Quickfire – Make sushi for Sushi Master Katsuya Uechi in 30 minutes. Winner gets five grand, but no immunity. Brooke is a big sushi eater and makes it about three times per week. OTV doesn’t crave it the way he craves bacon. That’s not fair – how can you compare anything to the deliciousness of bacon. I mean, bacon is so good the mere thought of it makes you hungry. In fact, I’ll be right back. Gotta get me some bacon.
OTV is making bacon and eggs and Stefan the Thumb suggests that Kats may take one of OTV’s pinkies as a result. Papa Smurf is using charcoal on his. My favorite part is when Josie is talking to herself and Thumb gets confused and thinks she is talking to him. Lizzie considers sushi to be cooking as an art form, but sadly, not her style of art.
Thumb – Yellowtail with Grilled Shiitake Mushroom and Raw Lobster with Seaweed and Unagi – Thumb made two dishes, while the others made only one. Kats wants to know if he seared the lobster. He didn’t.
Josie – Halibut with Yuzu and Bacon Aioli – Padma is curious about the bacon on sushi Kats has had before. Not so much. He wants more punch.
I will also admit here – I had loads of trouble understanding Kats. So, my report may be flawed.
Lizzie – Lobster, Micro Greens and Pickled Ginger with Yuzu Sake Broth – Kats suggests some rice underneath would have elevated things.
Brooke – Octopus with Yuzu and Grated Wasabi – I think Kats said it had a very green taste. But I’m not really sure what that means.
OTV – Tempura Bacon Omelet, Salmon Belly and Yuzu Kosho Aioli – Why do dishes sound fancier when the word “belly” is added? Anyway, I think this combo baffles Kats.
Papa Smurf – Hamachi Sashimi with Fresh Ponzu, Mitsuba and Lemon Charcoal – Kats finds it interesting, especially the burnt lemon.
Kats puts Lizzie (temperature issues) and OTV (greasy bacon) on the bottom, and puts Brooke (easy to eat) and Thumb (Good combo) on top. As Thumb says, after 27 challenges he finally wins one. I must say this dynamic has been the most surprising to me this season, more so than Josie’s presence in the Top Six. Stefan was a dominant factor in his season, and he wins his first challenge in Episode 12. And yet, despite that, he is still around. There have not been many returnees in Top Chef history – but now only Blais, Antonia, Carla, Tiffany and Stefan can claim two Top 5 finishes.
Elimination Challenge – Tom brings in David Chang with the fried chicken instructions. Tom is having a dinner party with many great chefs. OTV is instantly excited with this challenge. The prize is a year supply of Terlato wine – Thumb claims that may last him three months. OTV gets to work as a mad scientist as he injects the chicken with some secret formula like Roger Clemens’ trainer but with brine instead of Superman juices.
Lizzie and Thumb lament over the lack of fried chicken in their non-American upbringing. Neither is going the traditional route, but Stefan is going to the nth degree by not even making fried chicken at all. He’s making chicken cordon bleu. I think the last time I had that was at my prom. Fun fact – I expect at some point to see my prom date on the show as a guest as she is in the food and beverage industry.
The diners at Tom’s party include the five judges for the week – Tom, Emeril, Puck, Padma and Chang. Joining them are the two owners of Animal – Vinny Dotolo and Jonathan Shook – and Michelle Bernstein. Josie notes that her Season 2 elimination came at the hand of Bernstein. The chefs gather at the table and proceed to drink a whole lot.
Here is where the roadblocks start piling up. Brooke runs out of time to include her fried skins. She knows her dish will be seriously lacking juiciness now. Josie has fryer issues – it ain’t working. Papa Smurf’s is too hot and he winds up running out of pieces of chicken to go around. Josie winds up scrapping her wings too. Brooke’s is finished too early and she has to put it back in the oven and fryer one more time.