Let's hope that last week's Top Chef episode, with Jason Stratton's well-placed insults and Quick Fire victory, wasn't his peak. Because this week, our man almost got the boot.
The episode picks up with more Jason vs. Phillip jabs. "The reason I was upset, it took fucking chutes and ladders to get to the point of ever admitting that there was a mistake made," Jason tells Phillip. At this point, we're hoping Phillip sticks around if only so he can be the punching bag.
Moving on. We're in San Diego now, and there's a taco-based sudden death Quick Fire challenge that sends Angelina packing, finally. Jason makes a taco with yellowfin tuna and truffles, which goes over fairly well. Still, the winner is Chad White, the San Diego chef who is from Spokane and moving back there to open a restaurant later this year.
The next challenge involves cooking a dish based on the ingredients of beers created by the judges. Jason is randomly assigned a beer featuring lemon, coriander, and banana. Before he cooks, Jason throws out some backstory: "I recently left my restaurants Spinasse, Artusi, and Vespolina," he says. He wasn't feeling creative and needed to recharge his batteries, which is pretty much exactly what he told Eater back in February.
Anyway, Jason declares he's going to cook a pork and squid meatball, about which one Carl says, "He cooks old school dishes that are sort of forgotten about," and may or may not work well. Is this one going to flop?
The judges hate it. The textures of the dish are too soft (Dare we call it "gummy?") and overall it's just too weird. Jason looks mortified. Tom Colicchio calls it "bait" and says of Jason, "He’s almost like a food historian that wants to show you how much he knows about an old historical dish." Which is cool if he pulls the dish off, but in this case, Padma says there's a reason we don't eat some of these historical dishes anymore. Another judge wonders if Jason got the dish idea from aliens.
"This, I don't think, is representative of me at my best," Jason says through a frown.
Jason is among the three chefs up for elimination, along with Wesley and Isaac. We hold our breath, but it's Wesley who's getting the boot. We won't miss him or his butt crack. Here's hoping things go better next week, when the group heads to Los Angeles.