Thursday, February 7, 2013
Josh Valentine overuses bacon (again) on Top Chef
This week on Top Chef: Seattle, the chefs hit the ground running in Alaska, facing the unenviable task of working with ingredients that Alaskans know inside and out.
The chefs go directly from the cruise ship to the quickfire challenge, in which they must make a dish using Alaskan crab. Guest judge is Charleston chef Sean Brock, whom Dallas Chef Josh Valentine describes as a culinary idol of his.
But Josh doesn't show too well in front of his idol, as his crab and bacon succotash was one of Brock's least favorite dishes. (Bacon? Again? Really, Josh? Even he agrees this time, joking after the challenge that he's "done with bacon." Oh, if only.)
Sheldon Simeon is declared the winner with his dungeness crab "miso" with pine-smoked asparagus.
For their elimination challenge, the chefs have to make a dish using salmon and sourdough bread. As they prepare their food, Josh is understandably distracted because his wife is due to have their baby at any moment. But he doesn't have any obviously problems preparing his food because of it.
The chefs are serving outdoors, to about 200 people at the annual Gold Creek Salmon Bake in Juneau. The dishes:
Brooke Williamson: poached sockeye salmon with seafood broth with mustard seed caviar and grilled sourdough. Brock calls the broth "beautifully seasoned," and the judges all like her bread.
Sheldon: smoked salmon and pea soup, with green-tea-and-chive sourdough. Judge Padma Lakshmi doesn't like the bread, while judge Hugh Acheson says the soup is flavorful, but had a baby-food consistency. Sheldon uses chum to flavor the soup, which confuses some the locals to no end since they feed chum to their dogs. Yikes.
Josh: roasted garlic sourdough soup, with sockeye salmon and black olive croutons. The salmon is cooked well, and judge Gail Simmons appreciates that he didn't just serve soup with a piece of bread. Judge Tom Colicchio says the garlic overwhelmed the salmon, however.
Lizzie Binder: slider with citrus and beet-glazed sockeye, with poppy seed butter and pickles. The judges love her bread, but don't feel that the glaze added anything to the dish.
The winner is Brooke, and her prize is a trip to Costa Rica. The judges had issues with each of the other three chefs' dishes, but Lizzie is sent home for her slider.
That means Josh is one step closer to a spot in the finale. Midseason, I said I would be stunned if he got there, but I'm eating my words now. At this point, anything can happen.