Top Chef: Holiday Cheer

A holiday themed episode of Top Chef brings serves up a whole bunch of disappointing food for the judges but ultimately teamwork and holiday sportsmanship on the chefs’ part is rewarded. Not to mention, it couldn’t possibly be the holidays without Martha Stewart!

So no one went home! I for sure thought that one person deserved to go home but I could see where it would be hard to send someone home after helping out Hosea and Radhika with their food spoilage crisis. I guess Bravo is evening out the episode count from the first episode’s double elimination? And hey, does anyone think Bravo left the door open to see what the chefs would do? The judges all seemed very familiar with went on behind the scenes…

Frankly, I thought the food each chef prepared for the “one pot wonder” Martha Stewart quickfire challenge looked a thousand times better than the crap they served at the elimination challenge. I mean think about it…we went from filet mignon to deviled eggs, a wonderful paella to a simple piece of smoked pork tenderloin, and in Jamie’s case: a delicious scallop dish to a not-so-delicious scallop dish. How could any of those dishes been a step up?

Of course, making 300 pieces of one dish versus just serving one does create more difficulty (especially when your meat spoils overnight) but I still think that some of the chefs could have done a little better with their concepts.

I mean, I agree with Tom…deviled eggs with different toppings to win an elimination challenge? Ariane’s been doing well but at some point you do have to push yourself and take a risk, ESPECIALLY if you have immunity!

I actually liked Jamie’s concept of a scallop swimming in vichyssoise for the “7 swans a swimming but she had just done scallops, and apparently this time around they were too slimy. If you look at the previews for the next episode, there is something about Jamie serving yet ANOTHER scallop dish and I believe Stefan moans something to the effect of “This is top chef! Not top scallop!” Haha, can’t wait for that.

Melissa was creative by taking her “8 maids a milking” and basing her entire dish around cow products. I thought her sandwich sounded quite good: gorgonzola and NY strip with cranberry sauce on crostini. Unfortunately her overwhelming amount of gorgonzola left her in the bottom 3. I could see where that cheese specifically could be way too overwhelming – I once had a crustless bread sandwich in Argentina  that had WAY too much Gorgonzola on it.  I didn’t even come close to finishing it.

As for the top dishes, Hosea and Jeff raked in the votes but from a viewers’ perspective, I can’t see why. Neither dish sounded particularly amazing but I suppose they must have tasted good (I hope). Jeff’s plate looked like a bit of a mess but maybe the spices blended everything together. It just wasn’t what I think of when I think of an hors’ deurves. It looked like an entire appetizer. Hosea, the winner, had a lot of help in the kitchen and I do find it quite interesting that both dishes that had all that help were in the top. Clearly, they didn’t make their dish themselves whereas the other chefs flew solo.

In the end, the bottom 3 (Jamie, Melissa, and Gene) were let off the hook. I personally thought Gene was going home for his attitude about his mediocre poisson cru, but maybe that will happen next episode. Jamie still hasn’t won a challenge but comes out on top a lot and Melissa is sort of skating on thin ice and could also be sent home any minute. Only time will tell.

Tune in for more holidays with Top Chef next Wednesday night when contestants from past seasons compete in another holiday challenge.



Official Episode Title: 12 Days of Christmas

Challenges: Quickfire - Create a one pot wonder for the holidays (judged by Martha Stewart)

Elimination – Create a dish inspired by one of the 12 days of Christmas from the official “12 Days of Christmas” song. Dish will be served to 300 guests, hors’ deurves style.

Winner: Hosea Eliminated: No one!

Chefs Remaining: Ariane, Carla, Fabio, Gene, Hosea, Jamie, Jeff, Leah, Melissa, Radhika, Stefan

Next episode: New regular judge comes in and chefs have no limits on what they can cook (This episode will not air next two weeks due to holidays).

For a list of ALL the Top Chef episode recaps on Chew on That blog, click here.

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    I love this show. So much drama and the best part I love is the cooking. I’m no big time cook but I love to learn new ways to cook. Thanks for the article. Cheers

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