In a bit of a pickle
Bespectacled chef John Tesar suffers curse of the risotto on Top Chef Seattle
It's a cold, dark day in hell on Top Chef Seattle. This week's episode does the unthinkable. It robs us of our reason for living. It snuffs the joy of watching by eliminating the one good thing it had going for it. And it teaches a lesson: Keep your pickles close.
The theme of the opening quickfire challenge is knives. The nine remaining chefs must show they can sharpen them and then use them to cut things. The prize is a $4,000 knife. What knife is worth $4,000? And how long would that last in a restaurant kitchen? About 15 minutes. Which is why most chefs do not have $4,000 knives.
The elimination challenge begins with a big shout-out to Kindle. Everyone gets their own, and they show the Amazon logo when they turn it on. Good information, but if this is the Shopping Network, they need to tell us the price like they did with the $4K knife, so we know what we're working with here.
John Tesar doesn't do himself any favors by complaining about the pan situation. Josh Valentine doesn't do him any favors, either, by complaining about his excuses.
Their task: Re-create a healthier version of a dish from a prior Top Chef season. Whoever wins gets $15K from Healthy Choice.
Here is when the episode pushes the limits of believability: It shows the chefs chillin' at their fancy pad, microwaving frozen Healthy Choice entrees for dinner. "You want one?" Sheldon asks thoughtfully. Inconceivable!
Dallas chef John Tesar reveals his undying devotion to Top Chef. "I've watched every episode," he says. "I've never been more ready in my life." He really ought to be doing recaps.
Instead he attempts a dish that has taken down many a chef before him: the dreaded risotto. Making matters worse, he can't find a proper flat-bottomed pan. Run, John Tesar! Run away from the risotto.
But, no, he makes it anyway, and it doesn't cook right. He doesn't do himself any favors by complaining about the pan situation. Josh Valentine doesn't do him any favors, either, by complaining about his excuses.
What is this? A twist: Tesar is at the bottom with Lizzie, who used smelly scallops. But instead of just sending one of them home, they're ordered to compete on making a burger. Tesar pulls out his lamb burger from The Commissary; Lizzie makes a chicken burger. He gets the bottle of pickles first, and she needs them. He gives her the pickles even though it's not the smart competitive thing to do.
"I share the pickles," Tesar says. "That's who I am."
He's a pickle sharer, that's who he is. But the judges like Lizzie's chicken burger better, and Tesar is sent home. Before leaving, he reflects on the pickle situation. Do the show's producers throw him under the bus, just like Josh Valentine, by giving him a crazy-ass exit line? You decide:
"I could've been a real big asshole," he says. "I mean, if I really wanted to win, I would've just stood on the other side of the kitchen and cooked five hamburgers without anything on them. Put them on a plate and held the pickles in my hand when I went to the judges' table. I would've held them under my arm. I have all the pickles."