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Top Chef: Seattle – Episode 9 – Monkeying Around With Pickles

Quickfire Challenge – Knife skills. Master Bladesmith Bob Kramer is there with Padma. Who is this unassuming man? He is a Master Bladesmith. One of the coolest titles ever. There are only 120 in the USA. There can be no more – if someone else wants it, they have to challenge one of the others to a freakishly sharp knife duel. Kramer’s knives cost $500 per inch. Damn. Kramer slices through rope with the blade. Papa Smurf goes nuts just thinking about winning one of those knives. Well, he has a shot. The Quickfire is a skills competition and the winner gets immunity and a $4000 knife.

First, the chefs have to sharpen a knife to the point where it could slice through a sheet of paper. The teams divide up into groups of three – OTV/Papa Smurf/Micah vs. Josie/Monkey/Kish vs. Lizzie/Brooke/Thumb. Monkey was overconfident and messed up, but it was no real worry since Brooke might still be in the Pacific Northwest trying to sharpen that knife.

The next part was to tourne 50 potatoes. That’s a potato cut into seven sides and to resemble a football. Monkey is really good at this, but when Josie nicks her finger, she is disqualified. The three vs. two situation is just too much for Monkey and Kish who fall two taters short. Lastly, OTV, Micah and Papa Smurf separate and have to battle for the knife by breaking down and French cutting a rack of two rabbits. It comes down to Micah winning the knife and immunity. He’s been on a recent and unexpected roll.

Elimination Challenge – The Memorable Moments. Cook the dish, be inspired by it, and make it healthy to create a new Healthy Choice meal. Serve to Super Fans – $15,000 on the line. The judges are Padma, Tom, Puck, Masters winner Chris Costantio (CC), Jonathan Waxman (Obi-Wan) and Wylie Dufresne.

Season 1 – Josie – “I’m not your bitch, bitchHerb Roasted Chicken with Parsnip Puree and Steamed Root Vegetables – Wylie likes the roast, but it needed more crunch. Obi-Wan calls it standard restaurant fare. Not exciting.

Season 2 – Thumb – Betty and Marcel fightRoasted Red Pepper Soup with Bacon and Grilled Minolette Cheese Sandwich – CC said it was rich and you could see the fat. Wylie said it was greasy, but Puck liked the soup.

Season 3 – Monkey – Howie and Bourdain fight over risottoUmami Risotto with Chicken, Salmon Roe, Burdock Root and Carrot Emulsion – Padma is not a fan. Wylie said some was crunchy and some not. Puck agreed – it was unevenly cooked.

Season 4 – Papa Smurf – Antonia, Dale, Spike and Jen fighting in the Stew RoomBeef Carpaccio with Poi Aioli, Mizuna and Mushroom Salad and Silken Tofu Foam – CC was not expecting what he got, it was a bit of a mess. Wylie liked the sandy salmon, but the tofu had no flavor. Papa was lucky Monkey made worse risotto and Lizzie made rancid scallops.

Season 5 – Lizzie – Fabio mocking Jamie for being on Top ScallopSeared Scallops with Roasted Fennel, Garlic Puree, Orange and Olive Salad – Puck calls the scallops “dubious.” This is awfully polite. Obi-Wan thought it would have been bold to serve a scallop dish without scallops.

Season 6 – OTV – Mike Voltaggio & Mike Isabella crushing a braised bacon dish for the Air Force Soy-Glazed Pork Tenderloin with Smoked Cashew Puree and Heirloom Peaches – Three times the charm for pork-master OTV, as he finally nailed his signature dish. Puck thought it was really well cooked, and Wylie praised the nuts and fruit.

Season 7 – Brooke – Ed and the vanishing pea pureeSmoked Salmon, Forbidden Black Rice with English Pea and Parsnip Puree – It gets raves. Tom found the puree beautiful and low in sodium.

Season 8 – Kish – Carla freaking out on the Jimmy Fallon Show about pot piesPoached Chicken Breast, Carrot Puree with Garlic and Tofu Emulsion. – Tom says it was light with a lot of flavor, and Obi-Wan said it was a great version of pot pie. Wylie, however, didn’t get enough sauce.

Season 9 – Micah – Heather ripping Bev a new one at Judges Table Five-Spiced Duck Breast with Miso Polenta and Pickled Cherries – Tom liked it, especially the cherries. Obi said that usually miso and polenta makes a bad combo. Puck things some grated corn on top would have elevated the dish with some sweetness.

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