Top Chef
Battle Before the War

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Thai German? Really?
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The morning after John's elimination, Josh mentions that he's pretty happy that John's gone. Stefan sits out on the balcony smoking and jokes that his morning friend is gone. I get the vibe that it was tough to live with John in the loft. If this were the type of competition where people didn't have to live together, maybe everyone would have tolerated John more. Or not. He was a huge blowhard and dipshit. As they all stand around, Josie yells, "Asians represent!" and laughs her stoner laugh as she points at herself, Sheldon, Micah and Kristen. Everyone just rolls their eyes. I wonder if the cheftestants could choose, would they have eliminated John or Josie? Who's more annoying?

The cheftestants arrive for the Quickfire Challenge and find Wolfgang Puck standing there with Padma. Brooke reveals that for her seventeenth birthday, she ate at Puck's Spago. Food nerd alert! Padma explains the challenge: use ginger to make something. Anything. It's a sponsored challenge, which explains the lameness. Oh, and they also only have fifteen minutes.

Time starts and everyone scrambles. Kristen has a really interesting technique: she puts ginger and other ingredients in a pressurized canister (like what's used to make whipped cream?) and the pressure infuses the ginger into the other ingredients. Sheldon is basically making a stir-fry, which seems a little lame. I mean, that's what I would make, although I'm sure Sheldon's is better, but it doesn't seem very refined. Things get frantic with one minute left but everyone manages to get a dish on the plate.

Wolfgang and Padma head to Josh first. He made white chocolate and ginger soup with fresh peaches and tarragon. Josie made seared scallop with ginger-honey yogurt and miso-ginger sauce. Again, I'm sure it tastes good but that's pretty basic and obvious. Wolfgang says that the scallop is nicely cooked. Brooke made ginger-caramel squid with fresh lime and chili powder. See, now that's unique. We haven't seen a ton of squid on this show where it seems like every other dish is a scallop. Lizzie made a watermelon-ginger soup with fresh mint. It looks like gazpacho. Micah made a ginger shrimp salad with radish, plum, ponzu vinaigrette and fried crispy ginger. Padma likes the addition of plum.

Moving on to Kristen, she made a shaved fennel-ginger salad with brie and tomatoes. She explains her technique with the pressurized canister and Wolfgang is impressed. Sheldon made wok fried ginger skirt steak with ginger and oranges. It's basically a dish from P.F. Chang's. Stefan made ahi tuna with lemongrass and ginger vinaigrette. Stefan speaks German to Wolfgang to suck up a little bit.

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