This week’s Top Chef began with the saga of Josh and John. John says whatever comes to his mind—which is admittedly not always so nice. Josh perceives this as John being out of touch, incompetent and a jerk to boot. The jerk part may be true, but the rest makes no sense due to John consistently landing on top and Josh landing on the bottom. More on that later.

First we saw the week’s quickfire, where Josh actually proved he has the beard to carve a nice piece of meat. He landed in the top with John and CJ, but ultimately John’s braised oxtail dish was the dish that impressed the judges the most. It was one of those times when going out on a limb paid off.

This week’s challenge was a fairly difficult one, however. Everyone was put together in a tiny kitchen and told they needed to create dishes found in restaurants in the 1950s. Chefs had to know about the history of food and even cooking styles, and while some people were in their element, others were not.

We saw weird salads that were heavy on the dressing, baked potatoes and mushroom sides, tons of different types of meats, and to top it off sundaes and sherbet for dessert. Some people did embrace the spirit of the fifties and create yummy dishes to boot, but others missed the mark. Earlier, Padma had announced that two people were going to go home, and thus four landed on the bottom. Josh’s onion soup was cold, CJ’s has used the wrong cooking process that didn’t exist in the fifties, Carla’s squab was not cooked properly, and Chrissy made an overdressed salad. Eventually, Carla and Chrissy went home. The good news is, Kristin earned the win this week for some mushrooms she actually called “easy.” We’ll see if the curse is broken and the winner actually sticks around next week.

The Favorites
#1) John Tesar (36): John might not be the easiest chef in the history of the show to get along with, but if the first few episodes of Season 10 are any indication, he might be one of its most talented. He once again took home top honors during the quickfire, and contrary to what Joshua may have said, his expediting didn’t really screw anyone over. I’m not ready to say he’ll win, but it would be a shock at this point if he didn’t make the finals.

#2) Stefan Richter (33): Stefan had a solid, though unspectacular week. His quickfire pasta dish was very well-received by the guest judge, but it somehow wasn’t singled out among the top three. His throwback kidney at the restaurant during the elimination round, however, was gushed over by just about everyone and landed him in the top. In fact, I was pretty positive he was about to be declared the winner when Kristen snuck in. This is the chef we all thought we’d be seeing. Now he needs to keep it up.

#3) Lizzie Binder (32): Lizzie went out on a limb and made pickled herring for the elimination round this week. She’s consistently shown us solid dishes and good judgment, but she hasn’t won anything, yet. She, like Stefan, needs to hop over the hump and take home a quickfire or elimination challenge win to land in that top spot.

#4) CJ Jacobsen (31): CJ probably shouldn’t be this high this week. He made a huge mistake when he used a cooking technique that wasn’t around in the 1950s. However, he’s gone hard since the beginning of the competition. Last week, his turkey was the hardest dish of the night and he cooked it to perfection. This week he took on grill responsibilities alongside the creation of his own dish. He’s hungry for the win, and all he needs to do is find the right balance between his own stuff and working with others to land on top.

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