Pull out your hankies

Judges get sappy as Top Chef Seattle reaches long-awaited Restaurant Wars challenge

Judges get sappy as Top Chef Seattle reaches long-awaited Restaurant Wars challenge

Top Chef Seattle, Josh Valentine
Dallas chef Josh Valentine dedicated his Restaurant Wars concept to his deceased father. Photo courtesy of Bravo
Top Chef Seattle, Josh Valentine
Cheftestant Sheldon prepares a soup he learned from his grandmother. Photo courtesy of Bravo
Top Chef Seattle, Josh Valentine
Top Chef Seattle, Josh Valentine

While last week's tragically ousted contestant chef John Tesar continued his #SaveChefJohn campaign to get un-ousted, the remaining Top Chef Seattle contestants reconvened for episode 10 — some sadly, some not so much.

"Obviously, me and him have had our fair share of ups and downs, so I'm really glad that Lizzie pulled it off and that John is gone," said Dallas chef Josh Valentine in the opening scene. Sure hope Josh finds something else to be grumpy about for the rest of the season, now that Tesar is toast.

The quickfire challenge seemed strange at first, because it was about ginger. Ginger, as in the fresh produce item? But it has no corporate sponsor, no profit margin. Why ever is it on Top Chef?

 Kristen's dish did not dredge up her adopted Korean childhood, but it did do fancy French, and that pushed the judges' buttons even more than a sad story.

But Padma clarified: ginger as in Canada Dry ginger ale. Oh, okay. Even if Canada Dry's relationship to fresh ginger is tangential, the two items share the word "ginger" in their titles, so ginger it is.

The elimination challenge was the long-awaited "Restaurant Wars." Props to this season's contestants for not blithering about how desperately they've awaited Restaurant Wars, which has happened in every prior season. The only exception was Josie, who had something to prove because she missed Restaurant Wars the first time she competed.

This year's Restaurant Wars had a new twist, as Padma might say. Rather than the usual paper-rock-scissors deal, each contestant cooked a dish symbolizing their restaurant; the two winning dishes would determine the themes. The judges turned sappy, melting for any melodramatic back story, with bonus points if the tale involved death or other tragedy. That put Josh in the final three, because his restaurant concept was named for his father who died of cancer.

But the winners were shoo-in Kristen and Sheldon. Sheldon's sour tamarind soup with pork belly, shrimp and snapper was a recipe from his Filipino grandmother. Win!

Kristen did eggs with buttered radishes, which sounds odd even for someone who likes radishes. (Are radishes trending? FT33 has a dish with warm radishes.) Kristen's dish did not dredge up her adopted Korean childhood, but it did do fancy French, and that pushed the judges' buttons even more than a sad story.

Micah was sent home because the judges deemed his raw-food concept not quite personal enough, even though Josie's pork was so dry that Tom Colicchio rapped his fist on the table to simulate its dryness. Restaurant Wars part two continues next week.