2/07/2013 02:57:00 PM

Top Chef Seattle Episode 14: I Can See Russia From My Stove

Image via Bravo
Ok, so we've made it to the finals and it's time for Brooke, Sheldon, Lizzie and Josh to duke it out. They all take a moment to marvel at the revelation that Stefan actually has a heart and they actually kinda miss him. But moving on, we're in Alaska. Bring on the King Crab.

They meet Padma and Charleston chef Sean Brock at Juneau culinary destination Tracy's King Crab Shack for the quick fire. Padma instructs them to take the nearly flawless ingredient of Alaskan king crab and make it shine. Brock took a 13-hour flight for this crab, so they better bring it.

Brooke makes a simple crab toast. Brock doesn't want to like it but it's "flat-out delicious." Josh thinks he has a similar style to Brock and makes a crab succotash that doesn't go well. Brock's a succotash snob and Josh's "sucked-otash." Lizzie's crab frittata has too many capers and too many flavors. But Sheldon does some cool stuff. He smokes pine needles, a technique he's seen done at Noma to make pine-smoked asparagus tips and uses the innards from the Dungeness crab to make miso soup. Innards have always reminded him of miso, so why not. It works, so Sheldon wins. 

For the elimination, they're celebrating two of Alaska's oldest culinary traditions, salmon and sourdough and preparing a dish for a local salmon bake. The cheftestants walk around their new digs like it's Real World Alaska, find the special three-decade-old Alaskan sourdough starter a local baker dropped off for them and get to work. Josh is gonna make sourdough soup. Lizzie seems nervous. Brooke makes fun of Sheldon for working his bread like a ninja. Sheldon plays his ukulele. The next day they put on serious fishing outfits and pick up their salmon right off the boats on the docks. There are so many different types of beautiful, fresh salmon. They all think this is awesome.

Sheldon makes green tea and chive sourdough with smoked chum and sockeye salmon and pea soup with a seafood base. During prep, Tom laughs because he said he was thinking he would've made pea soup and salmon for this challenge. Encouraging. Everyone's shocked Sheldon used chum salmon. Apparently locals only use chum to feed their dogs, but they like his. The judges aren't particularly impressed. The bread doesn't work and the salmon - though cooked well - is too charred and smoky.

Josh pulls out roasted garlic sourdough soup with sockeye salmon and black olive croutons. Creative. The judges are impressed by the concept. They like the soup and they like the salmon but they don't like them together. The flavor of the soup is too strong for the delicately poached salmon. The balance is off. Oh, and his wife currently in labor.

Brooke serves lightly poached sockeye salmon with king crab in seafood broth with mustard seed caviar and grilled dill sourdough. Tom second-guesses poaching the salmon as a risky move but he likes the dish, especially the broth. Gail's fish is a little overcooked but loves the flavor of the dill sourdough. Sean Brock is crazy about dipping the bread into the broth.  Brock says it's right on the edge but that's where he likes it.

Lizzie rolls out citrus- and beet-glazed sockeye salmon sliders with poppy seed butter and pickles. They love her sourdough. She's the only one to really get that perfect crust. Her salmon is nicely cooked but not seasoned. They can't taste the citrus or the beet. They ask at judges table if she tasted the slider all together and she admits she tasted all the components but not the final dish. There was too much bread and the salmon got lost in it.

The judges and locals agree - Brooke is the winner.  It's between Lizzie and Sheldon to go home and… it's Lizzie. It's too bad, we've always liked Lizzie and her quiet talent but Sheldon's gonna do some fun and wacky stuff in the finals.

It's down to three. See you next week! 

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