Top Chef recap: Chum Bucket

The chefs prepare super-fresh salmon and super-old sourdough for Alaskans who really know their salmon and sourdough
Ep. 14 | Aired Feb 6, 2013

SLAMMIN' SALMON Josh tries to stay focused on oily fish while his wife is ready to give birth thousands of miles away.

David Moir/Bravo

On to the food. Despite Tom's tough line of questioning, Brooke decided to poach her sockeye salmon, which she served with a seafood broth, mustard seed caviar, and grilled dill sourdough. Basically, the only complaint anyone had was Gail, whose fish was slightly overcooked, but it was still enough to secure Brooke the win.

Everyone else had more problems. Sheldon put his Asian spin on sourdough (I'm all for putting your signature style on everything, but this was pushing it) by adding green tea and chives. Padma said she liked green tea and chives, just not together. He served chum, which for some reason I always thought was the nasty fish slop you dump into the ocean to attract sharks (I think Spongebob is the source of my confusion). It's actually a plentiful type of salmon that fishermen don't even hunt because the market value for the meat is so low. The locals really interrogated Sheldon on his choice to use chum, but ultimately, they appreciated what he did with it, even though he did tear up the flesh into a feathery mess with his tongs.

Josh set himself apart by making a sourdough soup instead of plopping a piece of bread next to the fish like everybody else. Tom thought he did a great job slow-roasting the salmon, but he wasn't sure if the extremely garlicky soup went well with the fish. Hugh said the bold flavors on the plate overpowered the fish, and generally the judges thought he needed to balance the flavors a bit more.

That left Lizzie, who was the only chef not to do a soup. She greeted everyone at her station by saying "Hello, everyone," but it sounded exactly like "Hello, Obi-Wan" — or maybe I just have Star Wars on the brain. Her sourdough sockeye sliders looked so simple they bordered on sad. But despite her doubts about her bread baking ability, she had the best, crustiest sourdough. Unfortunately, no one understood the beet and citrus glaze on her salmon, and as Sean noted, it was just a salmon sandwich, if you think about it. At the judges table, Padma wagged her finger at Lizzie for having tasted all the elements individually but not together, which she said (like an annoying 9-year-old) was "not the same." So Lizzie ended up going home, and she asked herself, "How could I make such a silly mistake?"

Did Lizzie deserve to get eliminated? Of the three remaining, who do you think is the frontrunner? Who will return and when?

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