1/03/2013 02:49:00 PM

Top Chef Seattle Episode 9: Blast From the Past

Image via Bravo
Last night's Top Chef took us on a fun trip down memory lane. But first - knife skills! Master bladesmith Bob Kramer is in the house, conducting a knife skills relay race for the quickfire. Turns out bladesmiths are kind of awesome and Kramer's samurai sword knife slices through thick hemp rope like spaghetti. Oh, and sells for $500 an inch. Sheldon is pumped, we saw his daily ritual of sharpening his knives in the opening scene and he wants that blade, bad.

They're split into three groups of three (by drawing knives obvs) and need to sharpen dull knives to cut through paper. Stefan, Brooke and Lizzie finish last so they're out while the rest of them move on to round two: precision. They have to tourne fifty potatoes, which Josie explains means cut them into little football shapes with seven little sides but then she cuts herself so she's disqualified. Her team, John and Kristen have to move on without her and they're doing ok because John is really fast but the other team wins by a mere two potatoes. Now the winning team - Handlebar Josh, Sheldon and Micah turn into competitors and have to breakdown and French the rack of two rabbits. We think it's between Josh and Sheldon but Micah has a zen moment and all of a sudden wins. He gets immunity and a Bob Kramer Blade.


For the elimination challenge, each of them are assigned a memorable moment from the past ten seasons to recreate. It's a Healthy Choice challenge so they have to create a healthier version and the winner's dish will be featured as one of the Top Chef Healthy Choice meals. Everyone's excited. For super fans like the cheftestants and their diners (and us!) this is super fun because we all remember these moments. How about when that guy stole Ed's pea puree in season 7 and won for it?! Or when Howie Kleinberg quoted Bourdain's book back to him as a defense at judges' table in season 3? Ah, Top Chef used to be so much better.

We've got a power player judges table with Wolfgang Puck and Top Chef Masters competitors Wylie Dufresne, Chris Cosentino and Jonathan Waxman. Game on.

Josie starts out with season 1 and Dave Martin's roast chicken with caramelized root vegetables.  That episode he yelled out, "I'm not your b*tch, b*tch." So Josie made roasted chicken with parsnip puree and steamed root vegetables. Waxman says he knows a little bit about chicken with a smirk (Waxman is famous for his roasted chicken at Barbuto) and remarks that it's like a chicken at any standard restaurant. Unexciting.

Stefan's season 2 moment is when Marcel and Betty were going at it over the grilled cheese. Stefan serves a roasted red pepper soup with bacon and grilled mimolette cheese sandwich. He knows his rendition isn't exactly healthy but he's hoping to get away with it. He doesn't. Cosentino says you can see the fat content on the plate.

John has Howie Kleinberg's mushroom and sea urchin risotto from season 3. He serves umami risotto with chicken, salmon roe, burdock root and carrot emulsion (to simulate the sea urchin). In the kitchen, John boasts that risotto isn't actually hard to cook, it just doesn't have a history of success on Top Chef. But he can't find a flat enough pan. He's hoping to break the Risotto Curse, but lo and behold it holds up. Half of John's risotto it is overcooked and half of it is undercooked. He should have known, Top Chef curses are never broken. 

Sheldon has season 4's beef carpaccio from some big fight when everyone was mad at Spike. He serves beef carpaccio with poi aioli, mizuna and mushroom salad with silken tofu foam and miso candied salmon. Cosentino says it's not eye-appealing and looks like a runny mess. Wylie likes the candied salmon and the idea of substituting the tofu for the aioli but it doesn't have any flavor.

Lizzie has Jamie's scallops from Season 5. She was always making scallops. Remember Fabio's line: "This is Top Chef, not Top Scallop!" Lizzie knows her scallops smell bad but she serves them anyway, which is obviously a mistake. Wolfgang calls their quality "dubious" and Wylie says she should've left out the scallop and just put out a salad. She knew it was horrible. She's embarrassed.

Handlebar Josh, John, Kristen, Lizzie and Brooke are called in as the highest and lowest. Josh, Brooke and Kristen are on top. They don't even mention that Kristen left the sauce off of Cosentino's plate because hers is clearly the best and she wins. Hootie Hoo!

John and Lizzie are on the bottom and - TWIST - they have one last chance to save themselves by recreating the tenth memorable moment from this season. And what is this season's memorable moment? CJ's burger with spicy pickles. Of course it is. They have 45 minutes to create a healthier version. 

John is pissed because his risotto was unevenly cooked because he "couldn’t find a pot" and Lizzie put out foul food.  Lizzie unanimously wins because hers is more moist and flavorful. John's not bitter, but yeah, he thinks it's "bullsh*t."

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