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Top Chef recap: Chum Bucket

The chefs prepare super-fresh salmon and super-old sourdough for Alaskans who really know their salmon and sourdough

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David Moir/Bravo

Top Chef

TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
Tom Colicchio, Padma Lakshmi, Gail Simmons
Reality TV

Without Stefan, I thought there would be a sharp decrease in bawdy quips among the final four, but right off the top of the episode, Sheldon took up the anatomical humor torch like a champ. “I better put on a couple extra underwear just so I can keep the package nice and warm,” he said. Thanks for that, Sheldon, that was gorgeous! Being from that other, much warmer non-continental State, he was particularly unused to the cold. Yet he and the other chefs braved the elements to visit Tracy’s King Crab Shack, which Padma described as “Juneau’s No. 1 culinary destination,” which I can totally believe. Crab is awesome. Have you ever been to an all-you-can-eat buffet with your entire extended family and completely cleaned the place out of crab legs as your dad yelled at you when he saw you eating rice because you were filling up with cheap carbs instead of precious, precious crab legs? Of course you have.

Guest judge Sean Brock, chef and owner of Husk and McCrady’s in Charleston, also loves crab and warned the chefs — rather crankily, I might add — that their Quickfire Challenge dishes better be good because he traveled 13 hours to try them. This whole episode, Sean Brock came across as rather unpleasant — perhaps after meeting him, Josh started to idolize him a little bit less.

The challenge required the chefs to feature crab, although the dishes had to amount to more than just crab with lemon dipped in butter. However, Brooke kept her dish rather simple and strove to keep the simplicity of the drawn butter flavor, but she elevated the butter by making it out of Dungeness crab, which she then slathered on King crab meat atop toast with sweet corn and leek salad. Sean didn’t want to like Brooke’s dish because it was so “easy,” but he called it “flat-out delicious.”

Still, the crab toast didn’t quite reach the heights of Sheldon‘s Alaskan king crab leg with Dungeness crab miso, asparagus, and charred corn, for which Sheldon won $5,000. Less successful were Lizzie‘s crab frittata with too many capers and Josh‘s poached crab with succotash and, wait for it… bacon. When Sean told him the bacon was unnecessary, Josh looked like a child who’d been punched in the face by Superman.

NEXT: My life’s goal is to outlive my sourdough starter…