Top Chef recap: Hunger Games

The contestants must feed the denizens of Pike Place Market using custom ingredients provided by the vendors themselves. Alas, rose petal jelly makes a poor meal
Ep. 05 | Aired Dec 5, 2012

STARS AND STRIPES Except there were no stars and the only stripes are on Padma's pants.

Breakfasts ranged from speared berries to bacon in a waffle (guess which one I'd rather eat). Overall, Padma and Daisley were impressed with the turnout, singling out Sheldon and Bart's green egg breakfast sandwich and Josh and John's breakfast taco (which included quail eggs -- readers, I'm skeptical). Meanwhile, the meals I thought looked good (such as the ricotta sausage pancake) were deemed less than stellar. In fairness, Padma's soft pancake did not stay on the stick when she tried to eat it, which was the point of the challenge, but let's be real here: when confronted with a bacon waffle and a quail egg, which would you rather eat? Padma and Daisley did get one thing right, however. Danyele and Lizzie's bacon-wrapped fruit just felt downright lazy to me. These vendors are on their feet all day! Three berries and a slice of bacon do not a breakfast make. Also, I feel compelled to point out CJ and Tyler's crepe-wrapped salmon. Now, I'm not a fish fan, but that seems more like a light lunch than a breakfast.

Ultimately, the win went to Sheldon and Bart's breakfast sandwich. "It feels good to get one under the belt," Sheldon said. Well, what really feels good is knowing you're safe from elimination. Particularly given the disastrous Elimination Challenge that followed. It was an especially rough one for some chefs -- after spending the morning working in pairs, they were forced stick with their partners for Round 2. Lizzie was peeved -- she and Danyele hadn't found their rhythm in the a.m. and she had low hopes for the afternoon. Meanwhile, Eliza just wanted to meet Josie halfway. You know, if you hate each other so much, why didn't you make better friends with other people in the first place? That way you wouldn't have to be paired together. Just food for thought.

Following up on the Pike Place Market theme, the Elimination Challenge required the chefs to draw knives emblazoned with a speciality ingredient made by a vendor of PPM. I have to admit, I felt a little uneasy watching them stand around with their faux cleavers. With all the drama queens in this group (cough, Eliza, cough), there's no telling when one will go psycho. Thankfully, the chefs kept their knives to themselves. Ingredients ranged from pickles to cheese curds (yum), but by far my favorite reaction was when Stefan pulled rose petal jelly. "It’s like rose water. It’s a perfume kind of thing. Women in the 1500s put it on them because they were smelling." Could you make your eventual meal sound any more appetizing?

NEXT: Let me count the ways to serve a pickle that doesn't include a burger.

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