Did you miss Top Chef? Here's what you need to know for tomorrow's water cooler conversation:
The setting: The very pastoral Remlinger Farms during a summer berry festival
The challenge: Create a better berry dish in a head-to-head competition
The guest stars: Chicago chef Stephanie Izard, the only woman to ever win Top Chef, and a crowd of pasty, berry-loving festivalgoers
The drama: John Tesar may be the most hated chef in Dallas, but he's also the chef most familiar with Top Chef's tropes. Using frozen ingredients is an unforgiveable sin on the show, so John didn't miss a chance to point out Stefan - his rival in the gooseberry battle - purchased frozen tuna. Although his whining didn't stick with the judges, he won extra Seattle points for straight-facedly claiming his complaint was political. "It's not the fact that it was frozen," he told the camera. " It's that it was not sustainable."
The triumphs: Kristen was the night's double winner, first earning immunity for an almond cake prepared in a tin foil pan for a Reynolds Wrap-sponsored Quickfire, and then taking home $10,000 for her tayberries macerated in olive oil with goat-milk custard.
The debacles: Bart screwed up blackberry soup by adding a flavorless hunk of salmon, nobody could taste the strawberry in Micah's fried chicken and Josie submerged raspberry flavors in a sloppy dish that Tom compared to Pepto-Bismol. But it was Josie's personality which emerged as the bigger potential liability. "Is she high?," Izard asked as she spooled out a too-enthusiastic story meant to mask her difficulties cooking on deadline. "She thinks putting on a show is more important," Tom said later. Or, as John put it, "Josie is sometimes annoying." The show closed with a Josie-Stefan spat.
The losers: Danyele was finally tripped up by her trepidation. "You're getting halfway there with your concept and stopping," Tom chastised at judges' table. "I could have been eating lunchmeat," Padma griped about her rubbery chicken terrine, which Izard pointed out wasn't prepared to order.
The future: Clamming, Padma skating with the Rat City Rollergirls and more Josie-related tension.