Top Chef recap: Sweet and Sour Bitchin'

An elimination challenge at a berry farm leads to fruity dishes -- and salty sniping between the cheftestants
Ep. 07 | Aired Dec 19, 2012

A WINNING BLEND Kristen was victorious not once but twice tonight -- can her streak continue next week?

David Moir/Bravo

The Elimination Challenge, unfortunately, wasn't quite as innovative as the Quickfire. Padma informed the cheftestants that they'd be cooking with berries at a fruit festival held at a nearby farm. The only real twist: Each contestant save Kristen would be competing head-to-head against another chef. Every pair was assigned the same berry; the chef who cooked the losing dish in each duo would be up for elimination. The chefs who had made the best Quickfire dishes -- Sheldon, Danyele, Stefan, Josie, and Bart -- were allowed to choose who they would be competing against directly.

Sheldon made a beeline for Micah, saying that he wanted to push himself by going up against somebody good. Every other chef, though, picked somebody they thought they could beat: Danyele selected Josh, Stefan chose John -- because "he's the oldest" -- Josie grabbed Lizzie, and Bart was left with Brooke, who was flattered to be the last one standing since it meant nobody wanted to go up against her.

With their individual berry assignments in mind, the chefs headed to market -- where the great Frozen Tuna Catastrophe of 2012 began. Stefan wanted to make sashimi, but Sheldon foiled him (Reynolds Wrap!!) by snatching up all of the store's fresh tuna. So instead, the crafty Finn turned to saku block tuna, a high-end product that happens to be frozen. Oh, Stefan, did you learn nothing from Shrimpgate 2011? When John spotted his opponent's protein, he knew which narrative he would push come challenge time -- and while his constant complaining about the damn fish didn't ultimately lead to Stefan's downfall, it did lead to a whole lot of annoyance on our end. So, uh... mission accomplished?

Maybe I'm being too hard on John (or, as my brain keeps insisting on calling him, Chef Jeff Goldblum). The guy was clearly having an off day when cooking his gooseberry gazpacho -- in between frozen fish cracks, he managed to antagonize Bart and get a face full of hot white goo courtesy of Josh's blender. John also tried to convince Tom that he objected to Stefan's choice of fish only because saku block tuna is unsustainable. Kind of like Jurassic Park!

But Goldblum wasn't the only chef who was acting off his rocker: Josie spent all of prep time slaving over a gross-sounding creation she called a "Rock 'n Raspberry Roll," but didn't manage to complete a single serving of her concoction before service began. Good thing she's got that sparkling personality to distract from her lack of preparation! ("Is she high?" Gail wondered, watching Josie ramble and scurry like a toothy chicken with her head cut off as she struggled to plate for the judges.)

The first chefs on the chopping block were the members of Team Blueberry, a.k.a. Danyele and Josh. She made a rubbery chicken pine nut terrine on a much too crunchy and large crostad, accented by a blueberry mostarda; he had more success with a savory goat cheese mousse topped with blueberry compote, Serrano ham and Thai basil. Those flavors sound sort of bizarre together in theory, but almost anything would taste better than bad lunch meat atop candied blueberries in mustard-flavored syrup.

NEXT: Seriously though, what's a tayberry?


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