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January 24, 2013 at 12:11 AM

‘Top Chef Seattle’: Winner, winner, chicken dinner


Spoiler alert: We’re recapping each episode of Top Chef during its season in Seattle. Don’t read further unless you want to know what happened on Wednesday night’s show.

Go ahead, Josie-haters, you can cheer now. The fairly-maligned contestant lost Top Chef fair and square Wednesday night, showing the same time management problems in her fried chicken challenge that have plagued her throughout the season.

More than her greasy chicken, Josie may have irritated the judges to the breaking point by questioning their judgement on her food, which celebrity guest David Chang described as “this gut bomb and not in a good way.” Josie responded that “I had a piece and I thought it was delicious. Lizzie thought it was delicious. Everyone who tasted it thought it was delicious.” Judge Tom Colicchio snapped back that he supposed the members of the high-octane judging panel had “no idea what we’re talking about.”

(As Tampa food writer Jeff Houck put it, “I think the only way Josie could be thought less of by viewers of #TopChef is if her headband read “LIVESTRONG.”)

“It’s always a good time here at the Top Chef kitchen,” Josie said before exiting, managing to escape a proffered hug from Stefan. Her competitors weren’t particularly gracious, with Josh snarking that “thank God the Josie show has been cancelled,” rejoicing that they had eliminated her annoying laugh as well as the extra competition.

Here’s our weekly roundup of the show’s other highlights and lowlights:

Look, it’s Shiro Kashiba and local ‘Jiro’ apprentice Daisuke Nakazawa!: No, that was Nancy Leson’s latest column. Actually, for its quickfire competition on sushi-making, Top Chef flew in Katsuya Uechi from Los Angeles. Too bad they didn’t double-up on Seattleisms instead and have Hajime Sato of Mashiko lead a sustainable-sushi contest. (Stefan won the quickfire, by the way — his first win.)

It’s a fried chicken challenge! Here comes local fried chicken legend Ezell Stephens and fusion fried chicken king/Food and Wine ‘Best New Chef’ Mark Fuller and classic Kenyetta Carter from Kingfish Cafe! Sorry, again, no. Instead, Top Chef brought in Chang, plus the guys from a place called “Son of a Gun” in Los Angeles, and Miami chef Michelle Bernstein.

How we knew the show was filmed in Seattle: The fried chicken dinner was held at a rental home with a gorgeous waterfront view. That’s all.

What were they drinking? The judges, though harsh on the contestants, seemed to be having a great and practically tipsy time on the house’s expansive patio, tossing back glasses of wine and trading barbs.

Revenge is a dish best served from a deep-fat fryer: Turns out that Brooke interviewed the Son of a Gun guys years ago as potential line cooks. They didn’t get the jobs. After tasting her fried chicken, they opined that they’d been lucky.

Simplicity? The judges stressed that they didn’t want anything fancy. “Some of the dishes were just too complicated for no reason…At the end, keep it $@# simple always works,” Wolfgang Puck told them at the end. The judges reamed Stefan for his fried chicken cordon bleu, saying it seemed he was trying to get clever about it instead of giving them what they asked him to do. (There were digressions on whether Europeans do know, or should know, much about fried chicken.) Then they handed Josh the win for his smoked fried chicken with blue cheese and celery, which seems like a cleverly fancy take on Buffalo wings.

What will he be drinking? Instead of the $10,000 bonus or new car that other winners have received, Josh got 365 bottles of wine. I hope it’s the good stuff.

Photo: We didn’t get much Seattle this week, but at least the view was beautiful. Photo courtesy of David Moir/Bravo TV



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