We are down to the final four and I am not ready for my Top Chef recaps to be over anytime soon. And by the way, this was the most culturally diverse cast ever. It was also the most cohesive cast and the most enjoyable to watch. This is what inclusion looks like. There wasn’t a single episode where chefs did not help their fellow competitors. Padma tells the chefs that after the next quick fire they will be packing and heading to the coast. It’s almost the end of the road!
The quickfire challenge involves only ingredients that settlers on the Oregon Trail would have in their covered wagons. So, the pantry is unavailable for this challenge. Apparently, the early settlers had access to some beautiful salmon and trout. As usual, Dawn never seems to have a plan. Yet. she always manages to pull off a great dish. Jaime made a seared salmon dish with walnut pepper sauce and crispy parsnips. Shota did jerky cured salmon with parsnips and apricot puree. Dawn did a porridge with well, all sorts of things like squash, but most importantly, bacon. Shota helped her fire-roast the squash. Gabe gave each judge what appears to be a whole trout each cooked over and open fire with salsa-macha. It made quite the impression.
The judges have Shota in the bottom because his use of the jerky to cure the salmon made the fish a little dry. Dawn is also in the bottom because she boiled herring with her porridge and it came out tasting really fishy. The judges loved Gabe’s trout and Jaime’s salmon. In the end, Jaime was declared the winner. Her use of the crispy parsnips as a garnish pushed her over the top. Once again, Gabe finishes in the top, but has yet to win a quickfire.
The Elimination Challenge
This week’s elimination is all about cheese. They need to use cheddar cheese five ways in their dish. The chefs will travel to the coast to tour the Tillamook creamy where they will select their cheese and do their prep work. As the winner of the quickfire challenge, Jaime will have an extra thirty minutes to cook. WOW! That is a big advantage. And they are off to the coast. The two girls in one BMW and the two guys in another. BMW is really coming through with the cars as part of their sponsorship this season. I had a BMW once. It was a 2002 that was very old when I bought it. But, I loved the classic look. I totaled it on my way to school one day as I was leaving my apartment complex. The brakes failed and I went careening out into traffic and almost drove through a Pizza Hut. Thankfully someone hit me first. I told my dad I needed brakes! LOL.
After a stunningly beautiful drive, the arrive at the Tillamook creamery. There we learn a startling fact. The only difference between yellow cheddar and white cheddar is a dye! WOW. I didn’t know that but now that I think about it makes since. Milk is white not orangey yellow. The chefs get to try all the cheeses. I don’t see how they are going to do cheese five ways with some of their dishes. But first, they get to hang out for a late night campfire on the beach.
In All Comes Down To This
Jamie is cooking sea bass. Fish is the last thing I would use in a cheese challenge. I think I would just stick to pasta. She seems to be doing some sort of pastalike side dish. Still fish and cheese is just a no and she knows it! Dawn is worried. She wants to pay homage to the Philly cheesesteak. Shota is trying to do Japanese. Really, with cheese? Gabe is doing something with apples. That sounds great to me. Tom comes in to check on their progress. Dawn’s Philly cheese dish is sounding better and better. Gabe has some Mexican spices in his dish. Tom feels the same way as I do about Jamie’s sea bass plans. Shota has everyone tasting his dish.
Shota’s cheese wheels look delicious. He’s running a bit behind on plating but Jaime helps him out. I love these chefs! Shota’s dish goes out first. The judges LOVE Shota’s dish. It’s very original. Gabe is up next with his meatless cheddar and apples dish. Oh actually there is some bacon in there. That’s smart. Reviews are over all positive, but Gregory had issues with the pickled apples.
Dawn is up next. She is struggling with getting her rib eye cooked properly. Also she asks for Jaime to help with her plating. She agrees to do it but it looks like Jaime is in the weeds herself! Why can’t one of the guys do it? Dawn barely gets her plating done in time. In fact, at least one judge was missing an ingredient. Just like last week! Oh no! She’s going home unless Jaime really fucks up. Jaime is way behind because she helped everyone else. The judges are not overly impressed by Jaime.
The Judges Table
Clearly, the girls are in the bottom and the guys are in the top. Shota was the clear winner. He got $10,000 for Tillamook. The judges loved Gabe’s dish. However, the apple was the star of the dish and not the cheese. Dawn takes a huge hit for the missing ingredient on one plate. They roll the tape that shows she looked straight at the dish and didn’t notice. Another judge says her cheese sauce was grainy. She has to be going home. The Asian judge has been a huge Dawn fan all season and I can tell he is going to fight for Jaime to go home. And he does fight hard for Dawn. Gail says that Jaime’s dish was not cheesy at all.
So Jaime goes home with fish and cheese. Next time: The top three forage for their own seafood including dungeoness crab. It looks like next week Gabe sends out a plate without a torilla.