“Top Chef: California” recap (13.6): Fish Tacos

Previously on Top Chef: I pretended I was Chrissy Teigen while Padma flirted with her/me, got emotional when Padma married 25 same-sex couples (while wearing an amazingly gorgeous suit), hoped really hard for Bunhead’s elimination, was terrified Karen was going to get sent home, and relieved when she didn’t. It was a wild ride, y’all.

This week’s episode picks up immediately post-elimination. Karen admits that she dodged a bullet, and everyone tells Bunhead he’s an idiot. Quality content, basically. The next day, the chefs head to San Diego! It turns out Beardy is from San Diego, so he’s nervous about letting his city down. The chefs meet Padma and Chef Javier Plascencia down by the water for their Quickfire Challenge.

The chefs have 20 minutes to create the best damn fish taco they can because this is a Sudden Death Quickfire, and the worst taco will be up for elimination. (Insert obligatory fish taco joke.) At the end of 20 minutes, Angelina just barely finishes plating… on her cutting board. She has nothing on her plates. Oh, honey.

The top tacos (hah) belong to Karen, Beardy, and Kwame. Beardy wins, so he feels pretty validated right now. Bunhead gets super meow-y about not being in the top. I am 1000% percent done with him. Dear Bravo, please make it stop. Anyway, Angelina is obviously up for elimination because the judges couldn’t taste her food. She chooses Wesley to cook against.

Angelina and Wesley have 20 minutes to create a dish using only the ingredients from a Caesar salad. There is a lot of heckling in this battle, I’ve got to say. Wesley looks super unfocused, so there’s a chance Angelina will slip through again. The judges taste both dishes – Wesley wins, so Angelina is eliminated. It’s sad because she seemed sweet, but it was probably her time to go.

After the chefs say goodbye to Angelina, Padma welcomes Tom and some of the other usual suspects—Blaze and Emeril. Padma congratulates the chefs on making it to the halfway point of the competition, and Emeril passes out beers! Looks like a fun day on the pier, right? But Karen (and probably everyone watching because we’ve all seen Top Chef before) has a feeling this beer represents more than a celebration.

She’s right! It turns out that the judges collaborated on these particular beers with Stone and Ballast Point Brewing Companies, and the chefs’ Elimination Challenge is to create a dish that captures the flavors in their judge’s specialty beer.

img1Honestly, he makes it too easy.

The judges describe the flavors they used to brew their specialty beers.

Padma’s beer: jalapeno, ginger, and tamarind

Blaze’s beer: beets, chocolate, and ras el hanout (North African spice blend)

Emeril’s beer: coffee, cayenne, and tangerine

Tom’s beer: lemon, coriander, and banana

10/10 I think I would prefer Padma’s beer over all the others.