Top Chef S14:E5 Smoke Em If You Got Em Recap

Hi guys, welcome back and to a whole new year!! Yay! Who's excited??? I had an iffy year in 2016, lots of ups and downs, so I am totally ready for another kick at the can. Happy New Year to all of you that dig that sort of thing, and guess what: in two weeks exactly it's the first birthday of GingesBeCray!! I'll have a Facebook chat set up, so much fun. I wish I could give all you lovely readers cupcakes, you're marvelous. ALSO: this is post 700 on the site, yay!!! That's a lot of good and bad TV!

Let's get to Top Chef without further ado, shall we?? Rolling S14:E5 Smoke 'Em if You Got 'Em!

Katsuji's still gloating over his winning sauce in the team challenge with John Tesar, *all the eye rolling* and Emily's still crying in the back. You know, I want to dig Emily, to respect her work, I've just known a LOT of people like her: super duper tough in the beginning, abrasive, Miss / Mr. Can't Be Wrong and Don't Tread On Me and then: like tissue in the wind, man. And that's all we getta see for ages. It's not that I can't empathize, because I do, just: do your work, lady. Wow us. COOK SOMETHING AMAZING! Show us why you're here!

She wanted to redeem herself in front of the chef who fired her, but her nerves got the better of her and she was unable to participate in the challenge at all, save for expertly cooking the fish. Brook could have used a little help in the editing and execution of the rest of the challenge, even John and Katsuji managed to work together.

Okay, now Emily is upset because the Veterans are consoling Brook, but nobody is bringing her tea and sympathy. See above: when you start out abrasive and combative and put no energy into building relationships around you because you're so Tuff: this is what happens when the tissue breaks. Regroup, Emily, you got this!! You're on Top Chef!

It's Silvia's birthday! Her mama calls from Italy and I'm all excited for her until she brings up the Top Chef Birthday Curse. I also have a birthday curse, but it's more to do with the fact that it's two days after Christmas. You'd think after 44 years I'd stop complaining about it.

But you would be wrong.

The cheftestants put together a celebration for her, yay! She should buy her first pair of cowgirl boots and go out dancing in dive bars!

Sheldon's hurt his back, along the same lines as Amanda. He had a herniated disc and back surgery, it's aching today. He's gonna push through because that's what you DO on Top Chef, son!

Everyone is confused when they get to the kitchen; it's all dark and they're alone. There are 40 minutes on the clock and Jim thinks they're in a horror movie. There's no Padma, there aren't any producers, what's going on??

Padma and the producers are in the back room listening to them and watching their every move but giving no help whatsoever...all of a sudden the clock starts and a door opens: Quickfire Challenge Time! Jeez Padma, if you needed a day off, just say something. Everything is filmed in advance, right? Pfft

Sylva figures it out first:

They have 40 minutes to make biscuits and that is totally possible! Half that is cooking. Mix your dough, roll it, cut it... done! I make them all the time for supper that is stew or the like. Get to it!

Brook is unsure, but Padma tells them they only have 30 minutes left and everyone hops to it. Sheldon is feeling a little out of his depth; he's from Hawaii and apparently they don't do biscuits, they do rice. He copies Brook the Biscuit Queen move for move.

Jim and Emily are hustling along, I'm glad to see Emily back in her groove and energized. Jim did a hard sear on a scallop and I don't know what that means for biscuits?? Jamie has never made biscuits ever, don't add sugar! He's in the south and he doesn't know from biscuits?

Casey is keeping it simple; these are words to live by

Shirley avoids baking whenever possible and I get that. Baking is a science, and if it's not your jam, it can put you in the jelly. Stick to what you know, which is amazing Asian cuisine!

Okay, Silvia hasn't ever made biscuits either so it's neck and neck for ignorance today. She's doing something WEIRD.

I've heard two people mention Sorghum today. I've literally never heard of that any other time before Eugene sent Rick to find it on The Walking Dead. Instead they ended up with a huge truckload of provisions that ended up in the lake, thanks to Jesus. It was very Dukes of Hazzard with zombies.

Katsuji explains why you want cold butter in biscuits instead of warm butter and I will throw in there that you shouldn't work them with your fingers, either. Too hot. Use knives or a pastry cutter.

With less than a minute left, everyone is plating but Sheldon forgot to put on the tops...

I'm concerned about the amount of Sheldon we're getting this episode already, I am NOT ready to have him go home yet. He is AWESOME.

Judging time! My bad, I saw a guy I thought was Tom Colicchio next to Padma in the Control Room, he's guest judge John Currence and he looks grumpy.

Sylva's worried because he recognises John Currence from when Food & Wine Magazine (you know, Top Chef's sponsor) named his biscuits the best. Erp! Let's see how Sylva's stacks up

Then John, who's gone classic

Katsuji went sweet, maybe too sweet?

Silvia's first biscuit ever!

Jamie's first attempt also

Shirley used marscapone cheese, which gives Padma pause

I'm waiting to see Jim's! So purty

Then the Biscuit Queen's

And finally Sheldon's poor flat bicuits

 

Now for the judging; in the bottom are Shirley, Sheldon and Jim. WHET? I'm going to pretend I didn't hear what I clearly just heard.

The top three are: Brook, Katsuji and Jamie! Jamie who had never made biscuits before gets called "incredible stuff" woot!

The winner is: Brook, of course, yay! Good job Brook, you are indeed the Top Chef Biscuit Queen! Somewhere in the deep south south, Carrie Morey's ears went straight up.

Now that the biscuits are done, they're going to low and slow; it's barbecue time! Pitmaster Ronald Scott will be 'splaining

There are two types of bbq in the south, mustard-based from the German and French, and vinegar-based from the British. He's a vinegar man, because that's how his father did it and I'm so sad that BJ Smith isn't here for this. He lives for this! A whole hog in one of those bases is the challenge, this is all Sheldon: Hawaii is all whole hog.

Three sides for 150 AND working in teams makes this extry tricky, let's see how they split up. At least they get to choose themselves, so we have:

Red Team: Shirley, Casey, Jamie and Jim

Green Team: Katsuji, Amanda, Silvia and Sylva, no way THAT will be confusing for recappers. I did notice that Emily was completely shunned

Yellow Team: Emily joins Brook, John and Sheldon, a lot of firepower there.

They have 14 hours plus prep. Rodney will be taking them on a tour of pits and they'll be meeting a couple of pitmasters. I'm curious if I'll recognise anyone! I used to watch every BBQ show going because my almost-ex was a fan, I wanna see if I know whodat.

Sheldon's not taking the inspiration tour, he's off to get an MRI for his back and hopefully some meds. He's concerned, the last time the pain was this bad, he was off work for a year; super bad timing.

The chefs are off; first stop is Sweatman's BBQ, where they cook very low and slow (85 degrees) in a mustard base.

Team SS is working on sides during the drive, looks like potato salad at least, which is not surprising.

Off to the second BBQ place, which is Scott's, woot! This is the vinegar-based BBQ and now I think I've never had mustard-based stuff, always vinegar. Casey runs through the ingredient list, not sugar right? Maybe

Sylva knows nothing from BBQ; he was working in a four-star French restaurant at 17, and that doesn't necessarily follow. He's not 17 now, right? Surely he ate out once in a while, not just "refined and more farm-to-plate."

Red Team is menu planning. Jim's feeling a little salty right now. Most people THINK they know BBQ, but he knows that's grilling, completely different. It's an endurance challenge, not a five minute steak dealio.

Green Team is working through ideas; Sylva's worried that Silvia's (just shoot me) potato salad isn't traditional enough, she's not even using mayonnaise.

Sheldon is back and drugged, yay! He does have another herniated disc, hopefully those drugs last at least 14 hours!

Yellow Team is going SUPER traditional, with coleslaw, mac 'n' cheese and baked beans.

And now it begins! The teams have to make their own smoke, which I hadn't realised. They have to burn wood, get the coals and keep an even heat. My almost-ex has one of those Traeger wood-pellet stoves that feeds itself wood which is like: WAY easier. John is filling the time by talking, which is driving Brook CRAZY. I sincerely hope they have much beer. They do have s'mores! Silvia's never had a s'more, she's feeling very American right now. She came over 4 years ago, she is co-owner of two (almost three) restaurants and she's only 26, holy shite. Only in America.

Everyone makes it through to the next day, Sheldon is high AF and ready to roll, woo hoo!

John's pissed that one of his main ingredients for Mac 'N' Cheese is gone, where's the flour, you guys???? Make it work, go BrookStyle, John! He begs some xantham gum from Katsuji for some peeled garlic and boom! BrookStyleSave

SHIRLEY HAS BABY PIGLET ON HER MENU?? What the Sam Hill???

Green Team has cranked their pig to 350 degrees, eeeeh, that is not low and slow at all. Sylva's also made his own sauce, so we'll see. Amanda calls is "Asian fusion ketchup and hoisin sauce" which does not sound good. It's apparently delicious, but not BBQ. Also, he keeps telling her what to do

Tom and Rodney are wandering around tasting everything; Red Team gets a nod and then Yellow gets a "good luck!" Tom is confused that Green went to 275 degrees for the whole night: they had 14 hours. Why cook it fast? That's not the challenge. Sylva's being a total dick, too. Sorry, but he is. He's taken credit for turning down the heat on the pig, Amanda and Silvia's sides: back the eff uup, buddy. I'd love to see him try that with Katsuji. Speaking of... Katsuji's beans are smelling off, I can't think why, what with him shaving off pieces of the pig's head for flavour.

These whole animal challenges really push my love of carnivore cuisine.

Katsuji is all over Emily and her underbaked beans. I have no idea why he's deliberately targeting her, but he is. Maybe because she showed weakness and he knows he can get into her melon.

It's showtime! Darius Rucker is there to entertain everyone, go Hootie! I love country music (well, good country music) and everyone dances. I know someone with new cowgirl boots that wouldn't mind taking a spin!

Darius and Gail Simmons will be joining the judge's table; he was born and raised in Charleston. That caption makes me laugh

Tasting time! Yellow is up first and Emily gets dinged for her under-done beans but Gail loves John's smoked Mac 'N' Cheese.

Red Team gets props for the Trotter Hash (Jim) and the cabbage (Shirley) but read for a mellow sauce

Green Team is sunk by the mushy pig, Katsuji's beans, Amanda's bland slaw and Silvia's potato salad, which Tom calls terrible. We know who the losing team is; let's see who is going home.

Tom figures out that Katsuji must have used a particular pig cheek gland that makes for funky beans. He doesn't work with pork except for on Top Chef, so that is probably a factor.

And now it's time for judging! Team Yellow wins the challenge, they're so tahred. And yay, John wins the challenge for his leadership! Yay xantham gum!

Green Team is on the bottom, of course: Katsuji takes his raps for the sourness and murkiness of his beans, Gail cuts him short with "it wasn't easy. It wasn't supposed to be" and true enough. They didn't like the sauce, either, but they really hated Silvia's potato salad. It threw the plate off balance and everything.

They deliberate while Katsuji throws Sylva under the bus for his sauce. To his face though, so... kudos?

And going home is: Silvia. For that awful, awful potato salad. I've seen Sylva's dickish underbelly, though, so I have my eye on him. Until next time you guys! Cheers