‘Top Chef: Boston’ episode 9 review: Was the raven Gregory Gourdet’s nevermore?

Top Chef -The greatness that is “Top Chef: Boston” continued on Wednesday night, and it brought us a high-stakes episode that could not have been any closer to what we were hoping to see in an hour of reality competition … for the most part.

Let’s get the bad out of the way first: That Quickfire Challenge was ridiculous. Basically, Rob Gronkowski seemed to pick George Pagonis as the winner of the sausage competition, despite some of his struggles, because he loves breakfast. No disrespect to George; surely, his sausage really was amazing. The problem is that either Gronk did a horrible job explaining his culinary taste to viewers, or it was left on the cutting-room floor. We didn’t really get a sense of understanding the winners and losers.

Now, let’s get to the good: That Elimination Challenge was right up our alley. As an English / Creative Writing major, seeing chefs cook courses inspired by authors was a great way to do things. We like the more creative challenges, and this had everyone taking reasonable risks, and trying to really elevate their food so that it told the story.

We’re not much of a vegetable guy, but there was no doubting that Mei Lin’s “Walden” inspired dish looked fantastic. The onion soil and the snow technique were fantastic, and it really looked like she made the effort to extract flavor. She won the challenge, but kudos to Doug Adams for doing something also delicate in that Emily Dickinson inspired soup. Basically, it may be the happiest thing ever associated with Dickinson ever.

The great thing here is that even the “weak” dishes weren’t that weak. We were super-nervous for Gregory Gourdet and his Edgar Allan Poe dish. Let’s face it: He had a tricky task of making creepy food that didn’t look gross. While he could have used more creepiness in the presentation, his food was well-received. That’s all that he could really ask for.

Unfortunately, Katsuji Tanabe could not say the same. He had just a little too much criticism for his “Carrie”-inspired dish to survive, even if it was gory and inventive and awesome. We’re really going to miss him on the show this season; we figured that he probably would not win, but from his antics in the kitchen to his cooking style to his sense of humor, the guy was entertainment gold. The show gets a little less surprising with him gone. Episode Grade: A-.

We’re going to have a review of tonight’s “Top Chef Kitchen” episode up soon at this link, so be on the lookout for that. Also, sign up now to get some other TV updates on all we cover via our CarterMatt Newsletter. (Photo: Bravo.)

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