Thursday, January 31, 2013

ATC Love to Chef Stefan Richter

Chef Richter wanted desperately to get to the finale as he had during his first run on Top Chef. Alas, he came up short of his dream thanks to some really overcooked pork skin. While guest judge Curtis Stone could appreciate this European approach to the protein, Tom and the other judges would have none of it. Also, his ravioli with eel and parsnip filling had too much parsnip and not enough of the critical surf ingredient. It seemed like Chef Richter did not come on quite as strongly this season as he had in the past, and therefore his early elimination was not a total surprise.

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Congratulations Chef Brooke Williamson!

Chef Williamson has show remarkable flexibility and tenaciousness throughout the competition. This time, she pulled out a win by stretching the boundaries of what surf and turf could be by using mussels and frogs legs. Not only was the dish executed well, but her plating earned her high marks, sticking with the spirit of the restaurant in which she was cooking. As she moves onto Juneau as one of the final four, Chef Williamson is well positioned to take home the top prize.

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Reactions to Top Chef Seattle Episode 13

It's north to Alaska for the cheftestants as the Final Five board the Celebrity cruise ship Infinity for a trip to the 49th state. Along for the ride is Top Chef Masters host Curtis Stone. He and Padma meet the chefs in the cruise ship kitchen where they introduce the Quickfire Challenge. This time, they must make a one-bite item showcasing the highlights of iceberg lettuce. They have 2 hours, but they must make enough for 200 guests. After everyone served their dishes on deck, Sheldon was named the winner for his complex lettuce wrap.

That evening, the chefs sample the inventive dishes at the ship's restaurant, Qsine. Then Padma and Curtis spoil the fun by announcing that, for the elimination challenge, they must provide the next night's dinner service, making their takes on the classic surf and turf. Since Sheldon won the Quickfire, he got first choice of proteins. He played it safe with filet mignon and lobster. Brooke, on the other hand, stretched the definition of surf and turf by choosing mussels and frogs legs. For her inventiveness, she got the win. Meanwhile, Stefan cooked the skin of his pork belly to a crunchy consistency, and buried his eel in parsnips for his ravioli filling. For these transgressions, he was not allowed to move forward.

What did you think of last night's episode? Leave your comments below.

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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Recap Roundup - Top Chef Seattle Episode 12

A Just Recompense on warming the fish: "Josie gives a mini-lecture about the dangers of touching fish while making sushi since it warms the temperature. I don’t know if that’s a real thing or not – maybe that’s what Katsuya was talking about when he warned them not to touch too much – but I don’t feel like being lectured by Josie about anything. That’s what happens, producers, when you keep someone on past their prime. You teed her up for us, so I’m gonna take the swing. She’s making New England clam chowder. Hey, that’s what she said, it’s inspired by clam chowder,with bacon and yuzu vinaigrette. Halibut, bacon, yuzu, what kind of clam chowder is this? 'I love sushi, I’ve gone so far as to have sushi parties where we served sushi on naked women.' Talk about warming the fish."

Minxeats on blotto: "The cheffy guests arrive and sit themselves at a long table in the back yard. Padma is already stoned out of her gourd. She calls Tom, 'Tommy,' and suggests that Emeril and Wolfie are a 'power couple,' just because one of them pulled the chair out for the other. The wine is flowing pretty freely through the whole dinner, as this is the Terlato wine challenge. The lucky winner of the fried chicken battle gets a year's worth of Terlato wines. That's 365 bottles, according to Padma. Maybe she can drink that much wine in a month year, but 12 bottles would probably be sufficient for me."

Grub Street on product placement: "The judges have said 'fried chicken' at least 200 times this episode, by the way. I wonder if Healthy Choice is offended? Or perhaps this is all a way of ramping up to the introduction of Healthy Choice Fried-Chicken-Flavored Yogurt with Real Bones in the Bottom?"

Hit Fix on bacon everywhere: "Snidely Josh doesn't know a lot about sushi, as he doesn't crave it the way he craves bacon. So, he's making sushi with bacon. Stefan thinks he would have his fingers cut off in Tokyo. But Stefan is having chef's block."

Eater on foreign languages: "Everyone is very confident in their fried chicken recipes, in a way that all Italians swear by their own family's meatballs. Josie says to Stefan, 'How do you say "kiss my ass" in German?" He tells her, and she repeats it. He says, 'You just said, "I'm going home next."' Josie, don't you know that anything you say in German comes true?"

Mary Alice from Charm City Cakes for the Baltimore Sun on chicken: "Jon admonishes Josie for pitching her dish as 'Southern Style' when it's served on a banana leaf. Jon says in the South she would have been run out of town for such behavior. Michelle Bernstein, who was guest judge the last time Josie was sent home, couldn't bring herself to continue eating Josie's chicken: 'I had to put it down. I just ... I can't.'"

Allie is Wired on bullshit: "They move on to Stefan who defends that he doesn’t have a degree in Fried Chicken 101 because he didn’t grow up in America. Tom immediately points out that Wolfgang grew up in Austria and doesn’t have a problem whipping up a batch. Stefan then jumps to the defense that he wanted to put a twist on the concept. Padma isn’t buying it and asks how Chicken Cordon Bleu is a twist. He shuts up at that point as Padma notes he is a 'such a bullshitter.'" Posted on

Friday, January 25, 2013

All Top Chef Interview with Josie Smith-Malave

Top Chef Seattle contestant, Josie Smith-Malave talks about her experience on the show.

A highlight:  

ATC:   What have you been doing since we saw you in season 2?

JSM:  I've been building an empire.  Right now we have a pop-up location in San Francisco.  I have teamed up with a music venue called Thee Parkside.    It's called Global Soul Corner, we have just extended our lease.

I have also teamed up with some people to do a popsicle business.  We have some really inventive popsicle flavors.  We are working out the details to expand.

I'm also working on a couple of cooking shows.

I have been traveling the world...eating...learning about other cultures, not just food.  I have really had the chance to grow as a person and really to hone my future.

ATC:  What is the most intriguing flavor of popsicle that you have invented?

JSM:  I call it the dirty chocolate cake.  It's like a fudgsicle with a hint of chiles and of course, bacon...

Click here for the full interview.

Click here to visit Josie's website.

Thank you Chef Josie!

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

ATC Love to Chef Josie Smith-Malave

This season, Chef Josie Smith-Malave was a controversial character, both among her fellow cheftestants and in the blogiverse. But she battled hard in this, her second try at the Top Chef title, even winning a Quickfire Challenge early on. Alas, the big win was not to be for Chef Josie, and she was sent home for improperly cooked - albeit flavorful - fried chicken, something she thought she had in the bag.

There's still Last Chance Kitchen and Save-a-Chef, so we may be seeing Chef Josie yet again this season!

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Congratulations, Chef Joshua Valentine!

It took twelve challenges and several failed attempts at pork dishes before Chef Joshua Valentine won an Elimination Challenge, but he won big this week, for his fried chicken dish wowed not only Padma and Tom, but other big chef guns like Emeril Lagasse, Wolfgang Puck, David Chang, Vinnie Dotolo, and John Shook.

Congrats, Chef Josh - you are one of the final five and are headed on a cruise to Alaska. Good luck and don't get seasick!

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Reactions to Top Chef Seattle Episode 12

This week's episode was much more palatable than last week's. Also less dramatic.

The Quickfire Challenge featured renowned sushi master Katsuya Ueshi, who required that the cheftestants make delicious sushi for him. Quite an undertaking, and not everyone turned out a pleasing dish. Josh used bacon in his sushi, which Katsuya found to be too greasy. Stefan, however, is an old hand at raw fish preparation and stole the show with his yellowtail and shiitakes. Unfortunately, there's no more immunity, so he had to settle for five grand in prize money instead.

Out went Katsuya and in came Tom Colicchio with Momofuku's David Chang. Tom has rented a house in Seattle and has invited a bunch of cronies to hang with him while he's being bored on Top Chef. He wants the cheftestants to cater a little dinner party for his guests and the main dish must be fried chicken.

Not everyone is familiar with classic American fried chicken, at least that's what Lizzie claims. Stefan also suggests that they don't eat fried chicken in Europe. The excuse worked for Lizzie, whose chicken dish got her into the top three, but failed for Stefan, who was on the bottom for his lame chicken cordon bleu. Brooke also failed miserably, as did Josie, who really thought she had this challenge in the bag. Instead, Josh made the best fried chicken of the bunch, inspired by his grandfather's paper-bag-floured bird. And finally, we see the end of Josie.

Unless she wins Last Chance Kitchen or Save-a-Chef. Hey - it can happen.

So what did you think about this episode? Fear for Brooke's cooking life? Please leave a comment.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Recap Roundup - Top Chef Seattle Episode 11

A Just Recompense on Josie: "Back in the Stew Room, Josie says something about being an easy target. Oh, don’t go looking for sympathy. Yes, you’re an easy target because you’ve shown grand incompetence throughout. You’re the reason I’m hoping Kuniko continues to hold on via Save-A-Chef. Now you’re the reason Kristen’s going to Last Chance Kitchen to run into the buzzsaw that is CJ. You’ve served raw turkey, you’ve been unable to keep up with live service twice, and now you’re unable to roast bones when that’s all you have to do. Lizzie got her bones roasted, what’s your excuse? Don’t you dare play the 'pity me' card. Look at Kristen: that’s how someone with class handles it."

Minxeats on Kristen's sins: "Sheldon's team goes back to stew, and Kristen and Josie are read the riot act over the bouillabaisse. Rather than throwing Josie under the bus for her slow-poke sauce-making, Kristen falls on her sword. It's her fault that someone else's dish tasted like shit, and also that she called two dishes something they weren't. TWO DISHES. That's practically grounds for beheading in Top Chefland. And rather than kicking off someone who has barely been hanging on for the run of the show, the judges send Kristen home. Stefan is verklempt, and he tells her he loves her."

Eater on Stefan and the judges: "He makes them all feel stupid and it is kind of amazing how offended they all are. I understand he did a bad thing here, and no one likes to be made to feel dumb by their server, but it seems to me that part of their shock is because these five judges, when they are in a restaurant, never get made to feel like anybody but somebody famous and important. I am almost impressed that Stefan had the gall to treat them exactly like how anybody dining out in New York feels often. Tom says that people go to restaurants for food and they return for hospitality. 'I don't know if I'd return to this restaurant.' Padma has maybe never been treated this way in her life and she loses her mind. 'He should go home for the service he gave me!' and she shrieks it like the way a spoiled medieval prince would demand a beggar child's hands be cut off for touching the prince's cape."

HitFix on bravery: "Oh my Lord, Sheldon is putting balut on his menu? If you're not familiar with them, these are fertilized duck embryos. There are beaks and feathers and, well, they're a little extreme for the American see-no-eyeballs, eat-no-beaks mentality. Fortunately, Sheldon is putting a modern twist on this. I'm assuming this means no baby bird beaks."

Grub Street on the undoing of Atelier Kwan: "Speaking of loathing: It turns out that Josie’s stock isn’t ready when Kristen expected it; the wheels are starting to fall off Atelier Kwan. Josie offers a bunch of mumbo jumbo about patience and layering broth and whatnot. I’ve heard enough from this delinquent debutante — I want to shake the screen: 'Josie! Just have shit done by the time you say it’ll be done!' Josie hasn’t even added the gelatin to the boullebase(?)! Kristen, barely keeping the top of her head attached, tells Josie to use cream and soy milk instead. I’m not sure what’s more of a turn-off: The fact that they were planning to use gelatin in their sauce, or the fact that they’re replacing it with soy milk. When did French cooking lose its way? Are they really putting pudding pops in their beef sauces these days?"

Allie is Wired on conspiracy? "Back at the digs, Josie smokes a cigarette with Stefan and Josh as she reveals Kristen wants to cook everything to order. She laughs smugly as she knows she is painfully slow. The boys also smile smugly knowing that Josie will be the death of Kristen’s vision."

Mary Alice from Charm City Cakes for the Baltimore Sun on hmmm: "Game day: Prep commences and the chefs really have their work cut out for them. Brooke will be taking on front of house for the girls' team, as she and her husband 'have opened four restaurants.' Which makes me wonder: All these chefs are constantly touting how many restaurants they've opened, but they never actually mention of any of them are still open."

Entertainment Weekly makes a good point: "osh made a more presentable version of it by using a normal unfertilized egg and putting duck confit and foie gras mousse inside of it. Tom said it didn't taste Filipino or remotely like balut, but it still tasted good. Didn't Kristen get reamed for making a beef Bourguignon that tasted good but didn't match the standard definition of Bourguignon? Didn't Gail 'expect' balut but get something different? Lines are being blurred. Maybe the judges were just so relieved not to be eating real balut."

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Friday, January 18, 2013

All Top Chef Interview with Kristen Kish

Top Chef Seattle contestant, Kristen Kish talks about her experience on the show.

A highlight:

ATC:  The viewers certainly saw that Josie was slow and you had to make concessions for her lack of expertise, but the judges didn't see any of that.

KK:  Right, and that's okay.  I mean that is part of my job, to communicate and to get my point of view across.  I just didn't want to stand up there and fight.  It would have been a losing battle anyway.

ATC:  You showed a lot of integrity.

KK:  I hope so.

ATC:  Knowing that you beat CJ in Last Chance Kitchen gives us all hope that we will see you again in the finale.

KK:  Thank you, I hope so too.

Click here for the full interview.

Click here to learn more about Stir.

Thank you Chef Kristen.

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Thursday, January 17, 2013

ATC Love to Chef Kristen Kish

Well, this was a bit of a bombshell. As we've learned from past Restaurant Wars, however, great chefs can often be taken out of the competition if they are the leaders of a losing restaurant. In this case, it looks like Chef Kish was undone by the complexity of her dishes and the numerous tasks she chose to take on herself. While many will blame Josie for her elimination and think that Josie should have been the one sent packing, Chef Kish took responsibility for the dishes that the judges were served as any good chef should.

Based on her previous wins, Chef Kish is obviously someone with considerable talent, and there is a good chance we may see her again before this competition is over.

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Congratulations Chef Sheldon Simeon!

Although Team Sheldon was down one man due to Chef Micah's elimination last week, this may have actually been an advantage for Chef Simeon. Only he could execute his Filipino dishes the way he wanted them to be, and necessity forced him to make most of them. Chef Simeon's concept for elevated Filipino food seems to be a great idea too long in coming.

With his cool demeanor among numerous forceful personalities, Chef Simeon has sometimes been overlooked. As we come down the stretch, however, his stock is rising and showing that he can be a contender in this competition.

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Reactions to Top Chef Seattle Episode 11

It's the boys against the girls for Restaurant Wars this year! With Chef Micah eliminated, the men are short staffed, but you know what they say about too many chefs in the kitchen.

The two teams had 48 hours to put a restaurant together. Team Kristen went with her concept of traditional French cuisine with a twist called Atelier Kwan. Team Sheldon followed his Filipino roots with Urbano. The restaurants were assembled at the Georgetown Ballroom. Without a proper kitchen, the chefs had to build their own kitchens in the courtyard. They had one day to buy supplies and prep. The next day, they opened a restaurant.

With Brooke's extensive experience, she was chosen to run the front of Atelier Kwan. For similar reasons, Stefan was running the front of Urbano. While Brooke was the model of hospitality, Stefan's cold, blunt nature shone through, sometimes not even explaining the dishes to the judges. In the kitchens, Sheldon and Joshua kept their cool and ran a smooth service, while Josie once again had time issues with her broth and Kristen became overwhelmed by trying to manage too much. In the end, it came down to good food and bad service at Urbano, good service but questionable food at Atelier Kwan.

At Judges' Table, Stefan was spared the ax because of Sheldon's exceptional food. Urbano won and Sheldon was given a Toyota Avalon. As for Atelier Kwan, the choice was between Josie's poor broth or Kristen's mismanagement of the dishes. Ultimately, Kristen had to take the fall for her concepts and execution.

What did you think of last night's episode? Leave your comments below.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Recap Roundup - Top Chef Seattle Episode 10

Minxeats on  Sheldon's Big Day: "The next day happens to be Sheldon's 30th birthday, and we find out that he's already cranked out three daughters. He's hoping to get his hands on one of those bonus 10K prizes that come with winning this challenge, because he's already got too many mouths to feed back in Hawaii, and that Spam shit is getting expensive. And he might need a new hat. But you know - birthday curse. Of course, Stefan celebrated his 40th birthday a few weeks back and he's still around. Even if he hasn't done squat as far as cooking winning dishes is concerned."

Grub Street on Josie: "The judges show up, hungry for concepts. Josie’s croquettes aren’t done yet! She’s struggling — you can tell because she’s laughing and making a spectacle of herself like she did at the berry farm. Brooke says it’s 'almost hard to watch.' Josie is not good at food-timing. Speaking of food, and time, and a couple of adorable croquettes, Danny Meyer and Tom reminisce about when they met 25 years ago."

Hit Fix on opening shots: "So, Dallas John is gone and that leaves the title of resident jerk to Stefan. I actually like Stefan in all his sexist crankiness (I ate at Stefan's at L.A. Farm and have to say the food was wonderful, so I'm biased). Of course, Stefan misses Dallas John. He was his morning friend! I like the idea that Stefan has friends assigned to certain times of day. Perhaps that's as long as he can stand someone."

Eater on eww: "The chefs scramble around markets as they brainstorm and shop for their restaurants. Sheldon is going to cook modern Filipino food inspired by his grandfather. I imagine somewhere Sheldon's grandfather is watching this episode and smiling, right up until Sheldon says, 'I had to change my underwear a few times.' The grandfather is no longer smiling. Sheldon is talking about being nervous, and I get that he's kidding, but 'a few times'? That is so specific. That means you filled your underwear up with waste, cleaned up, changed, and then repeated that like two more times. After the second time I would have gone to the hospital because I don't think it's your nerves, buddy."

A Just Recompense on collisions: "Josie runs across the kitchen and Josh tackles her. I think it was even an accident. 'If you want a hug, just ask,' he says; 'I was a professional football player, I can take a few hits.' If she weren’t a former professional football player, and if Josh weren’t a big guy, they’d both be on the floor, so I guess they’re even."

Mary Alice from Charm City Cakes for the Baltimore Sun on oops! "Brian Canlis, who judged an earlier episode this season, is complimenting Stefan’s broth when Stefan hits the blender’s go button a bit too soon, spraying Brian, his female companion, and everyone else within a 4 foot radius with hot liquid magma. 'Oh, s---!' Stefan exclaims. Brian laughs heartily, clearly having had enough drinks to not care that his cardigan and face are now drenched in Thai lobster bisque."

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Friday, January 11, 2013

All Top Chef Interview with Micah Fields

Top Chef Seattle contestant, Micah Fields, talks about his experience on the show.

A highlight:

ATC: Are you still working at The Standard in Los Angeles? 

 MF: Yes I am. 

 ATC: I have been there! Is it still yellow? 

 MF: Yes it is. 

 ATC: What is the most popular item on the menu? 

 MF: We actually just changed the dinner menu...we have a lamb rib...our ravioli changes on a daily basis...We also have a "burger of the week" that is very popular. I have been there for about two years, so that is a hundred different burgers. It's been popular and also very fun.

Click here for the full interview.

Click here to learn more about Micah's restaurant 24/7 at The Standard Hotel in Downtown L.A.

Click here to "Save a Chef."

Thank you Chef Micah.

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Thursday, January 10, 2013

ATC Love to Chef Micah Fields

Chef Micah Fields has been a strong performer throughout this competition, so it was a bit of a surprise that he was eliminated this week. His concept for Restaurant Wars was for a raw food restaurant, something he said was near and dear to his heart. However, Tom didn't feel that the dish he prepared - a raw fish and vegetable salad of sorts - felt like it was genuine.

So sorry you left your daughters and didn't come back with a win, Micah, but we're sure they're proud of you anyway.

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Congratulations, Chefs Sheldon Simeon and Kristen Kish!

This week's Elimination Challenge was a bit convoluted, as it was the precursor to Restaurant Wars, which will start in earnest next week. This challenge was merely to pick the chefs who had the strongest restaurant concepts and reward them (or punish them, as it might end up) with the chance to lead up a Restaurant Wars team. Oh, and they also got 10,000 smackeroos each.

Congratulations to Chefs Simeon and Kish for having the most interesting concepts and the best dishes of the day. We're looking forward to seeing what you will do in Restaurant Wars. May the best chef win!

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Reactions to Top Chef Seattle Episode 10

Is it me, or is this show getting unnecessarily more complicated every week?

First is the Quickfire, in which the cheftestants have fifteen minutes to make something tasty using fresh ginger. Wolfgang Puck is on hand to judge the dishes, which may also have included a bit of Canada Dry ginger ale in them. Brooke's caramel ginger squid impressed him the most and she was awarded immunity from elimination.

As for the Elimination Challenge - it was Restaurant Wars, but not. Each of the chefs is responsible for coming up with his or her own restaurant concept and one signature dish. They will present 100 portions of their dish at an event called Bite of Seattle, and two winners will be chosen. Restaurateur extraordinaire Danny Meyer, of the Union Square Restaurant Group and Tom Colicchio's former employer at Gramercy Tavern, is on hand to judge this contest. Guess Wolfgang had other things to do.

The restaurant concepts were all over the place, ranging from corner bistro to Thai/German. Yeah, that was Stefan's. The best of the lot were Sheldon's Filipino restaurant and Kristen's modern French, and they will go on to lead the kitchen in the real Restaurant Wars competition, which will air next week. After going back to the stew room and choosing the rest of their teams (which end up being boys vs girls), Lizzie, Micah, and Josie are sent out to face the judges. Just when it looks like Josie is finally going to be sent home, it turns out that Tom was most displeased with Micah's soulless raw food concept, and he is eliminated, leaving Sheldon with only two team mates for next week's showdown.

What did you think about this episode? Please leave a comment.

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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Top Chef Seattle Episode 10 Previews

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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Recap Roundup - Top Chef Seattle Episode 9

A Just Recompense has got to be spot on with this observation on the dinner guests: "Two hundred 'superfans' (the sound guy’s cousins, someone Tom picked off the street last week, the hunky busboy Padma took a shine to at the Space Needle) are on hand to serve as customers."

Minxeats on the Elimination Challenge premise: "Using the Kindle Fires (because Internet juggernaut Amazon needs advertisement) nearby, the cheftestants will watch a memorable scene from one of the previous nine seasons. They will use that scene as an inspiration to create a healthy version of the dish in question, and the winning dish will be bastardized into a future Healthy Choice Café Steamer. I think 'Café Steamer' is such an unfortunate name. To me it sounds like a euphemism for something someone would leave in a toilet at Starbucks. (And wouldn't local Seattle business Starbucks make a better sponsor?)"

Eater on the Quickfire judge: "The guest judge on this week's Quickfire Challenge is a stranger to our cookpetitors. They mumble, 'Who is that?' Padma introduces Bob Kramer, a 'Master Bladesmith.' I did not know that 'Bladesmith' was a thing. Why not just 'Blader'? Doesn't it sound much more natural to say that Bob Kramer is a Master Blader? "He is one of the finest Master Bladers in the country, and though at this point in his life he does not Master Blade as frequently as he used to, people pay upwards of 500 dollars an inch every time he Master Blades.' Bob Kramer worked in kitchens for ten years, and then he 'got sucked into the world of making custom knives.' Oh yeah, don't get me started on the world of custom knives. It's an infamously addictive world, and not a day goes by we don't hear another tragic story about a young professional vacuumed into the vortex of the glamorous custom knife world. Once a man has discovered Master Blading, it's hard to get him to stop."

Carol Blymire for the Washington Post on miso: "Not one of these dishes looked or sounded appetizing to me, and way too many of them incorporated miso. I don’t know about you, but I feel like miso is the lazy cook’s way to 'add flavor' to a dish. Dazzle me with something new and interesting. Know how to use salt and use it well. Cook with good product and make it taste the best it can. But don’t be lazy and throw miso into everything because it adds umami or deepens flavor. It doesn’t. It tastes like you added miso."

Allie is Wired on why John is the Most Hated Chef This Season: "The rest of the chefs are relieved to hear they are safe. They also get the details on John’s 99 problems/excuses. He stands by the pots being to blame for his awful risotto and exclaims: 'I’m pissed! I shouldn’t have to cook again. It was the pots!' I guess they really want to make sure we find him completely repulsive…John then grabs all of Lizzie’s dill that she agreed to share and then repeatedly leaves the oven cooking her meat open as he complains about her 'pushing him around' and constantly 'bitching' about his lack of common courtesy in the kitchen. He then goes on to say she should be thanking him for sharing the pickles. This guy is an incredibly sad human being."

Grub Street on healthy: "Speaking of potpies, Kristen wants to make a 'healthy' chicken potpie. Josie wants to make a healthy dish, too, since her job is teaching people how to eat wisely. Meanwhile, Brooke talks about being depressed, becoming overweight, and then losing the weight. Why all this talk of healthy food? I think it’s because our sponsor is Healthy Choice, the leading provider of food that’s not only nutritious but comes in brightly colored boxes."

HitFix on complicated: "Once the sharp, shiny objects are put away, Padma explains the ridiculously complex challenge. There will be three elimination rounds with three teams of three. For the first round, the chefs will have to sharpen dull knives. The fastest two teams move on. Next, the teams have to tourne fifty potatoes. In the third round, the winning team splits up and each chef competes individually. The chefs must then each break down and french a rack of two rabbits. The first chef to finish the rabbits gets immunity and a Bob Kramer blade. I really think it takes Padma longer to explain the challenge than for us to see it."

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Friday, January 4, 2013

All Top Chef Interview with John Tesar

Top Chef: Seattle contestant John Tesar talks about his experience on the show.

A highlight:

ATC: Have you watched the previous seasons of Top Chef? 

 JT: Yes, I believe I have watched every episode of every season for the past ten seasons. 

ATC: So you knew about the curse of the risotto... 

JT: Yes, of course, it was just the luck of the draw, I could have gotten anything, but I got the risotto. Howie's dish was very complicated and included frog's legs and all sorts of things. It was a challenge to make it healthy. It was complicated and let's not forget that he sweat in the dish!

Click here for the full interview.

Click here to learn more about Spoon Bar & Kitchen.

Click here to "Save a Chef."

Thank you Chef John!

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Thursday, January 3, 2013

Reactions to Top Chef Seattle Episode 9

It was Old Home Week at Top Chef Seattle when the current crop of cheftestants were asked to make healthy versions of dishes from previous seasons and former Top Chef Masters contestants were asked to judge them. First, however, the chefs had to get through a cutting ordeal during the Quickfire Challenge. Master bladesmith Bob Kramer was on hand to judge a three-round contest involving knife skills.

In round one, three groups of three were asked to sharpen chef's knives. The two groups to sharpen their knives first moved on to round two where they were asked to tournée 50 potatoes. The group to finish that chore first moved to round three where they broke down and frenched 2 rabbits. In the end, Micah came away with the win, immunity, and one of Bob Kramer's very expensive knives.

For the Elimination Challenge, each chef was given a Kindle Fire to view the dish from the previous season on which they would have to make his or her healthy variation. The winner would receive $15,000 and have the dish turned into a Healthy Choice meal. After shopping, the chefs had 2 1/2 hours to cook their meals at the Palace Ballroom for the judges and a gathering of super fans. The judges included Wylie Dufresne, Chris Cosentino, Jonathan Waxman, and Wolfgang Puck. The winner was Chef Kristen for her take on Carla Hall's chicken pot pie from Season 8.

Chefs John and Lizzy were on the bottom, so they had to compete head-to-head, making a healthy burger just like CJ's pork burger from the current season. John chose lamb as his protein while Lizzy chose chicken. Lizzy's burger was judged to be moister and healthier, so John was sent to pack his knives.

What did you think of last night's episode? Please leave your comments below.

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ATC Love to Chef John Tesar

With his years of experience, Chef Tesar was a formidable competitor, but he was tripped up by the most dreaded of Top Chef dishes: risotto. While the uneven pan may have been the cause for the inconsistent texture of his risotto, he had nowhere to hide with regard to his lamb burger. In a head-to-head battle with Chef Lizzy Binder to make a healthy burger, the judges were generally satisfied with the flavor of both. However, the lack of moisture in Chef Tesar's lamb burger and the addition of fatty elements like a fried egg and cream cheese to a dish that was supposed to be healthy tipped the scales in Lizzy's favor. Despite not becoming Top Chef, we're sure that he will continue to shake things up in Dallas.

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Congratulations to Chef Kristen Kish!

The wins just keep on comin' for Chef Kish! Her challenge this week was to make a healthy version of Carla Hall's chicken pot pie dish from Season 8. Not only did her pot pie win her $15,000, a variation of her dish will become a new Healthy Choice meal sold in supermarkets nationwide. With only seven other contestants left in the competition, Chef Kish is well on her way to the finals. She is certainly positioning herself to be the chef to beat!

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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Top Chef Seattle Episode 9 Previews

Blades are drawn in this week’s Quickfire Challenge, when the cheftestants’ knife skills are put to the test as they must demonstrate their sharpening skills. In the Elimination Challenge, tribute is paid to the most memorable moments in Top Chef history, and sabotage is afoot when two chefs cook to remain in the contest.

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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Recap Roundup - Top Chef Seattle Episode 9

Minxeats on that sinking feeling: "Josie, who at the end of last week's show was seen getting on the nerves of Stefan (and everyone else), gets caught in some quicksand. Most of the chefs are happy to leave her to sink and disappear, but kind-hearted Micah (who's not really all that kind-hearted - he probably sees it as some sort of merit badge situation) rushes to her aid, along with Stefan, who despite being a douche most of the time, can't really bear to see anything with a vagina go unassisted."

A Just Recompense on skating judges: "But we do get to watch Padma skate; apparently it’s something she did in her wild and foolish youth. Tom looks embarrassed and worried. Emeril’s enjoying himself thoroughly. Stefan drools. He admits, 'I purchased Season 9 just to cut out clips of her.' That’s about all Season 9 was good for. By the way, Emeril’s skater name would be Bam Bam. You knew that was coming, right?"

Hit Fix on Quickfire verdicts: "So who missed the mark? Bart -- he felt the butter lost the Champagne and masked the oyster. He thinks Josie should have strained the oyster, as her sauce seemed to have separated. He thought Dallas John's dish needed pop. He liked Lizzie's because it was unexpected and delicious. He thought Micah's was risky, but he wanted to eat more. He thought Brooke's salsa verde had beautiful flavors that complimented the oyster. Pretty impressive -- he didn't ding her for the broken shells. But the winner is… Micah. For Micah, this is a big deal, as cooking for Emeril is, to him, like being Moses and meeting God."

Reality Tea on an unlikely pairing: "The chefs have 2 1/2 hours to prepare their dishes at the roller rink, though not on roller skates (bummer). Just a reminder… Bart has the unfortunate task of working with Josie. Bart urges 'Juicy' to let go of the drama and focus on what's important – the food. Josie pours her Mexican/Filipino/Italian heritage into her teriyaki sauce. To each their own, I guess, but those influences don't scream teriyaki to me. When Bart tastes it, he doesn't look sold. Also, Josie isn't impressed with Bart's rice. I have a feeling this isn't going to end well for one of them."

Grub Street's recapper makes me scratch my head: "Josie is making chorizo with oysters, Spanish-style. But her sauce 'goes past reduction and is broken.' (I assume there was a solid ingredient in the sauce that got so soft, it fell apart — like chicken bones, or something. I know you can make soup stock using old turkey bones, so I guess Josie overcooked the bones and they “broke” inside the sauce.)"

Eater on roller derby is a sport?: "For this week's Elimination Challenge, the cooktestants will be serving 'one of the hottest sports teams in Seattle.' I can only assume that Padma is talking about the Seattle Supersonics; maybe the chefs will be cooking dinner for Shawn Kemp's seven children by six different women. Alas, we have to settle for roller derby, as the Rat City All-Stars come rollerskating into the kitchen. Man, what is there even to say about roller derby? Dear friends of mine have been involved with roller derby, and even though they've broken limbs and noses and I never bothered to come see them play once, they assured me they'd made friends for life, and when I say 'life' I mean they quit talking to those people the second they stopped wrestle-rollerskating."

Allie is Wired on Josie's explosion: "They arrive back at their digs after the match and Josie passes out on the couch as Stefan asks what happened at the match. Josh explains that Josie is just being Josie – loud and obnoxious. Micah adds that, “Everything that came out of her mouth during the match was not important.” Josie springs back into life from her slumber on the sofa and starts yelling about being a tree that knows who she is. Micah steps in and tells her to sit down. She responds by calling him a gay man hiding in a closet. Bart and his electric yellow/green/pink paisley shirt comfort her as the rest of the chefs scratch their heads in a WTF was that moment."

Carol Blymire for the Washington Post on Elimination judging: "Josh’s twee cap and douchestache fight Josie’s self-branded sweatband for camera time. Tom tells all four of them that their dishes missed the mark. Padma asks Josie and Bart who did what in their dish. Bart looks pained when Tom tells him his cooking, in general, is under-seasoned. Tom criticizes Josie for not knowing when something isn’t seasoned well. Josh seems surprised even to be there, then pulls a CJ and says he thought the stuffed jalapeno was concession-stand food. Tom and Padma correct him and tell him the components in his dish just weren’t good."

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