Shockingly, this episode was kicked off with a QuickFire that was product placement-tastic. The Chefs were asked to create a dish with either nuts and grains (Carla), poultry (Jeff), meat (Hosea), fruits (Leah), seafood (Jamie), dairy (Stefan) or veggies (Fabio). The catch was that they had to use oats - Quaker Oats! - in the dish as well. Yawn. I'm not going to get into too much detail, as this QuickFire was pretty lame and I have a lot to cover in this post. Basically, pretty much every chef used the oats in the same way, as a crust of some sort for their dish. Some turned out better than others, and Stefan was declared the winner with his banana mousse with oat sugar crisp (yum).
The Elimination Challenge on this episode was much more interesting. The Chefs were each given a city that corresponded with an NFL franchise and told that they would have to create a dish that could be cooked in twenty minutes (yikes!) from a mystery basket full of ingredients associated with each city. Sound confusing? I'm not even done yet. The chefs then had to battle with a Top Chef All Star from a past season to see who could come up with the best dish. The match-ups were as follows:
- Dallas Cowboys: Stefan and Andrea, Season 1 (Stefan got to choose his city and competitor because he won the QuickFire)
- New Orleans: Carla vs. Andrew, Season 4 (speaker of my favorite Top Chef line of all time - "I've got a culinary boner right now.")
- Miami Dolphins: Jeff vs. Josie, Season 2 (and owner of one of the most famous faux-hawks in Top Chef history)
- Seattle: Hosea vs. Miguel, Season 1
- Green Bay: Fabio vs. Spike, Season 4 (I was never impressed with Spike, and always found him decidedly creepy)
- New York: Leah vs. Nikki, Season 4
- San Francisco: Jamie vs. Camille, Season 3
We could certainly have a lively debate about whether or not these are truly "All Stars", but that is really neither here nor there. Stefan clearly didn't respect Andrea when he picked her, which made it even greater when she beat his Euro-ass in the challenge. What about salad said "Dallas" to Stefan? Not sure, but he was pretty clearly not taking the whole thing very seriously and it burned him.I thought Hosea's dish, a crispy salmon roll with ginger blackberry sauce, sounded and looked really yummy. Carla's gumbo also looked tasty, and I was certainly impressed that she made a freakin' gumbo in 20 minutes.
In the biggest surprise of the week, Carla won the challenge. I thought for sure she was done for this week (and still think she is the weakest chef on the show), but I guess her gumbo was really as good as it looked.