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All You Can Eat

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

January 17, 2013 at 1:01 AM

‘Top Chef Seattle’: Water cooler outrage

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Stop reading now if you haven’t seen Wednesday night’s episode of ‘Top Chef Seattle,” because we’re about to spoil the ending. But your friends who watch have already probably spoiled it for you, by complaining so loudly about who got sent home that you couldn’t help but hear.

The “Restaurant Wars” edition, pitting Sheldon’s modern Filipino food against Kristen’s re-imagined French fare, came down to a judging deadlock between Kristen and her restaurant teammate Josie. Josie — who had been picked on consistently over the past few episodes, often with cause — made some serious mistakes on the dish she was charged with cooking. As usual, her errors in timing tripped her up. She neglected to roast bones for stock a day in advance as Kristen had wanted, and then delayed the stock too long on the critical cooking day, meaning the final dish didn’t come out the way Kristen had planned it. The judges wanted to know who was at fault. Both admitted they had issues, but Kristen, who had been a favorite to win the season, accepted ultimate responsibility, as the perfectionist head of the team — and got axed for it.

“We know that everyone is going to watch this episode and be mad at us, because when you watch it, you see Josie not pulling her weight, Josie not following orders, not getting the stock done the day before,” celebrity judge Gail Simmons wrote on the show’s blog. (Judges didn’t see those behind-the-scenes details before making their decisions.)

Josie, feeling the glares of the remaining chefs, said on camera that she understood they were annoyed with her, but “the last time I checked we were all here to win.”

Kristen commented that “I understand that people want to save their a$%%&. I do too, but at least I know I’m going home with my integrity intact.”

Here’s a rundown of the week’s other highlights and lowlights:

The Seattle scene: Restaurant Wars took place at the Georgetown Ballroom. Jason Franey of Canlis and Ethan Stowell got credited cameo shots, as did Tom Douglas and Thierry Rautureau again. The cheftestants once again shopped at Central Market and Uwajimaya.

The most rudely treated person in the room: Whoever that poor woman was who asked for a drink at the end of Sheldon’s meal. Stefan, managing the front of the house, had wanted to clear her table. “Really, b$#%#?” he spouted to the camera.

Should have gone home: Besides Josie, the most obvious candidate was Stefan, who was only saved because he was on Sheldon’s superior team. Padma Lakshmi said flat-out that he deserved to get cut for his atrocious service. (“I’m not a server, I’m a chef!” was his aggrieved reply.) “The way he made us feel is worse than the bouillabaisse,” said celeb chef Emeril Lagasse, who, it should be known, really hated the bouillabaisse.

Most disturbing description: Lizzie, working on Kristen’s team, created a “charcuterie soup” that looked about as appealing as it sounded. But the judges loved it.

Proof that plays on words do not always translate to good food: Kristen’s dessert, a mix of the American macaroon and the French macaron.

The wrong person lost, but the right one won: Sheldon came out strong with his appetizing adobo.

With Kristen gone, who’s the new favorite to win?

Photo by David Moir/Bravo

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