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All You Can Eat

Trend-setting restaurants, Northwest cookbooks, local food news and the people who make them happen.

January 10, 2013 at 12:26 AM

‘Top Chef Seattle’ does the Bite of Seattle

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Piroshkis? Strawberry shortcake? There was none of that on the private end of the Bite of Seattle we saw on Wednesday night’s ‘Top Chef Seattle.’ The show, filmed in July, called for the eight remaining contestants to come up with a restaurant concept and a signature dish to serve in a booth at the Bite, which Padma Lakshmi called “one of the city’s premiere restaurant showcases.” (Well…) With no apparent price constraints, cheftestants turned out dishes like Thai lobster bisque and seared ribeyes and plates loaded with slices of raw fish. Here’s our weekly roundup of the highlights and lowlights:

“The biggest restaurant guy in the world”: According to Stefan, that would be celeb judge Wolfgang Puck.

“The best restaurateur in America”: New York’s Danny Meyer, said Josh.

“A god of the restaurant world”: Once again, Meyer, according to Brooke.

But once again, isn’t this a Seattle show?: We did get credited cameos by Maria Hines, Jason Franey, Thierry Rautureau, Tom Douglas, and Jerry and Kathy Klingen (owners of Salty’s.) Brian Canlis told Stefan how much he loved the lobster broth, which Stefan then promptly sprayed all over him in a blender disaster.

One of the most versatile and refreshing ingredients in the world”: Ginger, said Lakshmi. Sadly, when the producers went on to assign it for the quickfire challenge, it was via the product placement of the soda that appears to only include ginger as a “natural flavor.”

Quickfire winner: Brooke, who heard from Puck that her ginger caramel squid could have been on one of his menus. Good thing she won immunity, because her “Unkosher” restaurant concept for the elimination challenge — “Jewish food gone awry,” like perhaps ham sandwiches on challah bread — was hard to swallow.

What we thought was foreshadowing, but wasn’t: Josie saying “I really think I’m going home this time.” Judge Tom Colicchio pointed out that Josie forgets the same basics again and again. Her time-management was once again poor, her Cuban pork was greasy, and Meyer told her that “the minute I tried to put my fork into that pork and the pork fought back, I said, this is going to be a problem.” But Josie survived.

Did he really say that? Contestants got to pick assistants from among their former colleagues, and Stefan chose Carla. As many times as I re-ran the DVR, he still seemed to be saying “I had moments when I wanted to strangle Carla or just shank her, but she is super fast and her butt is always cute.”

Dis on raw food: When Micah decided his restaurant would feature raw food, Josh said it seemed like a watered-down idea that “is not really showcasing your talents as a chef.” You going to say that to the faces of these folks?

On the other hand: Micah was asked to pack his knives and go home. The judges felt his dish lacked passion and risk, and didn’t like that he sliced his fish ahead of time. “If this is not adding something to the dialogue on really good sushi, who needs it?” said Meyer. (Micah had hoped for raw “surf and turf,” but couldn’t find any suitable meats, so stuck to fish and veggies.)

Winners: Sheldon, for his modern Filipino restaurant featuring sour tamarind soup, and Kristen (now at $45,000 in winnings, I believe) for her French, formal-leaning slow-cooked egg with Camembert mustard sauce and buttered radishes. They’ll fight against each other next week in the second part of the “Restaurant Wars” concept.

Any season winners emerging yet?

Photo of Kristen Kish by David Moir/Bravo

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