Top Chef Boston: First Thanksgiving

The Top Chef house is greeted by a lovely guest– Boston’s own Tiffani Faison, Top Chef season 1 alum.  I was just talking about Tiffani and her restaurant with some Boston bloggers earlier this week, so it was especially nice to see her on my TV!

Well, Tiffani takes the chefs on a little field trip to an Ocean Spray cranberry bog.  Growing up, our sports teams were part of the Cranberry Conference, so like, they’re pretty important to Massachusetts.  I’ve been super into cranberries as of late, be they in my sangria or dried and in cookies.  I’ve never had to harvest cranberries, though, which are cheftestants have to do.  The first four to fill up their crates get an advantage in the Quickfire!  Katie, Adam, Gregory, and Doug finish in that order.

Back at the Top Chef kitchen, Padma and Tiffani announce the cranberry Quickfire.  The 4 winners of the cranberry harvest get to use a high quality pantry to make a dish highlighting cranberries.  The rest of the cheftestants have a lower quality pantry of packaged goods.  Tiffani tells them to stay away from Thanksgiving and to make a year-round cranberry dish.

  • Mei has no problem with the lower quality ingredients.  She makes “sweet and sour pork, homie” that lands her in the top 3.
  • Doug’s doesn’t exactly take Tiffani away from Thanksgiving, but she says it “tastes like fall in New England.”  If you’ve been to New England in the fall, you’d know there’s no higher compliment than that.  Doug lands in the top 3.
  • Katie made cranberry borscht which a lot of people were skeptical of.  It worked out, though, since she won the Quickfire and immunity for the elimination challenge.
  • Katsuji, who used skirt steak for tartar, Adam, who didn’t even like his dish, and Stacy, who’s been struggling under the pressure of representing the city, are the bottom 3.

For the elimination challenge, the cheftestants are headed to Plimouth Plantation to cook and honor the First Thanksgiving.

Plimouth Plantation is a horrible field trip, and I’d imagine, an equally horrible place in which to cook.  There are a lot of pits and spits and smoking.  Traditional First Thanksgiving fare includes a lot of seafood.  Duh guys, this is Massachusetts!  Plymouth is coastal.

Tom is joined by Ken Oringer as he checks on the cheftestants.  All the smoke has everyone’s eyes watering.  “I guess some of the tears will give some flavor to my food,” ventures Katsuji.  Gregory thinks, “in the spirit of Thanksgiving, getting a bird on the table is important,” as he cooks goose inside a sweltering hut.

The Top Chef Thanksgiving table of course includes Tom, Ken, Padma, Gail, descendants of the Mayflower, and Wampanoag tribe members.

Here’s what the table is served:

IMG_6511 IMG_6512 IMG_6513 IMG_6514

The cool thing is that all of the dishes are really well received.  Everyone impressed at this table, and I had no idea who to expect to be on the bottom!

On top this week are Doug, Katsuji, and Mei, who are all very much proving they’re forces to be reckoned with.  Katsuji wins!

On the bottom this week are Stacy, Melissa, and Gregory.  I’m sad to see all of them there.  I’m sad to see Stacy be asked to pack her knives, but there’s always Last Chance Kitchen!  Plus, Stacy seemed really relieved to get rid of that pressure.

With restaurant wars coming up next, it seems so unfair that we have to wait until December!

What did you think of The First Thanksgiving on Top Chef: Greater Boston Area?

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