Top Chef Boston: 12 Chefs Walk Into a Bar…

I loved this episode title so much, I wanted to use it for my recap too!  Fresh off Gregory’s back-to-back wins, some of the cheftestants are feeling a bit threatened.  Some, like Keriann, are starting to feel a bit homesick.  Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name

A note telling the cheftestants to meet her at 84 Beacon Street signed “Cheers, Padma” clues the chefs into their next location: CHEERS!  Stacy, my local girl, admits that she may have been asked to leave Cheers once, and was maybe not even aware they had food.

When they arrive at Cheers, George Wendt is there to help judge the Quickfire.  The chefs yell “Norm!” as soon as he appears and I couldn’t be happier.  Padma explains that Boston is a bar town, and that by law all bars must serve food here.  I actually didn’t know that.  The Quickfire Challenge is simple: make a tasty bar snack!

Some highlights:

Let's be real, I'll eat anything with an egg on it, but mayonnaise and peanut butter?  You have my attention, sir.

Let’s be real, I’ll eat anything with an egg on it, but mayonnaise and peanut butter? You have my attention, sir.

  • Aaron makes a burger with mayonnaise and peanut butter.  When Padma tastes it, she exclaims, “Oh my god, it’s not bad!”  I am infinitely intrigued.
  • Gregory drops a couple of burger buns as he plates and serves, and ends up presenting an incomplete dish.
  • George and Padma drink beers while they taste.  Padma said this was shot at 6 am, which is obvious from the completely empty bar, and by 7 am she was basically drunk.  Well, let’s just say, she seems like she’s having fun.

Gregory’s burger problems land him on the bottom, with James, who made a crudité that George says “just doesn’t feel like bar food.”

On the top we have Keriann, whose crab put her in favor with George, and Katsuji with his ceviche.  Katsuji wins immunity!  And wow, was this a good time to win it.

Michael Schlow comes out to announce the elimination challenge.  The cheftestants are to group themselves in threes to create a classic 3-course Italian menu at his restaurant, Via Matta.  The team whose menu is ordered the most wins the challenge.  Two will go home this week.

Here are the teams:

  • Orange: Adam, Mei, Doug
  • Purple: Katsuji, Greg, Aaron
  • Gray: Melissa, James, Keriann
  • Blue: Rebecca, Stacy, Katie

Michael Schlow stays in the kitchen to expedite.  Blue and purple get a lot of orders right away.  Gray’s momentum picks up as well.  Orange is pretty slow goings.  Of course, if the judges like your food, you’re safe.

In the dining room, Padma, Tom, Richard, and guest Emmy Rossum (Shameless) eagerly await their food.  There’s one twist: Emmy is gluten-free, and the chefs haven’t planned for this.

Purple is the first to serve the judges.


For the gluten-free option, Katsuji simple removes the pasta from his pasta dish calling it a deconstructed ravioli.  Despite the sad display, it looks like Emmy got lucky as no one is a fan of the pasta.

Next up is Orange.


The menu is not a hit with the diners, but the food is a hit with the judges.  Adam handles Emmy’s allergy well, making red quinoa polenta with seafood brodo in place of his pasta dish.  Fun fact of the Orange team: Mei is known as “the fish bitch” at home.  I kind of love that.

Gray goes next.


Melissa’s dish is well-received as her pasta and peas are better by comparison to other teams’.  Her gluten-free option for Emmy rounds delicious: risotto with bacon-parmesan broth and spring pea purée.  Very smart substitute!

Finally, Blue serves.IMG_6382

Katie’s pasta is delicious, and she makes zucchini pasta for Emmy to keep her dish in-tact.  (That’s supposed to say “basil-walnut pesto” but I guess I capped too fast!)  That’s the best dish for this team, though…

For judging, Michael Schlow joins Padma, Tom, and Richard at the table.

The winning team, the one who sold the most menus, is Purple!  Katsuji’s ravioli gets a lot of criticism, but he had immunity and his team carried him to safety.

Orange is safe, since the judges really liked their food.

On the bottom: James, Stacy, and Rebecca.

James & Rebecca are asked to pack their knives.


I might be biased, since Stacy is my hometown hero, but I really think the judges made the right decision tonight.  James lets his point of view get muddled, and ends up forgettable.  His dish didn’t seem Italian to the judges.  Rebecca is no stand-out either– she played it safe with scallops to entice diners and just didn’t deliver.  I love how Emmy pointed out her fennel was promised to be charred, and just wasn’t.

What did you guys think of the double elimination?

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