We're coming in at the tail end of season 10 of Top Chef. I apologize if you haven't been watching, but I'm not gonna give a synopsis of all 11 previous episodes. Sorry. Last week my blood boiled with rage as Toothsie (Josie) managed to hang on by the skin of her teeth and send the best chef on the show, Kristen, "home". Kristen ended reigning Last Chance Kitchen champ, CJ's, king-of-the-hill streak of 6 wins. Oh and Sheldon won Restaurant Wars. Not that anyone remembers that little fact over the fact that Toothsie stayed while Kristen left.
We open with the chefs waking up and talking amongst themselves how much bullshit it is that Toothsie is still in the competition. Sheldon is excited about the car he just won in the last challenge. I like him, but at the same time I don't. He seems to only cook his native Hawaiian or Filipino food.
Toothsie says she feels "heavy" this morning. Is that her way of saying she feels fat? Or does the guilt sit in on her that she took a better chef's spot? I'll say both.
Quickfire. The chefs walk in to find Katsuya Uechi, who's apparently a master sushi chef. I'm not into sushi. I don't like cooked fish, let alone raw fish. And the taste of seaweed causes my mouth to go on a formal protest, with signs and everything. It's a mess. They're told they have to make sushi that's impressive. Katsuya says sushi is all about simplicity. It's rice, and fish. He doesn't want them using too many ingredients. Hmm...somehow I don't think they'll listen. These chefs tend to like to throw as many ingredients in a dish as they can. Immunity is off the table forever now, but the winner gets $5,000. Remember how in the first several seasons they didn't get those kinds of bonuses? It was all just about winning? Hmm..
This reminds me of a very strange looking pumpkin.
Brooke tells us she and her husband have sushi like 3 times a week. And when Stache (Josh) asks her if she's made it before, she scoffs out an, "of course." Stache reminds us again that he's from Oklahoma, and they don't eat a lot of it there. Plus, sushi isn't his favorite thing to eat...not something like bacon. This dude interviews in a shirt that says bacon on it, literally every time. We get it. The pig is your lover.
He's making some sort of breakfast sushi. That seems like a bad idea. Stefan tells us it's a bad idea. He also says he has writers block and reminds us, again, that he hasn't won anything yet. Toothsie is a sushi fan. She says she has parties where they serve sushi on naked women, "and it's kind of fun!" Would feminists find that degrading? I think so. Perhaps the lesbian community doesn't care? Oh, also, Toothsie is using bacon as well. Maybe it's my lack of bacon love (yes I know I'm a freak), but I don't really think you're supposed to put bacon in sushi.
Running around, frantic cooking and plating. Time's up, utensil's down.
Tasting time. Katsuya asks his questions. Lizzie doesn't really make sushi, she makes more of a sushi inspired soup dish? It was weird. Katsuya is NOT a fan of Stache's breakfast roll. We even get some playful music in the background to let us know that it's all ridiculousness on his plate.
Bottom dishes are Lizzie, Stache gets reemed for the greasiness of the bacon. Brooke gets a top vote as well as Stefan. And the winner is?
Can he stop complaining now? He tells us it only took him 27 challenges to get a win. Shouldn't that maybe tell you something? $5,000 for Stefan.
Elimination challenge. Chef Tommy C walks in with a guy named David Chang, who's a big deal in LA I guess for his Monofuku noodle bar. No idea who he is. He looks like a teddy bear frat boy kind of guy. Tommy C tells the chefs that while they're in Seattle he rented a house to live in. Fancy! He also says there's an assortment of great chefs flying in for dinner. Again, fancy. If I could fly places just to have dinner, my passport would be overflowing with stamps. Oh and the chefs are the ones cooking dinner. And Tommy C says he's in the mood for fried chicken. So they all have to make fried chicken. Stache tells us he's trying to hide his excitement but he's overflowing with joy that this is his challenge. David Chang says everyone love fried chicken; that's it's super simple but incredibly complex to make. Winner of this challenge gets a years supply of a fancy sponsored wine.
Stache says his grandfather made the best fried chicken so he's trying to pay homage to him. He's pumping the chicken full of brine, with a very scary looking syringe.
I have to say, I haven't seen/heard that be done. He says it helps keeps the chicken moist while you fry it.
Toothsie lists off some spices she's going to use for her batter. She's from Miami, so it's in her blood to make southern fried chicken. Stache questions her about whether or not Miami is actually southern. I have to agree. Miami doesn't really count as the deep south, despite it being as south as you can get in this country.
Brooke is only using breasts for her meat. She's being accused of not really doing fried chicken. She calls it a chicken pallard. She's gonna fry the skin and add it to the batter. Stache says he's gonna break up with Brooke for making a bastardized version of fried chicken. I didn't realize they were friendly.
We get product placement of the cars. Toothsie asks how you say "Kiss my ass" in German to Stefan. Stefan has her repeat after him, and then tells her she just said, "I'm going home next". Of Stefan you jokester!
They get to the house, and madness! Toothsie gives us a rundown of what could help her to her first elimination challenge win. Keep in mind we're on episode 12. And this is her second time on the show. She has yet to win at all. Shouldn't that mean she should've been gone already? I'm pretty sure it does. WHY IS SHE HERE!?
Lizzie tells us she's not one that grew up with fried chicken, because she grew up in South Africa. So she's making a version of it that she's familiar with, and serving it with a picked peach slaw. I'm not a big fan of pickling things, but go with God I guess, Lizzie.
Stefan is making...cordon bleu. What?? He says this is how Europeans eat fried chicken (keep this in mind). Again Stefan? You're gonna not actually really do the challenge? When is this finally going to bite you in the ass?
The chefs all arrive. David Chang says if you don't like fried chicken, he doesn't know if he can trust you. I like fried chicken. I have no idea how you make it. But I like it. The chefs are all extremely jovial together. I feel like they don't take it nearly as seriously as they used to. The wine is flowing in great amounts and there are a ton of bottles of it on the table behind them. All this talk of fried chicken is really making me want to eat some.
Some fryer issues. One of Toothsie's isn't hot enough, and one of Sheldon's is too hot. So he looses some of the pieces to serve because when it's too hot, the outside is cooked, but the inside is raw.
"My time is running out." Guess who said it. TOOTHSIE! She never can serve anything on time which is why she sucks. We get some more judges from some place in LA. They seem decent. Michelle Bernstein is also though, and she apparently was on the panel that sent Toothsie home the last time. Can we get a repeat!? I'm begging you. Please!
First round of chicken:
Lizzie first. The chefs all seem to love it, but Tommy says he doesn't think she really gets the idea of fried chicken. The other chefs from LA are shocked that they were given whole chickens and she only used the breasts. He thinks it's wrong not to include the wings and thighs.They are big fans of the salad.
Toothsie gets accused of not really being deep south by serving her food on a banana leaf. One of the judges says they'd run her out and up to New England. Uh, ok. The consensus is that it's all just too greasy. There's a ton of it left on the banana leaf. Michelle says, "I had to put it down. I just...I can't." She genuinely looked offended by the chicken.
Sheldon is next. Everyone is pretty ranting and raving about how great it is. There's some arguments about who got what amount of pieces and what type of piece they got. They're a bit disappointed that there wasn't really enough of everything on his plate for everyone to taste it.
Brooke's chicken is done 15 minutes too early. So she puts them in the oven and then re-fries them. That seems like a bad idea. Stache thinks Stefan's "fried chicken" doesn't count as real fried chicken.
Apparently the other two chefs from LA had at one time applied for jobs with Brooke at one of her restaurants. Badma (Padma) asks Brooke if she remembers them. She clearly doesn't. They didn't get the job. That would be super embarrassing. They have done well for themselves since then, so no big deal.
More wine. They taste Brooke's first and they notice there's no bones. Oh! Everyone listen in! Wolfgang is gonna be funny.
Wolfgang:"What is this show called?"
Badma: "Top Chef."
Wolfgang: *holding up a piece of Brooke's chicken "I wouldn't even call it the Apprentice."
Much laughter and shock. Tommy C says it's just really unfortunate that this is what she came up with. The guys from Son of a Gun (the ones who interviewed with her) say they're glad they didn't get the job.
Stache gets praised for smoking his chicken before frying it. Tommy C says he's never had it that way but he really enjoys it. That seems odd to me that he's never had it before. It seems like a simple enough concept. But then again, how would I really know any better?
Stefan gave LaGasse the blues with his chicken corden bleu. Guy B from Son of a Gun is shocked that Stefan, on his second time around, would give them chicken corden bleu. No one was really a fan.
Apparently the judges got too smashed on their wine, so they have to wait until the next morning for judges table. Stefan and Brooke discuss whether or not their in trouble for not doing a traditional fried chicken.
We get a little moment with Stefan where he tells us his mom/step mom (it's not quite clear) has been dealing with Parkinson's Disease for the last 18 years and that the last time he was on the show she was so proud of him. So now that he's back (again for reasons no one but the producers will know) he wants to win the whole thing. It's touching and sweet and so against Stefan's character. This could be the kiss of death. Anytime contestants on any show go into a little personal moment, they're usually the ones going home.
Toothie kind of fishes for compliments by saying how good everyone's food was and asking everyone if they tasted her chicken. They all apease her and tell her it was delicious.
Stache, Lizzie and Sheldon all get called up first. They're the top dishes. Lizzie seems genuinely surprised to be there.
They compliment Lizzie on her take on fried chicken. She apologizes and says she's not really familiar with American fried chicken. Badma says, "that's fair". And honestly, I think it is. I've never been there, but I have to imagine that there's not a lot of KFC's in South Africa. Oh and Tommy C throws out that her salad was really good.
Stache gets praise for smoking the chicken. He goes into the grandpa story. They love it.
Sheldon gets a little smack on the wrist for not having enough of what was on the plate. Wolfgang jokes that he thought that Top Chef had run out of money and couldn't afford to give them enough chicken. Oh Wolfie.
Someone's going to be drinking wine a lot! 365 bottles is a lot. Then again, I'm not a drinker, so maybe it's not? It feels like a lot.
The rest are in the bottom. Stefan, Toothsie, and Brooke walk to their death. Tommy C takes out a chainsaw and murders them all! Just kidding. Brooke admits the challenge was hard for her and she didn't do well. She blames that time was a factor, that she got into her own head and she never really knew where she was going. Tommy C tells her she should've left the bone in and just over thought everything.
Toothsie blames the fryer not working so she didn't get to serve the pieces she wanted, and that it went right from the fryer to the plate. She didn't have enough time. How does Tommy C feel about this excuse for the millionth time?
Not a fan. You're not the only one Tommy C. We all have a migraine from her laughter and heehaw noises. He calls her out for running out of time all the time. He says an hour is perfectly enough time to fry chicken. She starts to say "I was wasting time on..." and he cuts her off with, "Exactly, you're wasting time." BOOM! Shen then goes on to say that everyone told her how delicious is was. Tommy C comes back with, "Well I guess, Padma, Wolfgang, Emril, David, me, we don't know what we're talking about." BOOM TWICE! Owned. Go Tommy C!!
Stefan tries to say that in Europe they don't have fried chicken. Tommy C is just on a role. He looks over and Wolfgang and says, "Where did you grow up?" Austria. Stefan, you're done. They tell him chicken cordon bleu is something you get in banquets. That it wasn't even a good version of what he wanted. He gets called out for not sticking to the challenge. Badma, still a little drunk maybe, as they're all walking back to the stew room says, "Such a bullshitter!" Wow! She's just all kinds of sass.
Deliberations. Repetitions. Badma tries to stick up for Toothsie saying at least she made actual fried chicken and that it was flavorful. She gets smacked down. That's right! Shut up, bi-atch! She's got some more sass, mocking Stefan for saying he doesn't really know what fried chicken is. "Oh jeez, really?" What a skanky bitch. What happened to her!? She used to be so quiet and host like. Now she's just snarky, and not in the good way. If anyone but Toothsie goes home, I smell collusion!
Person going home is...
AND THE TRUMPET SOUNDED AS THE ANGELS MADE A STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN!!! Hallelujah! Thank you! Get this nasty chichlet toothed beast off of my computer. Stefan goes to give her a hug and she just kind of gives him a high five instead? What?
Stache tells us how great it is that The Josie Show is over because now it will be quiet, and they won't have to listen to her laugh. You and me both, Stache.
On Last Chance Kitchen, Kristen is pumped to take the bitch down who got her kicked out of the competition. They have to take a whole salmon, and break it down into 10 similar sized portions and make a dish. They get 30 minutes. They both kind of suck at breaking down the fish, according to Tommy C. Kristen pickles some pineapple. Toothsie tells the other chefs that she's making salmon when they ask her about her dish. So deep, this one. Time's up. They present to Tommy C. And then the other chefs (for the first time) get to swarm in on the table and devour the other plates that were prepared. You'd think these guys weren't being fed or something.
And the winner is...Kristen! That has to feel awesome to kick her ass. If Kristen isn't the one to get brought back onto the show and win, I'll be very surprised. Otherwise, they're proving that LCK doesn't serve much of a purpose. It did nothing to help Beverly win last season. So, that's my prediction.