Top Chef S13:E12 Wok This Way


We're so close to finals on Top Chef that we can almost SMELL the tweezified berry coulis amaranth foam! Let's see if what's happening and alllls the spoilers after the break.

Amar is ecstatic after his win, almost as much as I am, because I was starting to wonder if he was gonna Mediocre Marvin his way into oblivion. Marjorie misses Karen and I do too, her food was amazing and her ability to stay calm under pressure was a lovely change.

So. Karen's elimination leaves Marjorie as last woman standing, but Isaac says that's not even a thing, she's got a pair of balls like the rest of them. Bigger than yours too, she says. And I don't know if I'd get into a genitalia-measuring contest with Isaac, he's pretty quick with his sausage coils.

There's only 6 left!!! How did that happen?? It seems like just yesterday I was losing my mind over photographing 36 meals in a single episode!

Jeremy is taking the latest failures as Room To Grow and calls his adorable bebeh for some stone-touching. And just as I'm feeling all awww about him an his gorgeous daughter, he says he's taught her to be uber competitive and just like that, I hope he ends up "first loser" and gets a better attitude about competition. Yes, everyone wants to do their best, but we don't need any of that name calling shite.

The chefs walk or is it wok...into a restaurant where a chef is making all kinds of flaming food fly in big wok and woo hoo! It's Martin Yan of Wok with Yan!!! I loved his show as a kiddo! That was one of the very few shows we'd get on our no-cable TV that we had for a year or so in my preteen years! TOTALLY NOT BITTER ABOUT THE TV-FREE CHILDHOOD, MOM, NOT AT ALL!!

Oh. That was not Martin Yan, that was Stephen Yan and I'm sorry.

Wok the Heck Indeed!
Wok the Heck Indeed!

I did think he had aged very well. Martin Yan has the shows Yan Can Cook, etc, and while he didn't shape my childhood with his folksy Chinese cooking and punny aprons, he seems like a very nice, successful chef. He is hosting the challenge at his restaurant, M.Y. China and he is super nice and supportive. I bet he would be a great teacher. Plus, he was a stone cold fox:

Martin Yan

The Quickfire Challenge is to make Chop Suey, and there is no more immunity and I was thinking that had to happen soon!

FFS, Marjorie is choking a lobster to death with her HANDS. I mean. I won't eat anything I meet alive, which is lame, I know, but I certainly wouldn't groom something then strangle it to serve to people I don't know. Come ON!!

Amar has NO idea how to use a wok, he's causing oil fires all over the place and is trying to do fried rice AND chop suey, because when working with unfamiliar equipment at extremely high heats using flavour combinations you haven't before, it's absolutely best to double down on that shite.

Similarly uninitiated on the ins and outs of Asian cuisine is Isaac, but he figures he can make it wok. The real issue with using woks are again, the extreme high heat and necessary quickness, not the grub. Almost anything you toss with enough ginger is going to be delish. Let's see if our classically French-trained boyos can pull through.

Kwame is all chill, brah. He doesn't care who the judges are, he's just blanch-frying his crispy beef, eggplant and noodles and hoping to take it home. I hope he rebounds soon, he showed so much promise in the beginning.

These bastages are making me hongray!

Jeremy has used Dungeness crab for the third time in a row and gets called out for cold food:


Marjorie's lobster chop suey looks delish, but I saw her murder it, sooo


Carl is asked about his lack of veggies in his lobster chop suey and schooled gently about seafood going rubbery


Everyone is sweating like hewers in church now, Amar runs to bring up his chop suey over fried rice (which confuses Martin - you know fried rice is it's own dish, right?) and gets good "refreshing" feedback.

Isaac is practically dripping now, Martin immediately recognises the over-starching on the chicken but Padma likes the chicken cracklings scattered throughout.


Martin picks up on Kwame's oil-blanching technique usage right away, but mebbe K left his food in there a little long...


Carl is called on the carpet for the vegetable / protein imbalance in his dish, Kwame for his oily food and Isaac for his over-starched chicken. On the top are the other three, and that is I guess what it will be from now on. The winner is Marjorie and I mouthed it first, yay! Atta girl

Padma asks if the chefs are all "invested" in winning...segue to introducing an investment banker cum restaurant owner Adam Fleischman, who says it's all about finding a classic and having people enjoy it in a new way.


Their challenge is to think of a fast, casual concept that will work in any city in America. And Canada, right guys? We are so the Kibbles and Bits puppy always.

This is like the ready-to-wear challenge on Project Runway! They need to make something that has mass appeal but that reflects their true personalities. There are seriously so.many fancy burger joints out right now if someone goes that way...

They have to make this fast food for 150 customers and potential investors, but also come up with a restaurant name AND create a menu. They get help, though! All the other cheftestants are there!!


Woo hoo! Awww, it looks like they didn't go far enough back that I could get my Frances back, too bad.

Because Marjorie won the quickfire, she gets to pick first! AND pick for everyone else, oooooohhh. She picks Angelina, because she was one of the very few actual sous chefs in the competition and a BEAST on prep apparently, but I still wouldn't have called that. I am inordinately happy to see Jason and I couldn't say why exactly.

Marjorie lays it out thusly: Jeremy gets Jason and oooh that was totally on purpose. She knows how bro-ish Jeremy is and how NOT bro-ish Jason is, maybe they'll complement each others strengths, Marjorie! It could happen!

She pairs Carl with Chad (decent), Amar with Karen (okay), *nobody wants poor Phillip*, Isaac gets Wesley (yay Wesley!!!) and whuuut shady lady Marjorie throws arch-enemies Kwame and Phillip together.

Slow Clap

All they ever did was fight and I guess if she wants to take Kwame down by messing with his head and not beating his food, that's a strategy.

Whole Foods shopping time! Carl thinks Turkish and/or African is the way to go and sure, there's a gap there in the market, but. Even more "interesting" is Jeremy's plan to make octopus, tripe and pork belly tacos. For the love of gawd, Jeremy, NONE of that is fast OR casual and NOBODY IS GONNA WANNA EAT YOUR OVERPRICED PRETENTIOUS TRIPE TACOS!

Um. Two things; Kwame is making chicken and waffles and isn't that SUPER available already; and also, he's buying PREMADE waffles?? Whutttt??In a cooking challenge. This isn't Hell's Kitchen, yo. He and Phillip are getting along about as well as Marjorie thought they would, as she rubs her hands together and cackles in the corner.

Marjorie is going with a pasta-themed restaurant, and guess what Isaac is doing? NO, GUESS!!! Gumbo! IKNORITE?? No way we saw him doing something Cajun with sausages again! I guess this is one of those challenges that you want to lead with your strengths! 10 bucks says Jeremy uses Dungeness crab again, the repetitive bastage.

Everyone rides Kwame for his frozen waffles, and for reals, WHAT is he thinking?

Carl is making a lamb *herk* stew, having Chad puree a metric tonne of cauliflower, while Isaac and Wes are having a great time; I am so having flashbacks to the KIA commercials of old. Remember when we all thought KIA was Cajun and not South Korean?

Hmmm. Amar is making chicken again, shredded rotisserie chicken with a make-it-yourself kinda thing and I dunno, man.

Ergh, Marjorie is making fresh spaghetti for 150 with oil tossed tuna and whut? How is pan seared tuna and fresh pasta fast casual??

Tom and Adam are there for "advising", they don't really understand moar tacos? Kwame explains about his concept but all Tom and Adam hear are "frozen waffles" and they are speechless. Adam actually looks like he needs a minute. I'd like to take this moment to wish Kwame and his lovely and unexpected sense of humour well,` and see you at the reunion, big fella!

We don't see any other chef reviews, so it must be just those two that are in trouble / at the top. I have to point out: these two actually WERE at the top the whole rest of the show.

Later, at the Fairmont (that's some fancy digs!) Marjorie talks some shite about Isaac again and we get it, M, you think he's a one trick no fancy plating pony. And she's not wrong, but that one trick shore is delish!

Marjorie was having a hard time figuring out to cook her pasta, and is using her deep fryer filled with water. I have allll the concern about that, but she doesn't have any other choices at this moment. It boils, yay!

Tasting time! The judges like Carl's proposed menu (no decent shot, my bad), let's see if they like the grub!


Next up is Isaac and his Gumbo For Y'all;


it's called "brilliant" and yay!


I'm so nervous about Kwame! His menu:


Looks fine but Tom and Adam have the dead eyes of watching someone already departed, they look like they're gonna start crying any second.

I can't even LOOK at him!

Padma asks about how the waffles are cooked and Adam smirks as Kwame mentions the butter griddling but not the giant bags of frozeness. Oy.


They don't go over well, but at least Phillip and Kwame got along, MARJORIE!

Speaking of, Pasta Mama is up next, her menu:


And her house-made spaghetti


Jeremy's Taco Dude menu board didn't yield any good shots, but here's his food:


And his description of his potential environment is troublesome: Padma about loses it when he says a "hot chick serving" because HONESTLY. If you require inappropriate sexualization of female staff to sell your food: your food sucks, bro.

Amar's Pio Pio menu


And grub gets mixed reviews


And apparently I don't know anything, because Marjorie's is the favourite for branding and as I thought; Kwame is in troubleeeeee. Judges table time!

The top two are Marjorie and Carl, Carl takes it with his Mediterranean take on fast casual.Sure.

The bottom two are: Jeremy and Kwame and man, it hurts to see them here when they were so consistently in the top two the first half of the season. And it is Kwame sent home. I called it, but I'm still not happy about it. Those frozen waffles, come ON!! I think Padma is crying and I am TOTALLY NOT.

Sigh. I know, this is the end, we're gonna lose top contenders and Kwame put his own petard up on that hoist with those premade options on a show about cooking, but he was just so.talented. and I will miss him.

Side note: I could totally go for some Gumbo For Y'all right now. We oot!