Top Chef Episode 6 Recap: A Very Top Chef Thanksgiving


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Since we have to wait two weeks until the inevitable disaster that is Restaurant Wars, I decided to hold off a bit on this recap so you could avoid the Top Chef shakes (guys, don’t tell my editor, but I’m actually just a lazy sonofabitch who failed to get to this until now-ish. Sorry, Jason.).

But anyway, the holidays are upon us! So what does that mean in Top Chef TV-land? That’s right! Thanksgiving in the middle of the summer. And since, apparently, outfitting the cheftestants with old-timey elephant guns and sending them on a turkey shoot was disallowed by the lawyers and insurance adjustors, what do we end up with? Right again! A cranberry bog race.

You guys are smart.

And so begins this Thanksgiving-centric episode. The chefs each don a pair of waders and run their little hearts out to fill a basket of cranberries. The top 3 finishers get a special advantage in the Quickfire, which is—you guessed it a third time!—to make a dish that highlights the cranberry.

Back in the kitchen, Doug, Hipster Urkel, and Katie get to pick fancy ingredients, while the rest of the cheftestants have to use things like skirt steak. Katsuji picks exactly that and decides on a tartare. This is a terrible idea because who uses skirt steak for tartare besides people who don’t have access to fire? Deservedly, he ends up on the bottom with Adam, who basically convinced Padma and guest judge Tiffani Faison that his Bourbon Cranberry Barbecue Sauce-Glazed New York Strip was garbage. Along with the two of them in Suck Town is the scrappy li’l gal from Boston, who is definitely feeling the pressure. Those who were successful with the cranberry were Mei, Doug, and Katie–the last of whom made a Cranberry Borscht that was super weird but somehow worked. Her gamble paid off with immunity. She’s proving to be a bit of a dark horse.

Onto the Elimination Challenge. What is this week’s super historic locale? Since it’s the week before Thanksgiving, Bravo goes straight for the low hanging fruit and sends the cheftestants Plymouth Plantation, where they must prepare a full, Japanese-themed tasting dinner for 1,000 guests.

No, just kidding. They have to make Thanksgiving dinner for descendants of both the Mayflower and the Wampanoag tribe, along with Ken Oringer, Gail Simmons, and my main dog Tom Colicchio. The twist is that they can only use those rudimentary cooking implements available in the 17th century and ingredients purported to have been eaten at the first Thanksgiving. Luckily, there was lobster at the first Thanksgiving, and those who decided to use it wound up on top. Duh, it’s lobster. Lobster is delicious, and it also looks cool on belts. Way to go, Katsuji.

The bad news? No refrigeration, so Keriann has to bail on her pie. No problem, she can just use the pie filling as a sauce for venison, right? Right?

Well, not exactly, although she does manage to avoid being sent up for elimination because the repurposed pie filling was not so damning as Hipster Urkel’s overcooked goose, Skrillex’s under-seasoned vegetable hash, or Boston’s dirt clams (no, that’s not slang for anything else, you perverts).

It’s just as well, because poor little Boston was becoming as threadbare as her hair, and she almost smiles with relief when Padma tells her to pack her knives and get the fuck out the kitchen.

I mean, did you really think they were gonna axe Urkel?

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