The other chefs pounce on the vast stores in the freezer – with Thumb and OTV nabbing pork. Of course. Lizzie took the pig carcass and proceeded to butcher the body down like a bad ass. OTV was so impressed, I think he was a little bit turned on. Brooke not only went out of the box, she jumped into a different box altogether as she paired up mussels with frog legs. Doc Hopper would be proud – there may be $500 in it for her. One problem – frogs aren’t exactly turf. They’re more swamp. But ok, go for it, Fried Chicken!
OTV decides to try and make his scallops into a pasta. Only he has never done this and isn’t sure how. Uh oh. Stunningly, it doesn’t work. At the last minute he takes the concoction and elects to scramble it up as it looks like scrambled eggs, but will instead taste like, well, scallops. Thumb scoffs a bit, but I like the idea.
Thumb tells us he likes his pork to be crispy and crunchy. That would prove to be fateful. Papa is having buyer’s remorse as he realizes he is not outside the box with this. Brooke is worried about her amphibian. Lizzie as usual, is moving right along with little drama.
The judges and guests file in – Padma, Tom, Monobrow, Stone and three Celebrity Cruise employees. John Surley (head chef), Caissie Stafford (cruise director) and Sheldon Thompson (hotel director). I will be calling them Issac, Julie and Gopher. Because that’s what I do.
Brooke – Mussels and Frog Legs – Mussels and Frog Legs with Celery Root and Fennel Puree, Papadums and Shallot Chutney – She barely finishes plating. I mean, one second left kind of barely. Julie didn’t realize the ship had frog legs. Stone found it to be inventive. Tom liked the flavors and Mono liked the vision. Overall, she gets good reviews for taste and creativity, although Tom found the papadums to be greasy.
Thumb – Pork Belly and Eel – Braised Pork Belly with Beer Sauce, Parsnip and Eel Ravioli – Can’t say it wasn’t inventive. You can say it was partially inedible – the kiss of death on Top Chef. Tom noticed the huge amount of grease in the sauce. Then he almost lost a molar biting into the pork. He called it “not pleasant.” Yikes. Stone loved the crunchy pork – it’s a European thing (and I guess Australian) – it reminded him of his mom’s “cracklings.” Mono jokes about Europeans having either super strong teeth or none at all.
OTV – Scallops and Pork Belly – Scrambled Scallops with Braised Pork Belly and Bacon – Tom has never seen scrambled scallops. Now he has. He felt the pork packed a good punch too. Stone found it to be a pleasant surprise. He was a bit scared, as was OTV, of the concept.
Papa Smurf – Lobster and Filet Mignon – Korean BBQ Filet Mignon, Tempura Lobster, Sesame Cabbage, Kimchi and Teriyaki Sauce – He knows it wasn’t good. Tom liked the presentation, but Mono wonders why everyone thinks tempura is a good idea. Tom points out how the tempura had to sit around and wait for plating. Issac didn’t get the combo. Tom said they were not married proteins, they were not even dating. Julie goes to her area of knowledge – they missed Singles Night.
Lizzie – Pork and Scallops – Cabbage Stuffed with Suckling Pig and Scallops with Mustard Sour Cream. OK, Lizzie did have drama after all. Her steamer was not on properly and thus, her cabbage was not cooked through. She bailed on it to ensure plating. Better undercooked cabbage than nothing at all. She also called them Cabbage Bundles. That’s Plating Vessels’ next album. The bottom line – the judges liked it, but not as much as they would have if it was cooked properly.
Clearly the win is between OTV and Brooke, while Papa Smurf and Thumb are facing the knife. Lizzie is a solid third place. At Judges Table, Brooke reveals her past skills with frogs and gets props for inventive thinking. Papa Smurf blames the ingredients for not singing to him. This ain’t a Disney movie, my friend, despite your past employment! Tom incredulously reminds him that HE chose his own ingredients. Mono gets him for barely imagining the dish, much less re-imagining it. OTV hears that Stone didn’t even want to eat the dish upon seeing it, but he was glad he did. Tom called him the first person to ever scramble scallops. Padma reminds Thumb that he rocked eel in Season 5, but not so much here. It was greasy and Stone tells Thumb he could hear the others chewing the pork. Lizzie gets tepid praise and mild criticism.
Brooke takes the win and a seven-night cruise for two. She mutters, “How ironic.” And it is.
Thumb gets the boot after making 65 Top Chef dishes. You were more likable this time, Stefan, but not nearly as dynamic of a chef.