Top Chef headed to the “soul of Seattle,” as Padma Lakshmi put it, Wednesday night — Pike Place Market. Finally, we know what Padma and Marche chef Daisley Gordon were doing behind those sheets of plastic back in July. Specifically, they were heading up a quickfire challenge where contestants had to prepare breakfast “on a stick” for market vendors. (Judging from the Facebook commenters, not all were actually market vendors — but that’s reality TV.) After tussling over panini grills in Sur La Table, they prepared salmon crepes-on-a-stick, berries-and-pancetta-on-a-stick, croque-monsieur-on-a-stick, and other creations that wouldn’t tip the interest of the average Puyallup Fair guest. (Paula Deen, where are you when we need you?)
Gordon was a generous judge (“There’s seasoning in there, definitely!” he said of one entry), and pronounced Bart and Sheldon the winners for their “clever” breakfast-sandwich-on-a-stick. After that, the teams were charged with finding specific market ingredients and highlighting them at a lunch for the growers and producers. Here’s our weekly rundown of highlights and lowlights:
The winner: Once again, the featured Seattle spot came off better than any of the individual contestants. Padma announced to the world that Pike Place is filled with “some of the most magnificent ingredients” anyone could find. Daisley Gordon got to speak the line that it’s “America’s premiere farmers market.”
The losers: According to Padma, it was producers like Kurt Dammeier of Beecher’s Cheese and Debra Music of Theo Chocolate, who had to eat the lunch that the contestants prepared. “I’m sorry you guys didn’t have a better meal,” she told them. Celebrity judge Tom Colicchio commented that he didn’t have any favorites among the day’s dishes, because “they were all so bad.” Music assured the crew that they had a great time regardless.
Featured ingredients: Beecher’s cheese curds, Theo’s coconut curry chocolate bar, Scrappy’s cardamom bitters, salmon candy from Pike Place Fish Market, pickles and rose petal jelly from Woodring, truffled popcorn from Seattle Popcorn Company.
Toast of the day: Padma, raising her glass with the declaration “Long live the artisan!”
Roasts of the day: Celeb judge Hugh Acheson suggested that eating too much of Stefan and Brooke’s duck with rose petal jelly “makes you feel like you’re eating someone’s grandmother.” Contestent CJ referred to Lizzie and Danyele’s “coconut curry chocolate mousse tart” as “diabolical” and “a travesty” — until Colicchio told CJ that his own “pork crumpet burger” was even worse.
Quote of the day: Anders Miller of Pike Place Fish Market, being asked what happens if one of his stall’s famous “flying fish” should hit the floor: “We have a stunt fish.”
Clearest case of foreshadowing: “Tomorrow, I could be gone,” Tyler said at the beginning of the show. He and CJ were indeed asked to pack their knives. The culprit was the pickle on the pork crumpet burger, in theory their featured ingredient. “You couldn’t think of a better thing to do with a pickle than put it on a burger? How frigging original!” Colicchio said.” At least they’ve still got Last Chance Kitchen.
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Photo courtesy of David Moir/Bravo TV