Top Chef recap: Shocker of the Season

A heated Restaurant Wars leads to one of the most inexplicable eliminations ever. Has the show lost credibility?
Ep. 11 | Aired Jan 16, 2013

SABOTEUR?? No, I don't think Josie purposely messed up her Restaurant Wars dish, but I do think that knowing Kristen's head was on the chopping block made her take an overly leisurely approach to the challenge.

David Moir/Bravo

Okay, that was interesting and full of ups and downs. Now for a trip next door to Urbano, where Stefan was desperately and gracelessly trying to kick people out of the restaurant to clear space for the VIPs. First up was Stefan's version of kilawin, a Filipino raw fish delicacy. His was made of yellowtail with cilantro, spicy chili, and white soy sauces. Danny and Gail both appreciated the contrasts of acidity and sourness.

Josh had the difficult challenge of putting a spin on balut, which normally looks like this. If you haven't tried balut before, take my word for it: These duck embryos actually taste not-terrible. Even some of my friends with normally unadventurous palates have been able to stomach it. Josh made a more presentable version of it by using a normal unfertilized egg and putting duck confit and foie gras mousse inside of it. Tom said it didn't taste Filipino or remotely like balut, but it still tasted good. Didn't Kristen get reamed for making a beef Bourguignon that tasted good but didn't match the standard definition of Bourguignon? Didn't Gail "expect" balut but get something different? Lines are being blurred. Maybe the judges were just so relieved not to be eating real balut.

Unsurprisingly, the dish of the night came from Sheldon with his adobo pork belly with mung bean puree and pea shoots salad. Tom said it was the best-tasting dish of the night, and Danny couldn't stop eating it. Sheldon's other dish, the miki with prawns, was delicious too, but less appetizing was Stefan's behavior while serving it. First, he neglected to explain what it was, and then when Padma asked for more information, he flat-out dismissed her, leading Gail to say, "We were just made to feel like idiots." Emeril said, "The way he made us feel is worse than that bouillabaisse." Stefan was incredibly rude, of course, especially to the people judging the dining experience, and some of the judges — Padma especially — looked ready to eliminate him on the spot. Josh finished off the meal with a strong dessert, halo-halo, and Stefan made something too, but the judges were mostly just reeling from Stefan's condescension.

NEXT: Ugh, I can't with this Judges' Table ...

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