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Top Chef: Seattle – Episode 5 – The One Where No One Could Cook

I love it when Top Chef goes to places where I have visited. I’ve been to Pike’s Place and it is awesome. The fish throwing, the artisan shops, it’s a place to go if you are in Seattle. There’s even the location of the very first Starbuck’s location – the home of the delicious eggnog latte. And the chefs had to wake up at 3:45 am to get down there super early before all of the tourists show up. Daisley Gordon – the owner of two restaurants in the market – would join Padma for the Quickfire. I think I ate in one of his restaurants when we were there – and if so, he made the best oysters I have ever had.

In this Quickfire Challenge, pairs of chefs would have to make breakfast for the market workers. Except, they would have to make it on a stick. They have one hour to make it. Latex Salesman wants to make eggs – good luck there. Hipster/Lizzie go for a European breakfast. Eliza wants to do a vegan sushi. Micah and Kish are the youngest team, for what it’s worth, and have chosen bacon waffles. A dish that would make both Ron Swanson and Leslie Knope happy. CJ is doing salmon and salad, which is strange. OTV/Monkey are making a taco. Eliza and Josie clash over who’s cooking what.

OTV/Monkey – Chilaquiles: Tortilla, Salsa, Quail Eggs, Avocado-Heirloom Tomato Relish – Padma likes the flavor and Daisley likes the seasoning.

Eliza/Josie – Ricotta, Raspberry and Sausage Pancake with Jalapeno Maple Syrup – Padma describes that as a layer cake, and then, hilariously, hers falls off the stick.

Micah/Kish – Bacon and Cinnamon Waffle, Pecan Maple Syrup, Boysenberry and Strawberry Jam – No comments.

CJ/The Wiz – Something with salmon, crepes, arugula and cream cheese – Why no idea exactly? Stupid Bravo decided to put that annoying show tag for Watch What Happens Live over the description of the recipe. Boo!!! Padma was amazed it stayed together – whatever it was.

Latex/Papa Smurf – Green Forest Breakfast Sandwich – Eggs, Cheese, Pancetta, Bacon, Spinach – Daisley likes the clever combo.

Hipster/Lizzie – Summer berries with Crispy Pancetta – The berries were delicious.

Thumb/Brooke – Croque Monsieur: Pressed Ham and Cheese Sandwich with Toasted Fig

On the bottom, where Hipster/Lizzie, who had one hour and made very little, and Josie/Eliza, for super sweet jam. On the top, Latex/Papa Smurf for a well-cooked, easy-to-eat dish, and OTV/Monkey for good sauces and solid idea. The upset win went to Papa Smurf and Latex Salesman – and it was a clutch win since the failure of all the teams later on would mean they were the only safe team.

Elimination Challenge – The artisan ingredient challenge. Ten grand for the winning team – in theory – and they had only two hours to make the dish. Perhaps it was the short time that led to such crap, as teams may have panicked and not fully thought out the challenge. Perhaps they should rethink these quick elimination challenges in the future if that was the case.

I’ve already described much of the important things – as the teams who were the worst of the worst struggled. As I checked the time, on the episode I thought it may have been possible that Tom would make them re-cook the dishes, but it was probably for the best that they just smacked them all down. Perhaps next week’s will be super delicious after they all got embarrassed.

Joining Padma, Tom, and Mono for the judging is Gail. Joining them are Daisley and the Artisans, which coincidentally was my favorite band when I went to Lollapalooza years ago.

OTV/Monkey – Pan Seared Pork Tenderloin with Truffle Popcorn Grits – Cara Davis, the artisan who made the popcorn, wanted more flavors. Mono said that speaking as someone who makes grits every day…these grits sucked. Tom didn’t care for the pork and Daisley didn’t feel as if enough of the truffle popcorn was there.

Micah/Kish – Cheese Curds Three Ways – Bechamel, Raw and Fried – Kurt Damier, the artisan, thought it was too much. Mono couldn’t discern curd from curd. Padma was not happy with it, and she loves cheese.

Thumb/Brooke – Rose Petal Glazed Muscovy Duck with Braised Cabbage – Dale Nelson, the artisan, liked it, but Tom felt there was way too much sugar in the cabbage, and Mono didn’t care for the duck.

Papa Smurf/Latex Salesman – Candied Salmon with Sweet and Sour Salad – Tom wanted more salmon, Gail thinks the texture of the candied salmon made it special, and it was missing here. Audrey Miller, the artisan, seemed to be attempting politeness to mask her disappointment.

Josie/Eliza – Curry Cardamom Broth with Manila Clams and Seared White King Salmon – Gail likes the flavor, but too much salt. Padma got sand in hers. Miles Thomas, the artisan, wanted more of the fish broth.

Lizzie/Hipster – Coconut Curry Chocolate Mousse Tart – Debra Muse, the artisan, thinks the flavor was there. Tom found it assembled poorly and Gail said the flavors were overpowering.

CJ/The Wiz – Pork Crumpet Burger with Spicy Dill Pickles – Dale liked the crumpet, Mono found it too spongy and Tom couldn’t believe they just made a burger.

The judges wound up split on which dish would go home. Mono wanted to send CJ/Wiz home, Tom was against Monkey/OTV, and Padma felt Thumb/Brooke deserved the axe. It came down to Gail, who sided with Mono and sent the giant CJ and Wiz packing.

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