Alright, alright. Maybe I’ve been giving Josh a hard time at the beginning of these recap sessions, but he somehow transformed into a huggable teddy bear after Tesar left. In this episode, his expressions are pretty adorable. What can I say? I guess JT just rubbed him the wrong way.
Round 1: The Last Quickfire Challenge
Top Chef tries too hard, and starts reverting back to its Texas season days. The final three chefs (Brooke, Sheldon, and Josh) ride a helicopter to a glacier, where they take a husky sled to a dogsled camp. They have to create a dish in 30 minutes from whatever ingredients they can find. Sheldon and Brooke start pan-roasting halibut, while Josh does what Josh does best: breakfast. Cornmeal cake with smoked salmon and – get this – scrambled eggs. “The textures of this dish are going to ironically be like mush,” says Josh. Yup. And mush doesn’t seem to impress Tom Colicchio, either. Brooke beats the original Team Husky (Sheldon and Josh) with her halibut with panzanella salad and walnuts. Surprise, surprise.
Round 2: The Elimination
Princess Padma drives the chefs in her Toyota chariot to a house where Roy Choi and Emeril are cooking lunch. Choi, who I respect with all the chambers of my heart, starts talking nonsense as he washes the rice. JUST WASH THE DANG RICE. Instead, this Asian-American pioneer of the U.S. food truck movement starts waxing poetic. “The way that I clean rice is, when I wash it, I try to transfer all the ancestors and all the spirits and all the energy that surrounds my whole existence. Put that into each kernel of rice.” He then gets sappy when he talks about the moment he wanted to be a chef. “Emeril popped out of the tv and slapped me across the face.”
Everyone is having a quiet moment – a peaceful, Zen reflection time – when Padma kills the fun. She tells the lunch guests they have to make a dish that represents that pivotal moment they decided to pursue culinary arts. And guess what? They’re cooking it for the governor of Alaska and his lady.
Josh decides to make a foie gras torchon, since that’s what pulled him over the edge. But foie gras torchon takes days, not hours. He plunges ahead, anyhow, distracted by the thought that his baby girl, Georgia, is about to come out of her mama’s belly. Brooke waffles on her concept, but she finally decides to make chicken (represents her mother’s cooking) and quail (her journey to becoming a chef). The judges love it to pieces.
Sheldon decides to make a snapper fish in beautiful broth, just like Hawaiian chef Sam Choy. “I waited until the very last second to plate, and it bit me in the @$$,” says Sheldon. His broth is way too salty.
The judges forgive him, but they can’t forgive Josh for thinking he could make foie gras torchon in one day. Team Husky is separated. Before Josh the Good Sport goes home to his adorable baby (born on the same day of his elimination), he says, “All good things must come to an end.” It’s a bittersweet departure.
Brooke and Sheldon move on to the finale in LA, where they will be joined by the winner of Last Chance Kitchen (either Josh or Kristen). I love Kristen, but Josh better bring it. This can’t be the end of the road for Dallas on Top Chef.