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.
EPISODE 10 RECAP:
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 BravoTv.com.