Top Chef S14:E4 The Feast of Seven Trash Fishes Recap

Hi and Happy Christmas Eve you lovely people! It's time for Top Chef again, yayyy! Last week we lost out first Veteran chef and Brooke showed everyone what's up with Panna Cotta, let's find out who's trashing fishes this week!

It's been a super chaotic week in an extremely complicated and messy month, I am SO READY to relax and watch some masters carefully daub green sauce on a platter around some micro greens, you? Plus it's Christmas tomorrow!! If you're into that sort of thing; if not: it's still the weekend!

Nobody can believe Sam Talbot was sent home last episode, not even the guy who was on the chopping block with him. BJ Smith is counting ALLS his lucky stars; I really think it would have been him leaving had Sam made his own bread. You shoulda made Chef Marjorie's little milk breads, Sam!

Katsuji Tanabe decides to explain to BJ why he should have gone home instead, hoo boy. Bad idea, I mean, who wants to hear that? Not BJ "f*ck you" which confuses Katsuji; he's just speaking truth here! Typical Katsuji game-playing, BJ vows to not let him under his skin.

Challenge time! Padma has prezzies! Amanda is suspicious

But the gift is the new editor of Food & Wine Magazine: Nilou Motamed

She's brought them all a gift for the Quickfire Challenge and it is a 30 minute gift box filled with a lot of unrelated things:

Er. Most of that sounds DISGUSTING, but it;s worse: they have to use every single ingredient and tool in the box. I do own a melon baller, JIM, but I use it for making fancy butter balls, so I wouldn't know what to tell you.

Sheldon is mentally at the club

Hurts MY nose and I'm not even there! BJ is stuck, but macerating pomegranate seeds, so it might work out for him. Shirley is pan cooking her squab and using the white chocolate in place of butter (??), what's going in the pressure cooker then? Brooke knows this scenario is ALL about a pressure cooker, the only way to get everything to work together. Emily has never used one, which makes John Tesar suggest she should just go home now.

Instead, Emily decides to use the pressure cooker to cook rice in, sans pressure. Interesting that she's focused on a loophole instead of using it in the exact way it's meant to be used (30 minute challenge); we'll see how that plays out for her.

Casey is making a cool sounding soup, she makes it for her staff and I hope that works out! Katsuji is drinking the tequila as he's cooking, does that count as using it? He brings up his daughters out of the blue, what was that about?

John's making a mole sauce, eeeeeh, all my fingers crossed! Mole in 30 minutes. Shirley's squab isn't looking so good

Emily is making the most disgusting dish she's ever made and I think time management is a factor, but the key rank part is the RICE AND CABBAGE IN A BLENDER TOGETHER. Grosssss.

Just as it's time to plate, Shirley looks around and realises that everyone used a melon baller and she doesn't have one. You know who has two? Sheldon! He also had her tequila, so she's kind of farked right now.

Tasting time! Katsuji makes Nilou's lips tingle with his meal. Is that good?

John's mole

Brooke melon balled her squash (which she will never do again...unless they love it)

Emily owns up to not using a pressure cooker before right away; Nilou looks at her as though she has two heads. I just can't stop looking at the pablum / splooge under her squab

BJ's super tiny dish gets a question about texture; you never want to hear "is that what you were going for?"

Jim's complicated plate

Casey gets an mmmmm

Shirley's caramelized (that's what one cooking teacher of mine used to call burnt food) squab doesn't look tooo bad. She gets read for her lack of melon balling, but it's not sudden death, yay!

On the Naughty List we have: Shirley of the caramelized squab, Emily of the gross soubise and unkind protein treatment and BJ of the overly-tough bird.

On the Nice List: Brooke, Casey and John (30 minute mole!). Casey wins, yay!

Mike Lata is the guest judge for the main challenge today, Emily hides when she sees him. She used to work under him and I guess it didn't end well. One of those getting fired for attitude things?

When Nilou explains their challenge today, Silvia Barban about breaks her face smiling. It's the Italian-American Christmas Eve meal called The Feast of Seven Fishes and I'm guessing she's familiar with that.

John is also very familiar with this tradition, so his ears are up waiting for the twist to make this Top Chef difficult. The fish they will be using are called "Trash Fish" because most consumers aren't familiar with them and they don't get used.

Jim thinks they're looking at this all wrong; stop dooking on his fish, man!

He won a seafood cooking contest and everything (cool crown, bro), so he thinks he'll be fine. Some fish are just trickier than others. I think he's awesome and I await his second tiny little crown.

Because Casey won the quickfire, she'll be working alone and gets first pick of the fish which in this challenge will be key. She goes with an Amberjack because she recognises it, the judges say "that's a good pick" in unison.

The teams are chosen, Sheldon and Shirley are working together after his sabotaging, their still teammates. Katsuji is much less excited to be stuck with John, who isn't happy either. Jamie is very excited to work with Sylva but knows nothing about Tunny. Me either! Jamie suggests ras el hanout, which is a very Top Chef kinda thing, sure!

Brooke isn't feeling the same love towards her partner Emily, who has yet to show brilliance on the Top Chef stage. It's still pretty early on, though, surely she's got something up her sleeve if she made it this far. Emily just agrees with everything Brooke suggests, that's not teamwork! That's intimidation! Or maybe "i just served burnt rice blended with cabbage so mebbe I'll regroup for a second."

BJ and Silvia are a team and I can't help but notice that he equates her as being on the bottom as much as him and I don't think that's how it went, Sailor. Amanda and Jim are going to do GREAT!

Hoo boy Katsuji and John are not getting along at all. Even in interview, they can't agree on whether Katsuji hates John (he does) or whether they're friends (you are not, John), I don't hold out much hope for them. They have tomatoes and fish, that's it.

Whole Foods time! Nothing to report, but John and Katsuji fight over canned tomatoes or heirloom tomatoes and I have to agree with Katsuji on that one, John, But I do hope you rock your canned fire-roasted tomatoes right over Katsuji's arrogant arse, too.

Emily spills the tea back at the house; she worked for Mike Lata for three years until he fired her bossy arse. Katsuji gives her the gears later; he doesn't suffer fools gladly, but he could ease up too, dude.

Sheldon grew up eating trash fish in Hawaii, he loves this challenge! Mullet was his bread and butter and now it's his challenge. Jamie and most other chefs are usually working on Christmas, but every other year he would take his son Max to New York; his son sounds awesome.

Sylva used to rock some sweet dreads! And that's how he attracted his wife at a holiday party. He pursued her for a couple of months before she agreed to go out with him, I'm going to take that in the most positive way possible.

Emily is definitely not in The Zone right now, she's feeling insecure after the poor showing at the quickfire challenge and with one of the guys who fired her judging this one...she's letting Brooke do all the heavy lifting. Brooke understands, but is feeling that weight.

BJ and Silvia are working well together, considering he sent her secret crush home and all. She's making a special cracker (??) called "pane carasau" which he doesn't understand but is looking forward to. They're not familiar with barrel fish, so they're doing a test run, which is wise.

Sheldon is ecstatic he has Shirley on his team; she works fast and clean like him.

Tasting time! Hey, Gail Simmons is back with Padma Lakshmi, Tom Colicchio and Richard Blais! Graham Elliot, Nilou from earlier and Mike Lata are eating as well.

Sheldon and Shirley are up first; all you can see are people picking bones out of their mouths.

Jamie and Sylva are next: Tom is all trepidation; he does not like tunney. They pull it off, though even though one of the judges TELLS THEM everyone thought they'd fail miserably.

I did not know there was a fish called Blackbelly Rose! I want that! Emily and Brooke's fish looks odd but yummy. Mike Lata calls out the searing of the fish right away (the only thing Emily did) and Tom wants to know how this oddly flavoured dish came together. Is this planned? Did they get producer whispers that Brooke did all the preparation and planning? Nilou suggests that they lacked editing and balance; if they're on the carpet tonight: Brooke is completely in the right to shift Emily directly under the next bus.

Jim and Amanda are working together fairly well, she's his opposite: loud and disorganized, but I think both of their work is amazing, so I hope they pull it out. BJ and Silvia are finding their fish almost inedible. Their fish is tough and lacks flavour, but they love her special cracker.

John and Katsuji are still fighting; their dish is going to be all over the place. It is very well received, especially Katsuji's sauce

When Jim called Amanda loud and disorganized, he left out the part where she's clearly lost the fucking plot. She's all over the place! Dropping things, shouting, he's very methodically working through steps and she's like a toddler with ADHD. She is MANIC. Their dish looks lovely, but when Tom asks who cooked the beans (that Jim told Amanda to let cook longer) she blows up in this weird sweaty mess. I really like your work, Amanda, keep it together!

Casey didn't even want to bring out a dish, but she does. It SUCKS.

And now ti's time for the judges to deliberate. The top three are: Team Sheldon/Shirley, Team Jamie/Sylva and Team John/Katsuji. Pulling ahead are: John and Katsuji, winning is Katsuji for that sauce! He cries.

Casey is sooooo lucky she has immunity with her raw fish and gummy porridge. The other teams have to answer for their difficult food, I hope Amanda and Jim are not on the hook. Emily cries while Katsuji picks at her some more, what's the point of that, K? Feck off

At the end, it's BJ they send home for over-reducing the fish broth, which is a strange answer to a difficult challenge and I guess I agree with that.