Top Chef Boston: The Curse of the Bambino

TOP CHEF -- "The Curse of the Bambino" Episode 1203 -- Pictured: (l-r) Keriann Von Raesfeld, Gregory Gourdet, Stacy Cogswell, Dougie Adams, Katsuji Tanabe, James Rigato, Ron Eyester -- (Photo by: David Moir/Bravo)
(Photo by: David Moir/Bravo)

Top Chef Boston lets the cheftestants run wild at Fenway Park.  Who knocks it out of the park and who strikes out with the judges?

This week’s Top Chef picks up with a reminder of the conflict bubbling up with Aaron and seemingly every other chef in the stew room.  Aaron is cocky and stands behind what his team did, even if Ron (and this reviewer) think it was kind of bullshit the shenanigans going on between Aaron and Keriann last week ended with neither of them going home.  The next day, things seem to have calmed down a bit, with Aaron and James bonding over their similar backgrounds working their way through kitchens rather than going to culinary school.


The cheftestants enter the kitchen and find Padma waiting for them with chef Ming Tsai.  In addition to being known for his East Meets West cooking show on PBS, Ming also has a few restaurants in the Boston area that bring together Asian flavors and fine dining techniques.  It’s time for another sudden death quickfire!

Padma launches into an educational spiel on the Boston Tea Party.1 In the spirit of this, the chefs are being challenged to create a dish that incorporates one of 13 tea blends that, based on the descriptions that the chefs give while cooking, must have been grabbed by an intern blindly selecting whatever they could get quickest at the nearest Teavana.  Included amongst the blends is a “Chocolate and Salt” tea, which I am 90% sure is Not A Thing.  More chopping, mixing, and complaining takes place as the chefs work to make tea-infused dishes for two.

Ming and Padma make their way through all the dishes, and it’s quite impressive to see how the chefs have incorporated the tea in different ways.  At the top of the group, Melissa’s seared duck with a toasted nut oolong-infused rice, Gregory’s tuna crudo which utilized a strawberry white tea, and Ron’s duck breast with a mole sauce derived from the aforementioned chocolate/salt tea made the best impressions with Chef Ming.  Gregory earns immunity for the week with his tuna.

Not earning such high praise were James (who had too much tea beurre blanc with his crispy-skinned trout), Aaron (who completely overcooked his monkfish cheeks), and Rebecca (who didn’t give enough tea flavor in her tea-infused cake).  In the end, Aaron’s dish is decided as the worst.  Because this is a sudden death quickfire, Aaron needs to choose another chef to face.  He selects Katie, thinking it should be easy to beat a culinary school teacher.  If she beats him, he’ll go home, but if he wins, he stays.  The pressure is on; for a little extra challenge this time around, the chefs will have 30 minutes to create a dish, but the only “cooking” allowed is using some large pots full of boiling water in whatever way they want.  Aaron chops up some shrimp small enough to create a thin layer in a plastic bag that cooks into a spring roll wrapper.  Katie decides to try and show more technique and makes homemade pasta, utilizing the boiling water to also cook some elements of a sauce in a bag.  After tasting both of the dishes, Ming declares Aaron the winner, giving him a chance to redeem himself in this week’s main challenge.

  1. the show keeps going for the low-hanging fruit.  If they’re using this all now, what are we going to be doing once we get to 5 chefs?  “Chefs, Boston Cream Pie is actually a cake.  You have 30 minutes to make us a pie that is actually a cake.  GO!”  

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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: