Surprises are always in abundance in the Top Chef kitchen. To recap Top Chef Season 14 episode 7, the chefs were stunned to see the zodiac elements of earth, wind, fire, and water in the kitchen. While the chefs were still clueless, Padma Lakshmi introduced guest judge, Michael Cimarusti, for the Quickfire Challenge. It required the chefs to take inspiration from their zodiac signs, and use ingredients from the zodiac elements to create their signature dishes. One out of the three chefs with the lowest scores had to get eliminated.
The Sudden Death Quickfire Challenge
Sheldon Simeon is a Cancer, which is a water sign. He decided to make Filipino ceviche with coconut milk. Emily Hahn and Casey Thompson, both Aquarians and air signs, used chicken wings. The rest of the chefs were fire signs and picked up the ingredients from their specific element.
Jamie Lynch rustled up dusted lamb chop with fire-roasted pepper salad and toasted cashew jus, and it was a big hit. His dish gave him immunity against elimination. Katsuji Tanabe’s experimentation with the fire element also turned out to be super hit. He dished out charred onion with cauliflower puree, fire-roasted habanero, and shishito pepper salsa. Sylva Senat’s fire-roasted poblano couscous with cherry smoke couldn’t help him fight against the elimination round.
Emily Hahn’s pan-seared chicken wings with spaetzle and herb salad gained enough appreciation, however, the chicken lacked in texture and flavor. Jim Smith’s too-watery fire sign dish of charred bison with watermelon dashi drowned him to elimination. The remaining three chefs battled in a tie-breaking challenge.
The Tie-Breaker Challenge
For the tie-breaking challenge, Graham Elliot instructed the chefs to prepare a dish picking up the ingredients from the earth elements as none of the chefs were of earth signs. The three chefs had three minutes to come together and decide upon a common dish they would prepare and they agreed upon steak tartare.
Emily Hahn served the steak tartare with egg and over-seasoned handmade potato chips. Senat’s under-seasoned tataki-style version with beet juice was better than Smith’s steak with the least plating. Unfortunately, Smith had to leave.
The Treasure Hunt for Ingredients
After the zodiac sign elimination round, there was one more elimination. The nine chefs were divided into teams of three—yellow, black, and red. They had to prepare dishes for a large pirate party, however, it wasn’t as simple as it sounds. The twist was that the chefs had to go on a treasure hunt for ingredients throughout Charleston!
The yellow team comprised of Shirley Chung, Sylva Senat, and Sheldon Simeon. The black team had Brooke Williamson, Casey Thompson, and Katsuji Tanabe. The red team included Jamie Lynch, John Tesar, and Emily Hahn.
Each team was given a special map, which guided them towards seven hidden treasure chests of ingredients. The first team to reach the location could take away the ingredients of their choice. The last team, unfortunately, had to make use of what was leftover.
The three teams presented their dishes with the yellow team emerging as the winner. Shirley Chung’s “crewman stew” of mussels, farro, roasted red pepper, and bacon was the best dish of all. Although Lynch’s immunity saved him from getting eliminated, his bland dish made his team lose. One of the other two people from his team had to go home and it was then when he decided to give up his immunity to be judged with the team. After Lynch confirmed his decision of giving up his immunity, he got eliminated.
Be sure to watch the upcoming episodes of Top Chef season 14 for more incredible surprises!
Leiby, A., “‘Top Chef’ Recap: Walking, Not Grilling, the Plank ,” Eater web site, January 13, 2017; http://www.eater.com/2017/1/13/14263316/top-chef-charleston-recap-episode-7, last accessed January 17, 2017
Sugar, R., “Top Chef Charleston Recap: Steak Tartare and Astrology,” Grub Street web site, Jan 13, 2017; http://www.grubstreet.com/2017/01/top-chef-charleston-recap-episode-7.html, last accessed January 17, 2017