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CJ, Josie, and Stefan: 'Top Chef's' Greek Chorus - Ep2

Three veterans return to compete, but what does it all mean?!

By Monica A. Reyhani

"Alright, alright, alright" says a detached voice in the background. Obviously, I assume Matthew McConaughey has come to the Top Chef kitchen, but then I remember that Matthew hasn't been anywhere near a kitchen in a long time. (Sidenote: I hope for his sake his film is a good one!) After my disappointment over a Matthew-free kitchen subsided, I perk up again: veterans CJ, Josie, and Stefan are this week's Quickfire Challenge judges (for now.) The new cheftestants' reactions to the alums' arrival is nothing short of hilarious. Micah gives them his "waterfall" look. I have no idea what this means (I do), but if it's anything like making it rain, it's awesome. Chrissy says Stefan looks like a thumb. I'm relieved to know I'm not the only person who describes people's appearances this way.

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So for this Quickfire Challenge, my little geoducks, the chefs have to divide into groups of three and create a dish that highlights local shellfish. I'm happy to see we're diving right in to Seattle-focused challenges, and allowing the chefs a lot of freedom. John who may or may not have a crush on Kuniko wants to be on her team. She's Japanese, so she probably has incredible knife skills, he says. I'm going to leave this one alone. Also, John got called out by Padma for not paying attention, so I won't beat him while he's down.

All of the groups want geoduck. Geoduck! Geoduck! Geoduck! Unfortunately, there's not enough for all of them, and Kristen had to get it so she could make that amazingly awkward comment about it looking like a penis. (Don't worry I'm compiling all of this season's sexually-explicit comments already.) Throughout the Quickfire, we start to see a bit of the Carla backlash. Because Carla is so loud and loves to share, we learn some new things about her. First, he wants to be a James Beard winner and have a nice a--. I have it on good authority that James Beard had an incredible a--, by the way. Also, she loves white pepper. She's always looking for the white pepper!

After the chefs create their dishes, which you can peruse HERE, the veterans start to judge. Joshua thinks Stefan is kind of a d---. I actually didn't think he was being quite the d--- we've seen in the past (I kid, I kid.) But I'm excited for a future Joshua/Stefan throwdown, which looks almost certain.

The veterans announce their top and bottom dishes. Josh's team's corn chowder was actually on the bottom, so he had a reason to be upset. John, Kuniko, and Sheldon's dish wins! The three chefs draw knives for immunity, and John wins it. John is still so happy-go-lucky, I'm just waiting for his other side to come out. One thing I did notice is that he has an awesome evil laugh.

After the Quickfire, Padma drops the bomb that CJ, Josie, and Stefan are actually rejoining the competition. Tyler thinks it's bull----. I think I want to hear Tyler's response to everything. His interviews are my favorite so far. Keep it up, Tyler! Joshua is enraged by this announcement and proclaims that he will most certainly get into a fight. "I hate them all now." I know he's serious, but it's just so amusing.

The best thing -- in my humble opinion -- about having the alums back is that they're now something of a Top Chef Greek chorus. They know how it is, they see everything. They have knowledge the current cheftestants don't. Whether that's an advantage or a detriment remains to be seen. Although if this episode is any indication, it might be the latter.

But I won't get ahead of myself. On to the Elimination Challenge, where the chefs have to make a dish using regional ingredients for legendary Seattle chef, Tom Douglas. They have 47 minutes to make their dishes -- the time it takes for the challenge's venue, the Space Needle, to rotate once. And, the chefs remain in their Quickfire teams -- the veterans now forming their own team. 

Most of the teams grab fish, even the Yellow Team, who literally can't identify theirs. The Red Team grabs fish, but also grabs quail just in case, which was smart... at the time.

The chefs prep their dishes, and head back to their apartment, where Jeffrey comes out to his fellow chefs. Of course I go on and on about how cute Jeffrey is last week, and he comes out this week. I guess there's no future for us. Sigh.

The next day the chefs arrive at the Space Needle. CJ has a soft spot for the landmark because he remember good potatoes he had there when he was 7. OOOK. Subsequently, the veteran team decides to cook their quail. 

While the Blue Team is cooking, we learn something interesting about Kuniko. Her mind is always going, so sometimes, she loses focus. Luckily, John was able to catch her chili oil starting to burn. Thankfully, they were able to save it, and the judges love their dish. "The first thing to put in my mouth in Seattle? Not bad," says Gail. Good one, Gail. He-he. Anyway, the Blue Team wins again. In fact, Tom Douglas says the dish is the "essence of Seattle." Kuniko's fish wins the day. Way to go, Kuniko!

The rest of the teams offer decent dishes, but two teams find themselves on the bottom: the veterans and the appropriately-named Grey Team. Both had overcooked protein. But apparently the Grey Team's was worse, and so, the person responsible for that protein -- Jeffrey -- is sent home. WHYYYYY?! (Sniffle, sniffle.)The best part of the elimination was obviously watching Josie try to evade the judges. She's done this before. She knows not to bring up faults just in case they're not the ones the judges were thinking. She forgets the judges know everything. Also amusing was Stefan's zebra anecdote, "It's like you're a zebra; you're wounded, and you're walking around Africa." Huh?

I'm going to go try to wrap my head around all of the chefs' non-sequitors this week. I'm also going to go help Carla find that white pepper. Where is it?! Until next week, Have a Nosh!



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