Top Chef Season 12, Episode 12

Top Chef Episode 12 John Besh Padma

We’re back, and we’ve dragged seven chefs with us through the bayou.  The Quickfire Challenge is an impossible task—cook crawfish etouffee for John Besh. In forty-five minutes. The task is made even more impossible for Stephanie, who has a severe shellfish allergy.

Nina made a hand-rolled noodle with a spicy crawfish broth, Carrie made a Spanish-style crawfish broth with white wine and chickpeas; Nicholas managed to stuff those little crawfish, and Padma hates it. Shirly made Singapore chili etouffee is the only one who made rice; Brian went fairly traditionsal, and Carlos missed the whole “smother your food” concept. Then, there’s Stephanie, who prepard crawfish bisque without ever actually tasting her food.

Top Chef Episode 12 Lobster Dish

Carrie’s flavors were muddled, and Nicholas made more of a summer roll than an etouffee, and Stephanie kind of just made a soup. And Carlos, wow. He missed the mark. The winning dish is from Shirley, who has immunity and is totally going to win this entire competition.

For the Elimination Challenge, there’s a party for a seafood company and the chefs have to prepare dishes for two hundred guests highlighting at least two different kinds of seafood. But first, John Besh is taking the chefs to his home to cook a traditional Louisiana meal. Of course his house is gorgeous and lush and the kitchen is amazing and Stephanie loves his hair.

The next day, a seafood truck pulls up and the chefs start grabbing their fish. Shirley sees some tuna and decides to make ceviche, and Stephanie is working with fried oysters and tuna, Carrie chose oyster and flounder to make fritters, Nicholas has a fish I’ve never heard of and oyster foam, oyster juice, oyster sauce, it’s like Forrest Gump over here. Carlos is preparing sashimi but doesn’t have a sushi knife and is then annoyed because Nathan won’t lend him his knife, which, what? Bring your own knife or STFU. Of course he eventually guilts Nathan out of the knife, but whatever.  (Oh, ha! Carlos didn’t even clean it when he was done but instead left it all crusted up with fish which is why you never lend your tools!)

The guests arrive and the lines get long, at least for Stephanie who is frying her oysters on the spot. The chefs’ first stop is Brian’s station. He made swordfish with shrimp and onion puree. Tom looks happy, and a happy Tom is important. Nicholas has oyster leek soup, an oyster emulsion, and something else involving oyster that might be foam. It’s missing acid, and the judges are bored. Carrie has flounder croquets with oyster emulsion and pickled cucumber. Tom thinks it’s good, but he doesn’t get why you would smash up such a delicate fish like flounder. Shirley’s tuna and amberjack ceviche with pecans is a crowd-pleaser. Nina’s marinated wahoo with salsa verde is perfectly seared and she brought the best out of the fish. Carlos has amberjack ceviche with peach and pepper, and the judges find it under-seasoned. Stephanie’s fried oyster and tuna salad and the judges are impressed by the crispiness of the oyster.

Top Chef Episode 12 Ceviche

The judges gather to discuss the dishes and there don’t really seem to be any loser. But, Carlos’s dish was a little light on the fish, and Nicholas’s foamy soupy thing fell flat. Also, Carrie’s croquette lost the integrity of the fish.

The top dishes are from Stephanie, Nina, and Brian. Though they all cooked delicious food, Stephanie gets the win for cooking Louisiana fish with the most passion. The bottom three dishes are from Nicholas, Carrie, and Carlos. Carrie got in trouble by smushing up the fish, which destroyed the integrity of the fish and made it taste like Anyfish. Carlos’s greatest sin was making “a peach dish, not a fish dish.” Nicholas had texture and acid issues, which is not a great thing when you’re working with oysters. And goodbye, Carrie. Huh. I had her in the finals. Well, maybe she’ll win Last Chance Kitchen, where some guy named Louis is the reigning champion.

Next week, it’s France vs. Spain.

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