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.

There were only two rather than three chefs left in the bottom of the pickle barrel this time around, and that was for a reason — John and Lizzie, who had the worst dishes, would be facing each other in one last cook-off inspired by a memorable moment from this season: CJ's disastrous burger from the pickle challenge. Not surprisingly, John was an incredibly bad sport about having to participate in this bonus challenge. He'd fallen victim to the Top Chef Risotto Curse. He couldn't find a flat pan, as he explained it, so his risotto turned up unevenly cooked — a lame excuse, for sure. John was completely full of it, but Josh could have just let him hang himself on his own rope. Instead, Josh couldn't resist an opportunity to be a petty b-hole by undermining John's flat pan theory in front of the judges. Unnecessary.

Lizzie landed in the bottom by cooking rancid scallops instead of just throwing them out, but she was determined to erase the terrible taste in the judges' mouths with a biteful of ground meat. John played a few dirty moves on Lizzie by hogging all the dill and opening the oven door while her stuff was cooking. But seriously, John was way too proud of himself for not being a total a-hole. He didn't steal the entire container of pickles, the ingredient upon which the entire challenge hinged, and he didn't want America to forget his benevolent, Mother Teresa-like act of not cheating. When the judges pretty much unanimously voted for Lizzie's chicken burger with goat cheese and ricotta over John's dried-out Mediterranean lamb burger, John didn't accept that Lizzie made the better dish. He just reminded us that he didn't steal all the pickles, and for that, he expected to be knighted and sanctified. Congrats, John. You only sabotaged Lizzie a little bit.

So John exited this part of the competition shamed in front of his buddy Anthony Bourdain. As nice as it was to see John humbled, Josh was, as usual, absolutely relentless in his dickishness. Once again he had to harp on the whole flat pan thing after John's elimination. Seriously, Josh, stop with the fight-picking and mustache-twirling. Whatever image of yourself you're trying to put forth, it's not a good look.

Was John's elimination justified, or did Lizzie deserve to go for her rotten scallops? Will Kristen go all the way? Should Bob Kramer the Master Bladesmith become an internet meme? Where does Josh rank in the list of all-time Top Chef jerks? Do you want to see John go all the way in Last Chance Kitchen? Let me know below and on @EWStephanLee on Twitter!

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