Top Chef
Eastern Promise

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The cheftestants crowd into the fish market and put plastic shower caps on their heads. Josie tells us she knows all about sushi flavors, and Elia tells us how much she loves fish. Fish flurry.

Back at the kitchen, which I have just noticed is being called "The Kenmore Kitchen" by the Bravo's graphics department, the cheftestants meet their guest judge. Padmadala introduces Chef Hiroshi Shima of Katana and Sushi Roku, along with his partner and interpreter. Padmadala repeats they have thirty minutes to create sushi plates using their newly-purchased fresh fish and anything in the Top Chef pantry. Food flurry. Otto tells us that he has to go "all out" because he's already been on the chopping block once.

Time's up. Chef Hiroshi Shima steps up to Frank who greets him in Japanese before explaining his plate of prawns, pompano fish, East Coast fluke, and big eye tuna. He says he tried to stay with a traditional sushi arrangement.

Next, Michael explains, "I've never made sushi before, just once in school." So, you actually have made it before, Flounder! Nevertheless, he has a plate of sashimi tuna with sesame oil and sushi rice with sesame rolled in cucumber. Once again, Bravo's chyrons are impossible to parse. I'm not sure what exactly is rolled in cucumber because I can't see any cucumber. It looks like Michael made little fish shapes in his sushi. There's rice with black sesame seeds for the body, which is draped with sashimi, and ginger for the tail. I see drips of something green, but it looks like wasabi. Still no clue where the "rolled in cucumber is." "THANK yewww," Padmadala says somnolently and moves them on...

To Cliff, who presents a gorgeous plate of Hama Hama oysters with ginger, soy, mango, and jalapeño. He also has another plate of split spot prawns, hamachi (raw Yellowtail Amberjack, a fish similar to tuna), and sweet daikon on a shiso leaf. I think I link to a shiso leaf definition in almost every Top Chef recap. Just for shiso and giggles.

At Mia's station, Mia explains, "This is an inexperienced person's version of just a simple sushi handroll." She's got a rather limp-looking plate of seaweed rolled around skinny pieces of red snapper, avocado, wasabi, and daikon sprouts. Chef Hiroshi Shima feeds Padmadala a roll, which Mia jokes, "He's like: 'You first!'" Chef Hiroshi Shima says something in Japanese, which his translator translates smilingly as, "It wasn't really appealing." Ouch, but not surprising.

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Top Chef

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