No cheese curd for you

Top chefs flub and artisanal challenge flops on Top Chef Seattle

Top chefs flub and artisanal challenge flops on Top Chef Seattle

Top Chef, Danyele McPherson, John Tesar, Josh Valentine
Chefs John Tesar and Josh Valentine are going to open a restaurant together called Josh 'N' John's Place. Kidding. Photo courtesy of Bravo
Top Chef, Danyele McPherson, John Tesar, Josh Valentine
Excuses from CJ, while poor Tyler gets dragged down with him. Photo courtesy of Bravo
Top Chef, Danyele McPherson, John Tesar, Josh Valentine
Lizzie and Danyele make CJ's favorite dessert, a chocolate curry mousse tart. Photo courtesy of Bravo
Top Chef, Danyele McPherson, John Tesar, Josh Valentine
Top Chef, Danyele McPherson, John Tesar, Josh Valentine
Top Chef, Danyele McPherson, John Tesar, Josh Valentine

They could've called episode 5 of Top Chef Seattle "The Foodie Edition," with its focus on produce, farmers markets and artisanally made goods.

So how ironic that, on this artisan-centric week of all weeks, the dishes are so bad that the judges decide none deserves to win. Not one chef is able to take the raw materials made by little artisan elf hands and execute them into a worthy dish.

"We're not going to award a win at all," head judge Tom Colicchio says crankily. "The $10,000 is off the table."

You hear that? Off the table. Then again, what are you supposed to do with cheese curds, pickles, rose water jelly or candied salmon? Seattle may have fab-u-lous artisans, but their ingredients don't make for good improvisation.

 Further ramping up the difficulty, this is a team week. And arch enemies Josh Valentine and John Tesar get stuck with each other.

 Further ramping up the difficulty, this is a team week, and some teams face bigger obstacles than others. Eliza battles Josie's ego. Tyler must contend with the over-inflated confidence of CJ. And arch enemies Josh Valentine and John Tesar get stuck with each other.

"I would have preferred to be on anyone's team besides John," Josh says.

But the two Dallas-based chefs steel themselves and make it through the episode without pulling out the knives. In fact, their mini-taco quickfire entry, in which they're required to make breakfast on a stick, comes in second.

"I think me and John worked really well together," Josh says. "We put our differences aside and put out a good dish."

Getting along great turns out to be their downfall on the elimination challenge, when they tiptoe around, avoiding calling out each other's mistakes. Josh thinks John's grits are too thick, and John thinks Josh botches the cooking of the pork.

But sssshhh, not a word is said.

Lucky for them, their pork and grits aren't as bad as CJ's burger, served on a crumpet that disintegrates. CJ and Tyler are sent home, but not before arrogant CJ asks the judges to defend the dessert made by Lizzie and Danyele McPherson. This is CJ's problem: He views himself as being on the same level as the judges when he's really just a B-grade contestant.