‘Top Chef: Seattle’ recap: ‘Wolfgang Clucks’

Waah-waah. I’m still so disappointed that Kristen nobly fell on her sword, and I think a few of the chefs who have souls and aren’t Sheldon (who is, rightfully, pretty happy) are feeling a little sad about her exit. Stefan say that he would have thrown Josie under the bus like it’s no tomorrow, but he thinks she’ll be back via “Last Chance Kitchen.” I think he’s right. 

Meanwhile, Josie is weepy. This is the first elimination in which she feels some guilt. Shocking! Lizze feels it’s a little awkward being around Josie. Really? I thought it was just annoying to be around her. 

Quickfire Challenge! Mr. Katsuya Uechi is in the house, and he’s the L.A. sushi guy. He wants the chefs to make people happy. There’s no immunity at stake, but the winner of this challenge gets $5,000. Snidely Josh doesn’t know a lot about sushi, as he doesn’t crave it the way he craves bacon. So, he’s making sushi with bacon. Stefan thinks he would have his fingers cut off in Tokyo. But Stefan is having chef’s block. 

Josie is bringing a New England clam chowder to her dish. Oh, oh no. Lizzie feels sushi is an art, but not her art. Let no one think this is just about slopping some raw fish on a plate. 


Yellowtail with grilled shiitake & raw lobster with seaweed & unagi

Katsuya wants to know if he seared the lobster. He didn’t, but Katsuya still think it tastes good.


Halibut with yuzu & bacon aioli

What’s with all the bacon in the sushi challenge? Padma asks Katsuya if he’s ever used bacon in sushi. He hasn’t, but the idea is good (coming soon to a sushi place near you). Still, he thinks it could have used more punch.


Lobster, micro greens & pickled ginger with yuzu-sake broth

Katsuya thinks she could have used some rice. 


Octopus with yuzu & grated wasabi

He likes it, and thinks it’s a very clean taste. I’m almost betting she wins, given that Katsuya said at the beginning he didn’t like a lot of crap on his sushi. This is not the guy you go to asking for a weird special roll.


Tempura bacon, omelette, salmon belly & yuzu kosho aioli

Katsuya thinks it’s thick and oily.


Hamachi sashimi with fresh ponzu, mitsuba & lemon charcoal

He thinks the burning lemon was interesting. Sheldon is hopeful.

Katsuya thinks everyone worked very hard. That does not mean everyone was good. He thought Lizzie’s tempura was chewy and by pouring hot liquid on cold fish, it made the fish fishier. He tells Josh the bacon was too greasy. 

What he liked, Brooke’s dish was nice and clean. He also liked Stefan’s yellowtail sauce. The winner is… Stefan! Hey, go figure! It took him 27 challenges, but he finally one won!

Elimination Challenge! Our special judges will be David Chang, chef/owner of Momfuku Noodle Bar & Ma Peche, and Tom Colicchio. The challenge? Tom’s invited David and some other great chefs to dinner, and he’s in the mood for fried chicken, which the cheftestans will be cooking up. Snidely Josh is sure he can win this. The winner gets a year’s supply of Terlato wine. Stefan thinks 365 bottles would probably last him three and a half months. 

Stefan likes breasts and thighs, yuk yuk, yuk. 

Snidely Josh is brining from the inside. Josie is using hot sauce. Josie is sure she can win this! For some reason! Brooke thinks this is going to be her toughest challenge yet. 

Liz isn’t doing the traditional American fried chicken, and it sounds good, but a coriander rub? Hmmm…

The judges gather and drink. Vinny Dotolo (Son of A Gun), Michelle Bernstein (Michy’s), Jon Shook (Son of a Gun), Wolfgang Puck and Emeril Lagasse join Tom, David and Padma. Tom proposes a chain of chicken restaurants called Wolfgang Cluck. 

Brooke discovers she doesn’t have time to fry her chicken skins, and now she’s just making plain old chicken breasts. Oh no. 

Josie, Lizzie and Sheldon are up first. Man, this is a relentlessly protein-centric challenge.

Sheldon – Umami drumsticks & thighs, wings with usukuchi & grape seed oil

Lizzie – Chicken with coriander, black pepper & brown sugar rub with peach-cabbage slaw

Josie – Chicken with black garlic, cayenne, thyme & hot sauce with daikon salad

Lizzie’s chicken is a hit, except with Tom. He thinks she doesn’t understand fried chicken. But he likes the salad. Jon thinks Josie’s chicken is enough to get her run out of the South. Wolfgang thinks it’s oily. Vinny thought it wasn’t even spicy. Michelle had to put it down. Everyone likes Sheldon’s, but David thinks it was uncool that he didn’t make enough for everyone.

Stefan, Brooke and Snidely Josh

Stefan – Chicken cordon bleu with garlic aoli & lemon

Snidely Josh – Smoked fried chicken with hot sauce and blue cheese

Brooke – Dukkah-crusted chicken breast with wilted escarole & tomato salad

Padma asks Brooke is she remembers Vinny and Jon. She not only doesn’t remember them, she didn’t hire them when they interviewed to be line cooks for her. Yes, this is a bad day for Brooke.

And it just gets worse. Wolfgang holds up her chicken and says it’s so bad, it shouldn’t even be on a show called “The Apprentice,” much less “Top Chef.” Tom thinks it’s dried out. Vinny’s now glad he didn’t work for her. Michelle loves Snidely Josh’s chicken. Tom thought it had the most flavor of any chicken on the table. Emeril has the chicken cordon blues over Stefan’s chicken. How embarrassing — both the L.A. chefs roll out only breasts. 

God, I hope Josie is going home, but I can’t bet on it. 

Stefan calls his mom, who has Parkinson’s disease. He tears up. Stefan isn’t a robot after all! 

Snidely Josh, Sheldon and Lizzie are called up first. They are the top three. They give Lizzie props for crisp chicken. They liked Josh’s chicken. The only problem they had with Sheldon’s chicken was there wasn’t enough. The winner is… Snidely Josh. Gee, I’m not surprised a fried challenge is his win. Maybe the huge quantity of wine will keep his arteries open.

Brooke, Stefan and Josie are, of course, the bottom three. 

Tom tells Brooke her first mistake was taking the chicken off the bone. Wolfgang thinks she overcomplicated things. David thinks Josie’s chicken was a gut bomb. She says she ran out of time. Tom thinks this is happening a lot — she’s wasting time, not running out of time.

Josie argues that everyone else loved her chicken. Tom guesses the judges didn’t know what they were talking about. Tom doesn’t see Stefan’s meal as a twist on fried chicken. It’s bad banquet cuisine. Emeril thought it just wasn’t good. 

So, who goes home? The judges talk. David thinks Brooke should go home. No! Tom thinks it was still better than Josie’s dish. Wolfgang thinks it would put you on a diet. But Padma thinks it was at least fried chicken. Emeril recently had chicken cordon bleu– two flights ago. 

So, who’s going home? And if not Josie, who does she has naked pictures of?

Josie is going home. Thank goodness. Josie can’t believe she’s going home for fried chicken. It’s kind of stupid! And so fitting. Snidely Josh is glad to see her go home mostly because it’s getting rid of her laugh. Josie pats herself on the back for getting to the final six and throwing down. Okay. 

Who do you think deserved to be sent home? Do you prefer sushi or fried chicken? Do you think Kristen will beat Josie in “Last Chance Kitchen”?