On last night's season five episode of Top Chef Seattle, Tyler Wiard (nickname T-bone), the culinary director of Elway's -- and the exec chef of Elway's Cherry Creek -- is sent packing, along with fellow chef Chris "CJ" Jacobsen, the two of whom were bludgeoned by judges Gail Simmons, Padma Lakshmi, Hugh Acheson and Tom Colicchio for their pork burger, served on a crumpet, and topped with fried pickles. The verdict? "Underwhelming and soggy," scolded Colicchio. "Your crumpet disintegrated," echoed Achenson, before again chastising Jacobsen, who decided it would be a good idea to dump all over a fellow contestant's dessert...that he never tasted. "Your burger was worse," admonished Achenson. Colicchio, for his part, told Wiard that he had become "complacent" -- that he "folded."
See also: - Tyler Wiard meets Tom Colicchio, his "celebrity chef who needs to shut up," on Top Chef tonight - Tyler Wiard talks about Elway's, lobster and why Denver needs a good diner - Euclid Hall's Jorel Pierce on being booted from Top Chef Seattle
For the record, the burger was Jacobsen's idea. He was under the (wrong) impression that Colicchio would appreciate a burger crowned with pickles, the ingredient that he and Wiard were required to use from an artisan vendor at Pike Place Market. It was a dish, surmised the disgruntled judges, that fell way short, logistically, creatively and just about every other way, too. It appeared that Jacobsen and Wiard were done, that their tenure on Top Chef had come to an abrupt halt.
But Top Chef is giving the axed chefs an opportunity to redeem themselves during a thirty-minute Last Chance Kitchen battle, in which the booted chefs vie for a second chance to get their jacket back -- and return to the Top Chef kitchen.
Team Jacobsen and Wiard went up against a solo Kuniko Yagi, who was the reigning champ of last week's Last Chance Kitchen showdown. Their challenge? Make dessert. Jacobsen suggested, of all things, hay ice cream, which had Colicchio shaking his head in bemusement. Wiard's priceless response summed it up best: "What? Hay ice cream? Okay...freako."
The dessert, they decided, would also include chocolate, oven-roasted cherries and, proffered Jacobsen, arugula, which elicited this response from Wiard: "Arugula? Man, this guy is out there."
When it was all said and done, Colicchio stood in front of the three chefs to deliver his verdict. Would Jacobsen and Wiard's dessert impress him enough to warrant redemption, or would Yagi's dessert, which was composed of compressed fresh fruit and lemon curd, send them packing for good?
To learn their fate, watch the Last Chance Kitchen video on the following page.