Hello Top Chef, Trashies! I hope that you are all doing well and recovered from the holiday season. I have been slammed but here we go…
The chefs have returned from the judges table one bear down and one less sleep apnea machine in the house. Bruce is feeling the pressure and admits that he has been feeling the burn and cannot get intimidated. Bruce says this competition is eating him ALIVE.
That is, Emotional Terrorism
The next morning Brucie is writing out his daily affirmations and Brother demonstrates how he talks to the man in mirror. He says the last challenge made him cook with his soul and the Brother Luck style is changing.
They get their pearly white chef jackets on and Non-mustachioed Joe tells Brucie no bears in the bottom, because bears don’t bottom.
They head to the kitchen and like a spouse catching a cheater with its lover they catch the most recent Last Chance Kitchen happening before their very eyes.
They are all like this
You can check my full recap of Last Chance Kitchen here, which was the first 15 minutes of the episode: https://www.trashtalktv.com/01/02/top-chef-last-chance-kitchen-episodes-5-and-6-oh-snap/420544/
But basically they are all shitting their pants once Tom explains that the three standing before them are here to battle each other out to come back to the main competition. They are all hoping its Claudette that comes back and not an alum because well they watched last season when the contestants from the past wiped the floor with the newbies. However, Tom does tell them that the best food of the season has been happening in Last Chance Kitchen.
So basically, its KwaMAY (as B.Funk calls him), Lee Anne and Claudette or as I like to call her Little Miss Witch because girl has been straight goth since hitting LCK and you should have seen what she did with spiders. The challenge is to cook with their guts using offal meats.
Baby Bear is terrified that Lee Ann is pregnant because mommies are no joke. After Scar appears with the Top Chef coat, Big Daddy calls it….
Kwame is out
Scar tells him she is sorry because she was looking forward to having more of his food. He tells her to come to DC.
But that is not the only surprise…because both Lee Anne AND Little Miss Witch…
Are both back in
Scar isn’t prepared because she only brought one jacket and Big Daddy admits it was an on the fly decision. There are hugs all around and a big one for Lee Anne from Brother Luck that made me wonder if they know each other.
Scar says that today there will be no Quickfire because it’s time for some kumbaya.
In the beautiful mountains of Estes Park …
They are giving them 20 minutes and a pantry full of ingredients native to Colorado but they will have to make sure to grab all they need because that is all they will have to cook with once in the woods. The BMW’s are packed and they will also be able to stop for additional camping equipment.
Denver says she is pretty outdoorsy and then shows a picture of her catching a fish with her bare hands. That is more than just a little outdoorsy. Also, she is going to make a cake. Outdoors, in the woods.
Tu is making rabbit (tears) and tries to warn B.Funk that everyone is going to smoke their meat. He says in his talking head the judges seem to reward when chefs go out of their comfort zone so he is going to try something new. Immediately I feel a sense of dread for Tu.
Baby Bear is not excited about this trip, she hates the snow, she hates bugs and no one in Pakistan goes camping. She has the same look on her face that some of my co-workers did when I explained to them what REI is. Denver explains to the audience what a Dutch oven it, you see guys it’s not really an oven or farting under the blankets it’s a pot. Just in case you weren’t sure based off all the Le Crueset emails you probably get that you never signed up for in the first place. Claudette goes in with Stacho so he can purchase whatever it is that she needed, she is so going to regret that when she sees that he was shit talking her.
They pull up the campsite and it is covered in snow. So, before they can begin to cook they have shovel snow just to set up tents.
Tents 1 and 2 are on the struggle bus. They look like me and my friends when we went to Bonnaroo, got high and then tried to set up our tent. Tent 3 has Pioneer Woman Denver who has their tent upright shouting for poles to go at angles and hammering spikes into the frozen grounds.
You know what the Bears are most concerned about? Real bears because they may not recognize them as family.
These bears might
The chefs work well past sundown and I cant imagine the cold. But with their matching coats and head lamps this is probably one of the prettiest scenes I can recall on Top Chef also they really are bonding. However, Lee Ann is having some difficulties breathing due to the elevation and I am worried for her that’s no joke as a pregnant lady.
Big Daddy shows up with Naomi Pomeroy who will be serving as the guest judge on this challenge.
Tom is impressed that they have all survived thus far and brought them smores.
After the judges pack up for the night Uncle Brucie breaks out his guitar, but not his leather pants and B.Funk sings a little ditty. Brother finally explains the Lee Anne connection, she was instrumental in setting up the scholarship that gave him the opportunity to go to Japan.
6:30 AM the chefs are back up and cooking with 7 hours until service. Baby Bear wants to kill someone off screen until they offer coffee. The Real Pioneer Woman of Denver is having cake problems. Her cake burnt in the test batch she made in their oven so, she cleared snow down to the dirt and built an oven in the snow, built a base and is going to cook her cakes on top.
Not a snowman
Little Miss Witch is feeling the pressure of having to prove she deserves to be here after clawing her way back to the competition.
And some of the chefs take a break to go sledding
Uncle Brucie decided to use his mandoline as a replacement cavatelli board and Pioneer Woman’s cakes burnt again. Claudette offers to help her clean them out and remake them as well as turn the coals. B.Funk is feeling insecure about his dish because its just a bowl of chili but I am loving his sweet overalls.
The judges hike up to their spot for dining with wood crates for setting a proper picnic.
The judges ask her how she liked camping and she admits that it was rough and when asked if she would ever go again she says NO.
They love Pioneer Woman’s cake but Non-mustachioed Joe’s squab is overcooked. Also receiveing good reviews is Baby Bear’s duck but they really LOVED Uncle Brucie’s pasta.
Gail gives Lee Anne a personal welcome back greeting. Little Lisa dropped the nugget on me that Lee Anne worked for Top Chef after season 1 so this makes sense.
The representative from Estes says Lee Ann’s dish is the only dish that is good. Gail can’t stop talking about the fish foumet and Scar like Le Bernardin’s dish but Naomi found it overcooked. But Little Miss Witch’s venision is perfectly cooked and that’s a rarety.
And B.FUNK Part 2
Tom says Tu should have stuck to one dish because the rabbit is very dry. Scar found this very funny. Naomi is confused by Tanya’s presentation and dish. Gail says that Brother’s dish is a mess and the woman with the Kate Gosselin hairdo agrees that it was very chewy. B.Funk’s meat is also dry and Big Daddy says he’s not surprised because he saw him cooking it last night… ew.
The favorites were ….
Naomi congratulates The Real Pioneer Woman of Denver on her ability to bake that cake in the woods because there is so many ways it could have gone wrong. Scar says it was fluffy and kept her hand warm. Denver tried to play it off like its NBD but catches herself and says yeah it was hard! The dessert queen herself, Gail gives her mad props by saying she rarely has had a dessert on this show with such nuance.
Gails tells Lee Ann that her dish was beautiful and the fiddleheads really added something to that dish. Lee Ann says that in Hawaii there is something similar and she has cooked with them before. Tom says that sauce was good and she admits she kept it simple just for him.
Gail compliments Uncle Bruce’s pasta and his ability to make the deep ridges to hold the sauce calling the dish fantastic. And the winner is
Brucie Bear got his groove back…
He says that the other chefs better watch out because just like his legs after a set in his old leather pants, he will be on FIRE!
In the bottom.
Scar asks B.Funk what went wrong today. He says that he thought the chili would be too simple so he made the platter of meat. Gail says that is was confusing and had he just served the chili he would have been fine and Tom agrees.
Scar asks Tu if he was happy with his dish and he says he knows why he is here. He admits that the rabbit was dry and he should have served it in the soy braised broth.
Naomi tells Tanya that her lamb was cooked perfectly but it wasn’t seasoned enough and the components were confusing. Once she explains that the blackberry was for the lamb and the mushroom sauce for the farro, Scar has an A-HA moment. Big Daddy says the problem was there wasn’t enough mushroom sauce
After they are dismissed they are sitting around a smoldering campfire and Lee Anne imparts some wisdom on them. She tells them without calling out names that it is always better to do one dish than multiples because otherwise they judge you on every little element. Gail echos this at the judges table that something done three ways is never as good as one thing done beautifully.
Tu David Phu Thanks For Everything Love Top Chef
Tu is gracious and then we get a weirdly dubbed voice over from Tom, telling him Last Chance Kitchen isn’t over they both nod out of sequence like a badly dubbed Kung Fu movie. I wonder how that is going to go exactly? Does Kwame get another bite at the apple or are they starting fresh. There was no LCK last week so we shall see.
This week the chefs start to show cracks. Lee Anne is not feeling well and BEER!