A Just Recompense on incompatible: "They’ll stay in their teams, which makes just about everyone nervous. To summarize: Lizzie isn’t sure she knows Danyele well enough to cook intimately with her; Eliza is worried that she and Josie aren’t truly listening to each other; Josie is not enjoying this at all but she’s going to do her chefly duty, it’ll be over soon; Tyler finds CJ’s idea too simple but he’s a veteran so he’s in trust; John knows Josh is just barely tolerating him so is trying not to explode the wrath within; Josh is going along with anything John says just so they don’t start butting heads. I think these people need marriage counseling more than they need cooking."
Entertainment Weekly on truth in advertising: "Ingredients ranged from pickles to cheese curds (yum), but by far my favorite reaction was when Stefan pulled rose petal jelly. 'It’s like rose water. It’s a perfume kind of thing. Women in the 1500s put it on them because they were smelling.' Could you make your eventual meal sound any more appetizing?"
Mary Alice of Charm City Cakes for the Baltimore Sun on deflection: "After Padma dismisses them, CJ starts to say something and then shakes his head. 'One last thing, CJ?' Padma asks. CJ turns back and asks the judges what they thought of Danyele/Lizzie’s dessert. 'Because that thing was an abhorrence. It was a debacle. It was diabolical. It was a travesty,' he says. To which Hugh retorts, 'Well, uh-oh, ‘cause your burger was even worse.' Tom bursts out laughing. Josh reprimands CJ for asking: 'Stop underhanding pitches to a pro baseball player!' thus ending what I thought would be the worst but ended up one of the funniest Judge’s Table ever."
Eater disses the artisan: "Breakfast and sticks and satisfied vendors are all in good fun, but now things get dark. Pike Place is also a farmers market, and as you know, farmers markets are full of 'artisans.' Each team has two hours to cook a lunch highlighting a different Pike Place artisan ingredient. Now the word 'artisan' can mean a lot of things: it can be someone who has spent half a lifetime perfecting the crafting of bread or knife-making, for example, or it can be someone with a mommy blog who spends every other Saturday afternoon filling cute jars with unusual horse shit only appropriate as a thoughtless gift from and for jerks. Sadly, most of the ingredients our competitors must use in this Elimination Challenge, one worth ten grand, fall into that latter category. This whole thing would be more appropriate for a Quickfire, where they've got twenty minutes and who cares if they make a bad Reese's Pieces ravioli, but to serve an elegant lunch that highlights bagged truffled popcorn, a food Tom wouldn't let through the back door of his restaurant, is embarrassing for everyone, including me."
Reality Rewind explains the elimination challenge: "For the Elimination Challenge on Top Chef 2012, the teams will be staying together for this challenge. They draw knives: Sheldon and Bart have Salmon Candy, John and Josh have Truffle Popcorn, Brooke and Stefan have Rose Petal Jelly, CJ and Tyler have Spicy Dill Pickles, Josie and Eliza have Cardamom Bitters, Danyele and Lizzie have Coconut Curry Chocolate and Kristen and Micah have Cheese Curds. They have to make a dish to highlighting the ingredient they have picked and the artisans who created the ingredient will be judging them. They have two hours to create their dish and the winning team wins $10,000."
Allie is Wired on pairings: "CJ and Tyler throw ideas around, but Tyler looks at CJ to make the decision. I wish this guy would find his testicular fortitude. He is nice, but has no confidence. Those proverbial nice guys always seem to finish last. On the other side of the pairings, Josh is barely tolerating John. Again, I scratch my head at why these two teamed up in the first place? Maybe they have a secret man crush and John pets Josh’s mustache at night while singing ‘Soft Kitty’ to ease him to sleep in the stressful environment. I suddenly want to see ‘Top Chef: After Dark.’"
Reality Tea on burn: "C.J. defends the integrity of the pickle. Tom says, 'It never crossed your mind… not what goes with pickle but what can we make with a pickle?' Tom calls out John and Josh, saying their food was what you'd expect from someone who doesn't like cooking. Hugh says that Stefan and Brooke used so much rose petal jelly, it was like eating a grandmother. Overall, Tom is disappointed that no one fought to make his or her team's dish better. Gail wonders about the lack of artistry – no garnish, no presentation, etc."
Hit Fix on artisanal products: "Elimination Challenge! Teams remain the same, and each team has to draw a knife bearing the name of some weird ass ingredient. The challenge? Each team must create a dish highlighting said weird ass ingredient. Oh I'm sorry, these are artisanal weird ass ingredients, which means you can have them gift-wrapped and sent to people you dislike. They will be judged by the people who create these horrible sounding things (coconut curry chocolate? Salmon candy? Rose petal jelly? Blech!), and they have two hours to make them lunch. This may be one of the grossest challenges yet, "Top Chef," just saying."
Grub Street on artisans: "Padma introduces us to some of the Seattle artisans: Dale Nelson makes spicy pickles and the rose petal jelly. He looks a little old and square to be an artisan — I can’t imagine him hanging out in Capitol Hill, a hip Seattle neighborhood I just learned the name of by Googling 'hip Seattle neighborhood.' Likewise, Kurt Beecher Dammeier, who made the cheese curds, looks like a high-school gym teacher. I thought Seattle artisans would be young and skinny-jeaned. Am I guilty of artisan-profiling?"
Posted on AllTopChef.com