Episode in one paragraph: The roadshow moves to San Diego, and everyone met on a pier for a—cue ominous music—sudden death quickfire. Everyone had 20 minutes to make their version of fish tacos for Padma and San Diego chef Javier Plascencia. The winner? The San Diego cheftestant and ex-Navy guy Chad White. Meanwhile, Angelina Bastidas forgot to actually plate her food, so she was dragged into a showdown against Wesley True (who, justifiably or not, may be getting one of the all-time worst edits in Top Chef history). True prevails and Bastidas was sent home. For the elimination challenge, the group had to make dishes based around ingredients used in some specialty craft beers created by Padma, Tom, Emeril, and Richard Blais (this episode’s judges), but not before Emeril showed up with an armful of wine for an evening of drinking and soul searching in the cheftestants’ suite. Karen Akunowicz won the challenge with her roasted duck breast with cocoa nib beet puree and Ras el Hanout carrots. Meanwhile, True, with his hangdog expression and endless bitching about Blais, was sent home for overdone lamb.
D.C. Performances: Shaw Bijou's Kwame Onwuachi was in the top group for both challenges and turned in a chicken mojo and banana sofrito dish that I’m dying to try. Ripple's Marjorie Meek-Bradley was solid enough in her technique to avoid the bottom group when she didn’t put enough actual beer flavor into the dish.
D.C. Wins: Quickfires, zero. Elimination challenges, three (Meek-Bradley, 1; Onwuachi, 2). Last Chance Kitchens, two (Garret Fleming).
Confidence Rating (out of 10): 9. Onwuachi looks like an unstoppable force at this point while MM-B is clearly ahead of most as the season approaches the halfway point. We like the odds of at least one D.C. chef (and maybe both) making the final four.