Top Chef Season 12 Recap: A Delicious Tribute for the Fans

By Kathleen Villaruben | 2 years ago
Top Chef Season 12 Recap: A Delicious Tribute for the Fans

Somebody returns in the new episode of “Top Chef” Season 12 Episode 8 “Clean Up in Aisle 2!” which aired last Dec. 10, 2014 at 10:00 p.m. on Bravo. In this episode, sudden death quickfire has an unexpected twist, and fans gather to have a food experience like no other.

Padma is with the owner of Summer Shack restaurants, Jasper White, as the seven chefs remaining head down for sudden death quickfire. They have to make unique chowder, which is an iconic dish in Boston. The winner will have immunity. The loser will face elimination.


Mei becomes mad when other chefs take a whole bucket of clams. She is left with limited ingredients. She uses steamer clams instead.

Doug grills the oysters, fearing the chowder will not have enough flavor. He notices Gregory using coconut curry soup as usual.

Adam cooks light, flavorful chowder to be different than the other chefs who cook heavy, fattening ones. Melissa cooks Thai-style chowder to stick with flavors she knows. Katie takes a risk by making black tea chowder.

Padma and Jasper taste all dishes. Padma likes Gregory’s razor clam and sweet potato chowder with bacon, dashi and coconut milk broth. She thinks the combination of sweet potato and coconut is perfect.

Katie presents her clams in lobster stock with black tea and sourdough. She thinks Jasper does not like her dish based on his facial expression.

Jasper’s favorites are Adam, Gregory and Melissa. Gregory wins, and it is his third quickfire victory. The bottom four is Doug, Katsuji and Mei. Doug’s chowder was salty. Oysters cannot be tasted in Katsuji’s dish. Mei’s presentation is pretty, but taste is bland. Katie is the least favorite because the sourdough is overpowering and has a gummy texture. She will battle it out in the elimination.

The chefs are surprised when Tom Colicchio enters the room with the eliminated chefs. The wildcards will choose somebody who will compete with Katie. George is chosen, who lost in his first elimination.

The challenge is to cook a rabbit dish in 45 minutes. To win, the chef must have two votes from Padma, Jasper and Tom. George has no more time to make the rabbit’s legs tender, so he uses loins instead. His effort pays off because his roasted rabbit loin, barley risotto, glazed carrots and mustard rabbit jus dish gets two votes from Jasper and Tom. Katie says goodbye to the chefs.

Gail Simmons and Richard Blais join Padma and Tom to present the elimination challenge inspired by suggestions from fans. The chefs will cater a tasting event. They must create dishes for 75 Top Chef “superfans” and foodies. The four judges will shop at Whole Foods Market for their secret ingredients. The chefs must choose whose pantry they will use by picking a knife with a name on it. Mei will use Tom’s pantry. Gail’s pantry will be used by Melissa and Katsuji. Doug and Adam will choose ingredients in Richard’s pantry. George will use Padma’s ingredients.


While shopping, Tom and Richard both want the lamb. For the sake of seniority, Richard lets Tom get it. Padma is hurrying to sabotage Richard’s cart when hers becomes unstable and a basket of fish falls from it. She fails in her scheme.

Adam is having a problem with Richard’s pantry because the eccentric ingredients are not cohesive together. He suddenly notices that Melissa’s shrimp and salad dish is too safe for she always cooks it ever since. Mei is having a difficult time cooking the lamb on the pan because of its bones. She decides to put it in the oven.

Guests excitedly enter the room and mingle with the chefs. Judges arrive and mingle with guests before they taste the food.

Katsuji presents his harissa-poached shrimp with Tunisian potato salad. Gail loves the potato salad. When Gail asks him what he thinks about her pantry, he says it is “cute.” Richard explains that there are no chillies in Gail’s ingredients.

Padma and Tom love Gregory’s coconut milk and chicken in madras curry with jackfruit relish. Both find it delicious and authentic.

Gail and Richard taste Adam’s flash marinated shrimp, mushroom conserva, peppadew peppers, herbs and aioli dish. Adam becomes honest with Richard that he was not comfortable with some of his ingredients. Gail prefers the shrimp hotter and five seconds longer. She thinks it is “squeaky.”

Melissa cooked a sautéed shrimp, harissa yogurt, roasted fig, fennel, mint and artichoke salad dish. Richard prefers it spicier. He tells her she is playing it safe. Gail thinks it is “almost too salty.”

Mei presents her rack of lamb with charred eggplant puree, scallion-ginger relish and lamb jus. Padma and Tom think it is undercooked.

The top three is George, Gregory and Doug while Mei, Adam and Melissa are in the bottom three.  Doug wins his second challenge in a row because he made use of the pantry well. Adam is eliminated.

“If you don’t love cooking enough to become an emotional mess on national television, put the knife down,” Adam cries.

There you have it for the recap on “Top Chef” Season 12 Episode 8 “Clean Up in Aisle 2!” which aired last Dec. 10, 2014 at 10:00 p.m. on Bravo. For more updates about this show, including spoilers and recaps, follow Movie News Guide (MNG).

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons/Bravo Canada