Top Chef: ‘Super’ Frustrating


It’s time for the Super Bowl and even Top Chef knows it! A clever “football squares”-themed quickfire and a head-to-head chef showdown  against past season contestants really brought out the sports in cooking. But I have a confession to make: I think I’m getting sucked into the drama of this show and not completely focusing on the food. I was incredibly frustrated about who wound up on the chopping block this episode because  I can’t stand most of the people who were safe from elimination.

It was as if someone read  my predictions after last week and intentionally planned the episode so I would be flat out wrong. I said I thought the top 3 in the finale would be Stefan, Jamie and Fabio or Jeff. And who was up for elimination? Stefan, Fabio and Jeff! Oy…can’t Hosea or Leah go home already?! They bother me to no end. Ok, rant over. I think.

Before we talk about this season’s contestants and how they did, let’s briefly beef on who they brought back to compete:


Spike – season 4, solid choice, I believe he was the 5th to last competitor
Andrew – season 4, loved him!
Nikki – season 4, the infamous pasta maker by trade
Andrea – season 1, nkown as the veggie chef, second to get kicked off but she kicked Stefan’s butt!
Josie – season 2,
Miguel – season1, 6th to last…held his own mostly
Camille – season 3, don’t even remember her!

So in the end, Andrea beat Stefan in Dallas food. Josie beat Jeff in Miami food, and Spike beat Fabio in Milwaukee food. That’s how we got to who was up for the chopping block. But my question is, what would have happened had all the season 5 contestants won?


Even though I’m not happy with who did perform well in this episode, I suppose their food does warrant some credit. Leah’s New York steak dish did look quite appetizing I’ll admit. But I just hate how she always says she’ll just keep it simple and doesn’t ever seem to stretch her own imagination, let alone ours. Hosea, did however make a very interesting salmon roll so I will give him credit for that, begrudgingly.


But speaking of stretching imagination, it seemed like just about everyone went with the same strategy in the Quaker Oats quickfire – to encrust something in oats. Not many of the remaining chefs stepped outside that box, except Stefan who made an oat mousse and oat cookie, and Carla who used oats in a sort of pilaf beneath her tofu.

And in the end, Carla’s authentic gumbo won it all. A frustrated Stefan reacted with a “Are you f-ing kidding me?” but there’s no changing the judge’s decision. I’ll be honest – I thought they were going to pick Hosea, the only chef who earned all 10 points based on judge and fan selections.

But the thing that frustrates me about this challenge is that the season 5 dishes didn’t go head to head and they usually would. Of course Hosea’s salmon roll was better than Miguel’s cedar plank salmon, but would it have been better than Jeff’s rock shrimp ceviche? You just don’t know!

And poor Jeff…he got kicked off for something he thought he did well. Not to mention, despite his lack of ability to edit, I thought all his components looked fitting this time. I never thought he’d win it all but I at least thought he’d make it farther than some of the others.

I think the moral of this episode was that the contestants I want to end up in the finale don’t really have it in the bag. Hosea, Leah or even Carla with her recent win might sneak in there somewhere and I guess there is just nothing I can do about it.



Official Episode Title:  Super Bowl Chef Showdown

Guest Judge: Scott Conant of Scarpetta Restaurant

Challenges: Quickfire - Quaker Oats challenge: Create a dish using oats and your assigned food group in

Elimination – Top Chef Bowl!

Winner: Carla Eliminated: Jeff

Chefs Remaining:  Carla, Fabio, Hosea, Jamie, Leah, and Stefan

Next episode: Eric Ripert makes his come back and chefs have to battle with live eel.

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

Photos courtesy of

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  • Kim of Stirring the Pot

    I totally agree. This used to be my favorite show on TV and I have to admit that I am not enjoying this season. It’s like Bravo has realized the popularity of the show and let companies buy their air time by advertising special products every week. Last week it was something else and this week it was Quaker Oats. Can they just cook good food without having to use the “advertised ingredient”? If this show continues to be one big hour-long commercial then I don’t think I’ll want to watch it anymore.

  • bryanD

    I liked this episode. It was sad about Jeff but as long as Stefan and Jamie are in the finals, it’s all good. And Jeff was bound and determined to present Lean Cuisine and call it Good. Of course, Fabio should have gone instead, but…Jeff WAS asking for it by continually sucking the juice out of every protein dish he could lay his mitts on. Fabio’s IDEAS were always better, but he’ll be gone soon anyway, so it’s a wash and the episode was quite diverting with no mortal wound to a good outcome, meaning Stefan vs. Jamie vs. X.
    Nice guy, Jeff, though. Some say he verbally insulted Collichio’s “simple food” style earlier in the season, according to latest SDoux comments conspiracy theory.

  • MeetPeople

    Haha fantastic win!

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