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Top Chef: Seattle – Ep 11 – The Episode Where I Get Mad At Padma

Papa Smurf’s team is making balut – which instantly had me gagging based on my Survivor knowledge. on I remember Tom Westman kicking the crap out of that challenge in Palau – and even lamenting in post-show interviews how much he missed the taste of the bird embryos. Sadly, or not depending on your level of squeamishness, they do a balut that looks nothing like an actual balut.

Elimination Challenge – Restaurant Wars. Padma, Tom, Gail, Danny and Emeril are the judges. They decide to visit Kish’s Atelier Kwan restaurant first and are greeted by Brooke, who looks stunning and shows serious skills in greeting guests and handling the front of the house. Danny is impressed by the graphics the team uses on their menu, so they are off to a nice start. In the back, Lizzie and Kish get confused over the numbers 6, 8 and 10. I think it may be a logic puzzle, but there’s just no time for that, ladies!

Lizzie – Charcuterie: Rabbit, Pickled Turnips and Yellow Beets in Chicken and Rabbit Broth – I’m sorry, but every time I see rabbit getting cooked I think of either Looney Tunes or Gollum. Thankfully, I’m not judging this dish. Danny was expecting a terrine, but got something different and better. Emeril was surprised by the mustard and Tom praised the dish.

Kish and Josie clash and struggle to put the next dish out. It is a mess. Josie turns into Captain Obvious as she “senses a little bit of attitude.” You think? Lizzie becomes her sidekick Corporal Duh by saying Josie and Kish have a clash of styles. The judges think they have been forgotten.

Josie – Bouillabaisse: Halibut, Dungeness Crab, Bay Scallops in Shellfish Broth – Danny likes the crab, but Emeril has fish that is undercooked and other pieces which are overcooked. Gail is jealous that she didn’t get the foamy sauce on hers. Tom shakes his head and says it was not done correctly. Danny is peeved they had to wait for a while, and suggests that when a critic came into his restaurant, he would make sure the surrounding tables were very happy. Tom admits to planting people around the critic. Nice!

Kish – Beef Bourguignon: Braised Short Rib, Garlic Puree, Mushrooms and Carrots – Padma loves the beef, and yet, she went against Kish later on. Grrr. Tom says the sauce is not correct, Gail agrees that it is missing the wine reduction. Tom says if you reinterpret something and make it so close to the original, what’s the point?

Brooke – Baked Gougeres, St. Agur Blue Cheese, Roasted Radish, Fruit Compote – Emeril loves the choose, although Danny jokes that he lost a molar. Gail likes the compote flavor.

Kish – Almond Cake Macaroon with Coconut Custard and Caramel Buttercream – Danny thought he almond flavor was wonderful, but Just Desserts Queen Gail is up in arms that it is not an authentic macaroon, so don’t call it one. Sorry, but isn’t that the exact opposite of Tom’s short rib criticism?
The judges are annoyed instantly by Thumb’s service and the long wait at the boys’ restaurant. Danny wonders why Thumb isn’t putting drinks in the hands of all of those waiting.

Thumb – Kilawen: Yellowtail with Cilantro, Spicy Chili and White Soy Sauces – Emeril takes two bits and finds it delicious. Danny found it really nice, and Gail found beautiful contrasts on the plate.

OTV – Balut: Poached Egg, Duck Confit and Foie Gras Mousse – Gail found Thumb’s description of the dish to be confusing. And Danny agreed that he let OTV down. Gail did like the flavors of the dish, but Tom laments that the changes made left nothing really Filipino in it.

Papa Smurf – Miki: Prawns, Tapioca Roll with Achiote – No one is there to describe it to the judges, and when he finally comes over to do so, he is condescending. Padma thinks the dish is pretty, and Tom found the texture of the tapioca pasta to be wonderful.

Papa Smurf – Adobo: Pork Belly with Mung Bean Puree and Pea shoots Salad – Danny liked the flavors, but Tom went a step further and called it the best dish of the night. At this point, I knew they won this challenge.

OTV – Halo Halo: Coconut Sorbet, Avocado Mousse, Banana and Shredded Coconut – Gail liked the clean flavors, and Emeril liked how it wasn’t too sweet.

Thumb – Dark Chocolate with Macadamia Nuts, Ginger and Peppermint Oil Tea – Gail liked the timing of having the tea at the end. Tom felt it was an attempt to wash the bad taste of hospitality out of his mouth.

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