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Top Chef recap: Pike Place Pickle

The contestants must feed the denizens of Pike Place Market using custom ingredients provided by the vendors themselves. Alas, rose petal jelly makes a poor meal

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Top Chef

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

Hello, Top Chef lovers! I’m filling in for the lovely Stephan this week, so I hope you’ll forgive me since I haven’t been watching this season quite as religiously as I should have. Boy, did this episode show me what happens when I start slacking! No challenge winner? That’s just nuts. Like Stephan, I’ve been worried that this season might be a bit of a “drama fest” (as Josh so eloquently put it), and for an instant at the end of “Pike Place Pickle,” I dared hope that we’d be getting rid of the mustachioed menace and focusing on food instead of diabolical lip hair (no offense to mustaches, of course). Alas, he lives to fight another day. SERENITY NOW! But I get ahead of myself.

This episode opened on everyone reminiscing about the dearly departed Carla. “She’s the only person in my room,” Eliza announced pityingly. “I’m all by myself now.” “Need a roommate?” Josie offered. Eliza got crazy eyes and quickly backtracked. “No, I’m good.” You could practically feel her blood pressure spike. Meanwhile, Stefan lived in fear of the “birthday curse” — he turned 40 this episode and as everybody knows, people rarely survive elims on their b-days. Also: Josh was depressed. Awww. He’s excelled at the Quickfires, but bottomed out in the Elimination Challenges. Too bad “Pike Place Pickle” wasn’t any different.

The alarms went off bright and early at 3:45 a.m. and the gang headed out for the titular Pike Place Market, one of the oldest farmer’s markets in the US and where Eliza was proposed to. Eliza’s husband, I judge you. There, they met Padma, as well as Daisley Gordon, Chef Partner at Seattle’s Marché. And what was this week’s Quickfire Challenge, pray tell? Making breakfast to go for the vendors of Pike Place Market. Doesn’t sound too bad, right? But then Padma dropped this bombshell: “On. A. Stick.” Dum, dum, duuum. Maybe it’s just the fact that my so-called refined palette consists of distinguishing between McDonald’s and Five Guys, but breakfast on a stick doesn’t seem too hard. The chefs looked repulsed, though, and WTFs abounded. They split into teams of two, some happily and some not so happily, then bolted for their supplies.

NEXT: What makes a good breakfast food? Discuss.