Top Chef Boston: Clean Up in Aisle 2!

TOP CHEF -- "Clean Up in Aisle 2!" Episode 1208 -- Pictured: (l-r) Gail Simmons, Tom Colicchio, Padma Lakshmi -- (Photo by: David Moir/Bravo)
(Photo by: David Moir/Bravo)

A sudden death Quickfire and a challenge where the judges do the shopping shakes things up for the 7 remaining cheftestants on this week’s Top Chef Boston.

In the stew room, everyone is exhausted after last week’s Restaurant Wars, including the winner, Doug.  He’s tired, but here to kick ass.  Katie wants to rise above being in the bottom two last week, but still stands by her decision to try and save Keriann’s dish and doesn’t feel responsible for her going home.

Copley Square!  The next day, the chefs prepare themselves for the day ahead in their Boylston apartment.  Gregory is worried he’s overthinking things, then talks about running ultra-marathons, which are a thing where you run 26.2 miles, then keep running for some reason because you are a crazy person who’s okay with running 50 miles on purpose.

Quickfire

It’s Jasper White!  Finally, we’ve got a Boston chef of note (seriously, the man is a local culinary icon) as well as one where I’ve eaten at their restaurant1.  He’s here to give the 7 remaining cheftestants a chowder challenge.  It often feels like every single restaurant in Boston has their own spin on clam chowder, so Jasper asks the chefs to make him a chowder with their own spin on things.  Oh, and also?  It’s a sudden death quickfire – the lowest-placing chef is in danger of going home.

Padma gives the chefs the go-ahead and they race for the various clams available to them.  Mei grabs the entire bucket of littleneck clams and brings it over to her station.  Adam convinces her to share with him, but while Mei’s off grabbing more ingredients, some other chefs decide to take advantage of her offer and leave her with only three littlenecks.  She makes do with steamer clams, but seems pretty pissed that everyone else got the clams she wanted to use.

Doug works on an oyster chowder with clam liquor.  Gregory is doing an asian-style chowder because of course he is.  Adam, as the only New Yorker left on the show, is out to prove that Manhattan Clam Chowder is not the worst2.  Melissa takes an approach blending thai flavors with a cioppino-style stew.  Kate goes out there with a tea/sourdough comb3.  Katsuji is also taking the “go big or go home” approach with his combo of flavors.

In the end, here’s what the chefs present:

  • Mei – clam and lobster chowder, yuzu aioli, fennel
  • Katsuji – oyster chowder with poblano4, George, the first chef eliminated, is given a chance to re-join the game.

    For this sudden death round, both chefs will be cooking rabbit5.  With 45 minute to cook whichever portion they want, the chefs are given plenty of time to let themselves run wild.  George seems slow, having not spent any time in the Top Chef Kitchen, but he’s as focused on getting into the competition as Katie is at staying.  The cheftestants still in the running for the title aren’t sure if they want Katie out if it means George is back in – he’s had time to rest up and has a stronger restaurant background than Katie does.

    After the judges have tasted both Katie’s braised rabbit leg and George’s rabbit loin with mustard jus, 2 votes decides it in favor of George.  Katie is asked to pack her knives and go, and jokingly says to the remaining eliminated chefs that she’ll see them in 5 minutes.  All of the eliminated chefs will be back in Last Chance Kitchen, which starts tonight.

    1. I have some very fond memories associated with Summer Shack  
    2. Manhattan Clam Chowder is the worst, you guys.  Tomato water is not going to save you.  
    3. this also seems ill-advised. when I think “clam chowder”, I do not also think “tea-flavored” or “involves sourdough starter”  
    4. love a creen chile chowder)
    5. Gregory – razor clam sweet potato coconut milk chowder
    6. Adam – red wine poached clams, tomato water
    7. Melissa -cioppino chowder
    8. Doug – grilled oyster chowder with steamed clam broth and jalapeño
    9. Katie – clams in lobster sock with black tea and sourdough

After tasting all the chowders and giving his notes, Jasper chooses Adam, Gregory, and Melissa’s chowders as his favorites.  Gregory wins immunity, with Adam feeling always the bridesmaid, never the bride when it comes to challenges like this.  All four others are on the bottom, with Katie’s flavor experiment sticking her in last place.

With her fate in the competition up for grabs, it’s time for a twist: Tom walks into the kitchen with all the previously eliminated chefs.  THEY (well, one of them) will be facing Katie, and THEY will decide amongst themselves who will face Katie for the chance to replace her in the competition if they win.  After a round of Eurovision-style voting((no one can vote for themselves  

  • there’s something mentioned about “pulling a rabbit out of a hat”, but the rabbit is pulled from a hotel pan and there’s barely any connection to Boston.  Sorry to spoil the magic.  
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    About Ben Smith 230 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 GoodAtInter.net. E-mail: ben@whatelseison.tv