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

Anyway, the chefs will shop today and then have two hours of prep/cook time at Blaze’s restaurant before serving the judges tomorrow. Whole Foods goes the same as it usually does—EXCEPT there’s a very cute girl working at the seafood counter.

img2Oh hai!

That evening, Emeril visits the chefs. He brings a lot of wine, so I’m not sure if he wants to hear their deepest, darkest secrets or give them wine-hangovers in an attempt to sabotage the challenge. Could go either way. He asks them about how the competition is going, and the overall consensus is: hard.

The next day the chefs get to Blaze’s restaurant and start cooking. Wesley is knocking shit over, as per usual. He’s nervous because he’s at Blaze’s spot and he’s pairing food with Blaze’s beer (which is full of flavors he doesn’t usually use) and he just became Executive Chef at Blaze’s restaurant in Atlanta. Seems like it could be a recipe for disaster.

The judges arrive at the restaurant along with a couple of other guys—one from each of the breweries—ready to taste the food. The dishes inspired by Padma’s beer are up first. The judges all really like both Beardy’s roasted opah and Amar’s sous-vide chicken (with jalapeno popper).

Next up is Blaze’s beer. Karen’s duck is totally a hit (woo!), but Wesley’s lamb is dry, and his beet puree is just kind of meh. Baldy’s duck is good, but it sounds like Karen’s was better.

Emeril’s beer is the next course. Marjorie’s dish is really delicious, but the judges aren’t getting the beer flavor out of it. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Boston Carl’s short rib matches the beer a little too closely. Bunhead’s dish is, unfortunately, pretty good.

Last but not least, the chefs with Tom’s beer serve their dishes. Cajun’s dish is okay, but there are few simple things that would’ve made it better. The judges are really impressed by Kwame’s chicken mojo but do not like Jason’s squid meatballs very much.

At Judges’ Table, Karen, Amar, and Kwame come out on top. The judges loved the assertive flavors of Amar’s dish, could not get enough of Karen’s beet sauce, and appreciated how Kwame showcased banana. Karen is the winner! Yeah, girl—get it!

img3Go Karen! (Also, this screenshot looks like a Renaissance painting, and I love it.)

On the bottom for this challenge: Jason, Cajun, and Wesley. Cajun’s dish felt disconnected and also, he didn’t execute his velouté well. Wesley’s plate was messy, and his lamb was overcooked. Jason’s dish was just plain bizarre, and the squid tentacles were slimy. In the end, the judges send Wesley home, which means he’s up against Angelina again in Last Chance Kitchen.

Next week on Top Chef: Did I spy Chef Mei?! I sure hope so!