Top Chef Recap: Episode 11

Gourdet hangs on with help from his sister; Adams slotted for a comeback.

By Benjamin Tepler January 15, 2015

Gregory Gourdet with his sister, Jessica

Each week we bring you a recap of Top Chef: Boston, where our hometown heroes, Gregory Gourdet and Doug Adams, are facing off against 14 other challengers from around the country. (Click here for a quick primer.)

If you thought cooking on Top Chef, under the gun, at the whim of Tom Colicchio and Padma Lakshmi was stressful, imagine doing it with your mom. That was the challenge for Gregory Gourdet in the second-to-last episode before the finale, with only four cheftestants remaining.

Each of the finalists is given one family member (Gourdet gets his sister, Jessica) as sous chef in cooking a locally harvested seafood menu. The catch: the sous chef must cook an appetizer entirely on their own, with no help from the cheftestant. Guest judge Ashley Christensen, a 2014 James Beard: Southeast winner, joins the panel. There is no elimination for this challenge, but the winner goes STRAIGHT to the finals in Guanajuato, Mexico.

The chef-sibling dynamic could be a reality show on its own. Melissa happily receives her mother, a loving aerospace engineer (clear advantage here), George gets his quintessential Greek deli-owner dad (who he still calls “Mr. Tony”), and Mei is gifted her annoying younger brother, who she nearly kills trying to get him to hustle.

Close to the wire, Gourdet spends a little too much time coaching his sister on a tomato-watermelon soup with pickled cucumber and shrimp, and neglects his own halibut with oysters, mussels, and dashi—the halibut is slightly overcooked; the flavors, muddled. Unsurprisingly, the judges prefer Jessica’s soup to Gregory’s halibut.

Gourdet was lucky this time. He’s going to have to bring every ounce of his culinary finesse to the Judges’ Table next week to make it to the finals. Gourdet tells Eat Beat: “At this stage in the competition I really feel the weight of it all mentally, like I can't beat the clock and nothing has gotten easier.”

Meanwhile, on Last Chance Kitchen, Doug Adams is pulling himself back up to the top. In one of the most miserable product-placement maneuvers in Top Chef history, Adams and his cocky New York-born competitor, Adam Harvey, must make a dish using only a crudité platter and a bottle of Hidden Valley Ranch.

An entire lobe of undercooked foie gras landed Adams in Last Chance Kitchen. Then, with everything on the line, he overcooks a piece of steak. Adams is so stressed out; he’s beginning to resemble Old Gil from The Simpsons. Amazingly, he pulls together a dish of seared pork loin, spiced cauliflower, and ranch-pickled vegetables, beating out Harvey. Now, he’s headed to Mexico. If he wins the next round, he’ll rejoin the finalists for the finale. There’s still hope yet for an all Portland showdown.

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