Recap: 'Top Chef: Seattle,' Episode 6

Twelve chefs were left as episode six began, and I feel like we're really starting to get a feel for these chefs and what makes them tick.  

Marilyn Hagerty, who rose to national prominence thanks to an earnest Olive Garden review that went viral last summer, showed up as guest judge. For the Quickfire challenge, she tasked the chefs with making a sweet and savory dish based on their family's heritage.

Brooke's apple crostada with Cheddar won the challenge, winning her immunity, over Josh's Johnnycake with bacon-Cheddar compound butter, which Hagerty also liked.

Anna Faris and Chris Pratt showed up for the main challenge, and Faris informed the chefs that they needed to make one dish to satisfy their food cravings. Meat and potatoes, crabs, big game, and other "adventurous" foods were all on the table. "Pack as many calories in as you can," said Pratt, who's a hunter. The only restriction was no hummus, basically. Ostensibly the challenge was to cook food a pregnant woman (like Faris) would crave, but it was one of the few main challenges I've seen this early in the season where the chefs were essentially given free rein to cook whatever they wanted.

Rick Moonen showed up to judge, and John freaked out a bit because he used to work for him.

Here were the dishes:

Bart: Elk loin with cherry beer sauce and mushroom couscous
Brooke: Lamb-stuffed squid on black rice with coconut milk
Sheldon: Braised Okinawan pork belly with seared scallop and rice congee
Stefan: German gulasch with marjoram bread dumplings and sour cream
Kristen: Délice de Bourgogne Tortelloni with dried apricot sauce
Micah: Braised pork ribs with celery root purée, grilled apples, and celery leaf salad
Lizzie: Crusted king salmon with radish and beet salad
Eliza: Elk rib-eye with elk sausage polenta, spiced carrots, and huckleberry port sauce
Danyele: Pan-roasted wild boar, hoppin' John, and tomato-bacon marmalade
Josh: Roasted pork shoulder and grilled corn purée with succotash and fennel apple salad
Josie: Malbec-braised short ribs, pork belly, polenta with cippolini onions and figs
John: Seafood chowder with cockles, Manila clams, crab, mussels, and sockeye salmon

Now, onto the results. This week, the contestants on the top were:

John: "The integrity of every ingredient shone," said Rick, who called his chowder "celebratory soul food."
Kristen: The cheese and dried fruit "make perfect sense when you hear it," according to Tom.
Sheldon: "Every part of your soul was in there," according to Padma. Rick called it "a melting pot of ingredients."
Brooke: "If you keep cooking this way, I guarantee nobody is going to yell at you," Tom says to calm her fears about screwing up (the reason she's been "holding back" thus far).

Rick announced the winner, Brooke, who showed "creativity and a real balance of flavors." She walked off with a Toyota Prius.

And on the other end of the spectrum, the contestants who landed on the bottom were:

Eliza: The elk was unevenly cooked, and the carrots were dried out. Padma wondered if she even tasted it.
Danyele: The boar was also unevenly cooked, and the judges agreed that she shouldn't have left it on the bone. She admitted that she was really stressed out and didn't think she's doing so well. Tom gave her some advice: "Cook your food. Do your own thing."
Josh: "The ratio of pork to everything else on your dish was totally out of whack," said Padma. It also was under-seasoned.
Micah: His celery root was grainy, and the whole dish was off-balance.

While the quality of the food served was a major step up from last week, as Tom acknowledged, Eliza ended up going home. Honestly, as soon as I saw her cutting that meat into those awkward slices, I had a feeling that it was her time to go.