cabbage was way too sweet. Their fault was not as egregious but as the carrier of the curse, Stefan had to be in the bottom three.

CJ and Tyler were sent home. None of the other dishes were addressed. CJ turned around on his way out and said, "what about Lizzie and Danyele's diabolical travesty of a chocolate tart?" Hugh said,  "Yours was worse."

There was a reminder in the failure. Don't worry, there's always Last Chance Kitchen! So we're doing that again. And Kuniko, not surprisingly, is currently kicking ass.

Happy birthday, Stefan?

1 comment :

  1. I hope Kuniko beats CJ in the ‘Last Chance Kitchen.’ This was an awkward episode to watch especially when every single dish did not receive a positive review. Next week looks like another fun challenge for the contestants, unfortunately I’m going to miss it when it airs because of my new work schedule at DISH. I’m bad with setting weekly timers on my DISH Hopper, so instead I’m going to record the entire season, I have over 400 hours of HD DVR room, and with that I won’t miss a single episode, and I can still record my other favorite HD programs the same night without using up much space. Looks like Stephan broke the ‘Top Chef Birthday curse.’

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