Top Chef Boston: Boston’s Bravest and Finest

TOP CHEF -- "Boston's Bravest and Finest" Episode 1202 -- Pictured: Padma Lakshmi -- (Photo by: David Moir/Bravo)
(Photo by: David Moir/Bravo)

This week on Top Chef Boston, the cheftestants team up to serve some of Boston’s finest.  Whose dish was less than Boston Strong?

After the standard rundown of the fantastic prizes our chefs are competing for, we pick up right after last week’s elimination as the chefs talk in the stew room.  Katsuji acknowledges that he put way too many separate elements into his dish, and feels embarrassed about his bottom three placement for his first dish on the show.  Aaron and Keri-Ann butt heads over her skills and techniques, particularly the olive oil “snow” that the judges weren’t impressed with.

After a few more establishing B-roll shots (The Rose Kennedy Greenway!  What is likely the exterior of whatever building they’re housing the chefs in!), we catch up with the chefs the next morning as they prepare to head to the kitchen.  James, as it turns out, has a tattoo of Patrick Swayze (who he mentions as an inspiration) on his shoulder.  The fact that we’re getting this odd factoid likely means he’s going to do really well or really poorly at something in the episode.


Padma and Todd English greet the chefs as they enter the kitchen.  You can’t swing a dead cat around in Boston without hitting a historic church1, and one of those churches is Old North Church, with legend tells showed Paul Revere one lantern if the British were coming by land, and two if they were approaching by sea, which allowed him to alert the colonies2.  In the spirit of this, the chefs will be cooking with ingredients from land and sea.  Lanterns in the kitchen will let the chefs know when they can select an ingredient from the “Land” table (1 lantern) or the “Sea” table (2 lanterns); every time the lanterns light up, the chefs must incorporate an ingredient from the respective table into one cohesive dish.  The winner of this quickfire doesn’t win immunity, but they do win $5000.

The quickfire begins and while everyone scrambles to get their first choice from the “Land” table, a lot of chefs feel lost – it’s hard to figure out your final dish when you only have one of who knows how many required ingredients.  The next set of lanterns isn’t “Sea” as I expected, but a second round of choosing ingredients from the Land table.  Now the chefs can start to strategize what they’re doing and what they’ll need from the “Sea” table.  Once the lanterns go off finally, there’s a bunch of scrambling as chaos breaks out.  Adam misses the lanterns and ends up with dried crab snack.  The land light goes off one last time before the end of cooking time, and everyone rushes to plate their dish as Padma and Todd re-enter the kitchen.

There’s a montage of tasting that skips over a lot of the dishes, but everything looks pretty impressive for the chefs improv-ing their way through this challenge.  At the top, Katsuji is praised for his combo of sweetbreads and perfectly-cooked quail egg, and James’ dish, which involves sautéed mussels in a bacon/boar broth is named top dish.  At the bottom of this quickfire, Joy’s combo of beef and veal cancelled each other out from a protein perspective, and Stacy’s pork chops were under seasoned and overcooked.3

  1. This is Puritan country, after all  
  2. The Boston Area Pseudo-Historical League has more info on the various other methods and persons responsible in these events  
  3. Although her dish was firmly in the middle, I’d also like to point out that spell check on my Mac turned Melissa’s Fritto Misto into Frito Mist, which is an entirely different concept.  

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About Ben Smith 252 Articles
Ben has been writing about TV, music, and pop culture in some form or another since 2009, including stints at Mental Floss and Temporary Obsession. When not solving puzzles of some sort or consuming pop culture at a frightening pace, he can be found collecting shiny pieces of the internet at E-mail: