In a surprise twist, "Top Chef" veterans Josie Smith-Malave (Season 2), Chris "C.J." Jacobsen (Season 3) and Stefan Richter (Season 5) returned to the competition Wednesday night. Padma Lakshmi announced that, after serving as judges on the Quickfire Challenge, the three chefs would join the existing chefs to compete for the next "Top Chef" title.
Josie is still a fireball; C.J. is timid, though with a little more confidence; and Stefan is as arrogant as ever. "There isn't one person I've met who hasn't said, 'Stefan, you should have won,' " Stefan told the camera. "Of course, I should have won." Yeah, but you didn't.
The chefs competed in six teams of three for the Elimination Challenge: Cook a meal at the Seattle Space Needle that showcases the city's seasonal ingredients, with Seattle chef Tom Douglas serving as guest judge.
To find out who went home and who continued on, keep reading...
The blue team -- John Tesar, Kuniko Yagi and Sheldon Simeon -- won the challenge with Kuniko's ingenious chile-poached cod, Sheldon's dashi broth and John's spot prawn shabu shabu. No surprise there, but I was shocked to see the three veterans on the red team in the bottom two. C.J. miserably failed to make a cherry sauce and Stefan overcooked the team's quail. Stefan's only defense? "Well, they were small birds." Sorry to break it to you, Stefan, but quail are always small!