Top Chef recap: Drama Clogs the Arteries

A retrospective challenge brought up ten seasons' worth of drama. Plus, knives!
Ep. 09 | Aired Jan 2, 2013

SHARP OBJECTS The episode started off with real knives, but the backstabbing didn't happen until the end.

Round two had the chefs Tourne-ing 50 potatoes, which meant carving them into seven-sided football-like shapes. Once again, John approached the task with utter confidence, only this time, it was warranted. But teammate Josie nicked herself with her knife. While she was bleeding, no one offered so much as an "Are you okay?" because her injury eliminated her from the challenge, and Kristen and John had to go on without her. Despite the disadvantage, Kristen and John lost by only two potatoes. Good thing Italian Carla wasn't here for this challenge — we'd need a medic who knows how to re-attach limbs. That lady could cut herself on a slice of cheese.

In the final round, the remaining competitors had to french rabbit meat. Now, that doesn't mean kissing it with copious tongue action, but rather trimming the meat from its fine bones. Josh joked that it was the same as cutting up a cat — do you know what the first sign of psychopathy is? — but he didn't quite have the blade dexterity to finish the task. Micah won handily, receiving the ridiculously expensive knife. Time to eBay that baby! Now excuse me while I look for YouTube videos of Bob Kramer julienning carrots.

The retrospective Elimination Challenge was pretty cool. The remaining contestants had to create a healthy version of a dish associated with a dramatic or otherwise memorable moment from each of the previous Top Chef seasons. The winning dish would inspire a Healthy Choice meal sold in stores and garner a $15,000 cash prize for the chef. "Fif. Teen. Thousand. Dollars," said Sheldon. Sheldon is this season's resident Repeater of Information — there's one every year. His job is to repeat exciting pieces of information we've already been told without adding any additional commentary. I'm not complaining. In fact, I like it.

Run the clip show! The memorable moment I was most pleased to be reminded of was Carla Hall from All-Stars winning the chicken pot pie challenge and getting to demonstrate it on Jimmy Fallon. I could have lived without ever seeing Howie Kleinberg again, though.

A crack panel of judges showed up to preside over this special challenge: Chris Cosentino of Incanto, Wylie Dufresne of WD-50, Jonathan Waxman of Barbuto — plus, Wolfgang Puck made a much-needed return!

NEXT: John was a character in Anthony Bourdain's book Kitchen Confidential. Everyone take notice!

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