Top Chef recap: Iceberg (Lettuce), Straight Ahead!

The chefs board an Alaska-bound cruise ship and cook to stay afloat
Ep. 13 | Aired Jan 30, 2013

SEASICKNESS Brooke didn't let her fear of water and boats get to her in the surf and turf challenge.

David Moir/Bravo

As guest judge, Curtis seemed to enjoy pretty much all the Quickfire dishes, which further supports my theory that the average diner would think everything the Top Chef contestants make is completely fine and that the regular judges just have unusually high standards. Curtis liked the intense flavors of Stefan's pastrami and roasted fingerling potatoes with braised iceberg lettuce with bacon and pastrami in it, all with a blue cheese sauce.

Lizzie impressed Curtis with her iceberg salad with crispy bacon, shallots, and an anchovy vinaigrette, but he thought it was somewhere in that undesirable netherworld between being big enough one and two bites. Josh's wedge salad-inspired iceberg roll with apple cider vinaigrette, bacon jam, and blue cheese "elevated a classic dish. Brooke's bacon, lettuce, and tomato wrap with caramelized onions and crispy quinoa was perfectly cooked, but again, Padma thought it was a bit hard to eat.

That left Sheldon with the win for his Vietnamese lettuce wrap with pork and shrimp, cooked in coconut milk and pickled iceberg lettuce hearts, which Curtis said gave the dish "complex flavor."

After that, the chefs got to let their hair down and go wild on the floating fun-village known as a cruise ship. Sheldon and Lizzie took a break from the group and got manicures, while Josh muttered some predictably hetero-normative comments about men not getting manicures. Watch out, because one day his wife might demand that he do something with those gnarly nails of his.

At dinner time they all sat down to enjoy a nice dinner at Qsine, a vaguely Alice in Wonderland-themed restaurant where up was down and down was up, and the menus were saved on fussy tablets. The five chefs were enjoying their time, even paying tribute to Zach Galifianakis with the song, "We're the five best friends that anybody ever had," when all of a sudden the conversation turned nasty, and Josh brought up Brooke and Stefan's worst dishes, and they fired right back. Oh Josh, you're always looking for a fight, aren't you? But really, everyone seemed used to the group dysfunction and continued to have a ball.

NEXT: Be careful what proteins you wish for.

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