Finally the show starts for real - last week's episode didn't count, as far as I'm concerned - and we have a mere fifteen competitors. That means the show can be over in what - fourteen more episodes, if there's a two-part, three-contestant finale? That's not so bad. Much better than last season's interminably long 18-episode arc.
So The Fifteen congregate in the new Top Chef Seattle kitchen, this year painted a fetching Healthy Choice green. Before long, Padma comes in with three familiar faces: CJ Jacobsen from season 3; Josie Smith-Malave from season 2; and Stefan Richter, from season 5. Cheftestant Chrissy is quick to point out that Stefan "looks like a thumb," which is entirely true.The three old-timers are judging this Quickfire, which involves creating something delicious from a big pile of Pacific Northwest shellfish, in a mere 20 minutes.
So far so good. And then the twist happens. Not only are Josie, CJ, and Stefan Quickfire judges, but they are also cheftestants. Padma hands them their Top Chef coats and they join the rest of the group, amid hubbub. It's not fair! These three already know what it's like to be on Top Chef! and blah blah murmur murmur. They're pissed off, and I'm pissed off too. Three more cheftestants means another three weeks of competition, bringing the season's total back up to eighteen. FML.
For the Elimination Challenge, the chefs get to cook for Seattle restaurateur extraordinaire, Tom Douglas. They will get 47 minutes to cook. Why such a weird amount of time? Well, they'll be cooking in the kitchen atop the Space Needle, and it takes 47 minutes for that thing to make one revolution. "There's a kitchen up there?" you ask. Yes, a whole restaurant, called Sky City. And the prices are sky high. I suppose they figure that if you've spent $19 to get up there to begin with, you might not be averse to forking over more money for dinner. Maybe the change in altitude will make you light-headed enough to pay $38 for pear and brie agnolotti. Or $56 for lamb chops. And if you think, "oh, I can just make a meal out of a couple of appetizers, or an $11 salad and $9 soup," you're wrong. The minimum charge per person is $35 - it says so right on the menu.
But before the chefs can get cooking, they have to "shop" in the Top Chef pantry, which is loaded with fish and more fish. Team Old Timer decides to do something different and take quail, but every other group grabs fish and spot prawns.
The next day, two teams of chefs at a time prepare their dishes. (There's apparently not enough room for 18 cooks to work at once.) Meanwhile, Padma, Tom, Tom Douglas, Emeril, and Gail Simmons find their seats in the dining room and await the impending 6-course fishtravaganza.
Team Most Hated Chef in Dallas and Team Hen Party go first, and both get very favorable comments about their dishes. After serving the judges, Carla flounces into the kitchen to clean up her station and immediately plunges her hand into her open knife bag, cutting herself. Medics are on hand, and unfortunately, she's not injured badly enough to have to leave the competition.
So...what did you think? Are you ready for more?
Next week: is Thanksgiving. No recap on Turkey day, but hopefully on Friday the 23rd.
Posted on Minxeats.com.