Hello Trashies and welcome, back to Top Chef! Previously, Non-mustachioed Joe and Baby Bear were eliminated. The remaining cheftestants were berated for their pedestrian food, however Denver and B.Funk ultimately won. If you didn’t see it in the comments in the last recap sagittariuskim posted a picture of them at the Super Bowl and they looked stoked!
The chef pile into the stew room and Stacho lets us know how hard of a week it was losing Non-mustachioed Joe and then Baby Bear faltered on her nachos. Dude, you were almost eliminated too. Had her nachos been slightly better or Le Bernardin admitted that she 100% made those ribs on her own you would have been toast, the fancy kind. But you know what he’s realized that playing it safe is not going to work anymore and it’s time to step up his game.
Bruce says it’s time to step it up. He says in his talking head that he’s been cooking longer than some of the other cheftestants have been alive but what they don’t realize is that despite knowing everyone he isn’t doing that well. It’s weighing on him and eating at his confidence.
For B.Funk its different he is going to the Super Bowl and he is on Top Chef. His next goal now is to have the first Michelin starred soul food restaurant. I really like the super twinkly, hopeful music they played in the background to demonstrate the hopefulness for the future he has.
Later that evening at the house Le Bernardin shows us what a perfectionist she really is.
Dear diary Tom told me not be afraid to salt things
She has been recording all the criticisms and keeping track of what she needs to improve upon. She points out that she has won one Quickfire but no Elimination Challenges.
The next morning Denver calls her dad and it is sort of sad. She says after her parents divorced his mental health deteriorated. He is showing early signs of dementia so he lives in assisted living facility. That is what being here is all about for her, making a better life for him. Someone must be cutting onions in here because I am tearing up.
Once in the chauffeured BMW’s the chefs notice they are going a different way. At first Denver thinks they are heading to Boulder but then notices her surroundings.
The Stanley Hotel was Stephen King’s inspiration for The Shining.
Scar is waiting for them in them the parlor and explains that this is their last Quickfire before the finals begin. In 1973 Stephen King and his wife checked into the Stanley for one night to what was supposedly an empty hotel. The nightmare he had that night inspired an entire novel and will be their inspiration for their Quickfire challenge.
Denver and I are the same, I do not watch scary movies because my imagination runs too wild. But I have never dreamed of tater tots made with pine nuts stuffed with jam like her. They will have one hour before serving Scar in room 217, where Stephen King had his nightmare. Also, Craftsy is giving them stuff to spark their imagination.
Denver is taking inspiration directly from The Shining with some panna cotta. Le Bernardin is making an ice cream with meringue chips and says she started out in pastry because it’s like an OCD person’s dream with all the measuring and need to be exact. Stacho never remembers his dreams because he’s been told that happens when you smoke a lot of pot. Yes, Stacho we get it you’re a crystal powered pothead. But his worst nightmare is cracking open and egg with an unborn chicken inside of the egg. Oh hey, now this is a nightmare we both share. THANKS, STACHO!
B.Funk has a story straight from Dateline serving as his inspiration, about hikers falling off ledges and splattering onto the rocks below. He started in pastry and was once known as Crème Brule…
Reverend Sweets, The Creamy Brown Brother and DR. CHOCOLATE
B.Funk I truly wish you would have shared all this earlier because your recap name would have definitely been one of these. He is making a buttermilk chocolate cake with a marzipan dead guy.
Le Bernardin and Stacho’s merengue’s are getting color so she turns down the heat. Uncle Brucie is also making panna cotta but only because he knows he can get it done in an hour. He says his biggest fear is drowning and falling off a cliff but he doesn’t know how to put that on a plate, his brain doesn’t work like that. So, he is saying as a kid he was afraid of seeds. REALLY, REALLY!
Pomegranate used to really freak me out
Looking for gelatin sheets all he finds is the powder and he doesn’t know the sheets to powder ratio. Denver give him the measurements and he realizes he hasn’t added enough and has no plan B. He’s concerned he isn’t going to get anything on the plate in time.
I thought that the horror movie editing touches they put on the whole episode were great but the voice over where Scar let us know she believes in spirits made me giggle. While looking for a Plan B, Brucie realizes too late that all the eggs have been used. Stacho is the first to serve and is waiting to the last minute on the ice cream because they have to run up the stairs and down the hall to room 217.
Stacho passes a ghost on the stairs who is terrified of his plate
Scar is waiting at a table for two in the room.
Joe is explaining his plate and somehow Scar is able to continue eating. She says its good but she had hoped for more pistachio flavor.
Brucie’s panna cotta never set and instead takes a blow torch to it once covered in berries, calling it semi freddo. Scar asks him what is this as he sets in front of her and he tells her his alleged seed fear.
Um I don’t think that is a thing
I would have just said I was afraid of blood because this thing is a bloody mess
B.Funk serves next.
Dateline: Sweet Secrets
Scar tells him that she loves how the plates looks and was exactly what she was hoping for.
Le Bernardin’s meringue isn’t setting properly so she switches gears.
Denver serves last and her panna cotta is tight but she is hoping that other elements will offset springy panna cotta. But she runs out of time before she is fully done plating and has to apologize as she sets the plate down in front Scar.
Missing from the plate is a black sesame ice cream, a champagne granita and a goat cheese sugar cookie
Scar she would have loved to taste all that and she is lucky that no one is going home from the Quickfire. Denver knows she would be in tears if that was the case. Feelin herself, Denver says the other chefs are really lucky she didn’t get that all on her plate then evil laughs.
The chefs reassemble in the parlor for grading.
Denver obviously is in the bottom for not getting everything on the plate and says she could have bounced that panna cotta off the floor. Brucie’s melted together becoming warm and too sweet. By default, all the others had her favorite dishes. She liked Stacho’s not the goriest, but good. She loved B.Funk’s dessert, the cake good and the detail specific. Le Bernardin had the most graphic dish and Scar loved the detail. The winner made a beautiful plate and was willing to go out there with their imagination…
Even though immunity is off the table the wins are giving him momentum AND he won $5,000 from Craftsy to use on Craftsy.
Moving right along… Scar tells them that the Elimination Challenge will take them down memory lane.
After this they will be heading to Telluride. They will have $250 to spend and 90 minutes to prep before presenting their final dishes to the Colorado governor at Governor’s Residence at the Boettcher Mansion. Denver is so excited because this isn’t just any governor he is a former restaurateur/brewer turned politician and she has always wanted to meet him!!!! Joining them for dinner will some esteemed chefs from the area and of course the judges.
The chefs reflect upon their time on Top Chef while at Whole Foods. Stacho again talks about when Chef Keegan told him he needed to slow his roll and not show his bag of tricks all at once. Le Bernardin talks about how she came here with the idea that she could come in and replicate Chef Ripert and Chef Samuelsson’s dishes but she realized that weren’t reflecting her and she needed to find her own voice. But Brucie is struggling because he can’t make pasta this time and is feeling the handicap. So instead he’s going to cook a great plate of food and come up with a story.
The chefs rush into the kitchen and fail to notice Big Daddy standing right in front of them.
Do they think I AM a ghost?
He asks them to gather around after Denver asks if they should. Tom tells them he’s not sure what they aren’t getting but he’s getting better food in Last Chance Kitchen then he is in the main competition. If he does not see a big improvement, he might be forced to bring back two people. He tells them to get out of their comfort zones and cook great food.
The chefs get busy in the kitchen and explain in their talking heads what their inspiration for their redemption meal. Stacho is going to make a redemption lamb with pasta using the entire beet. Le Bernardin is making roasted monk fish with a meaty sauce, she has already diagramed her plate. Uncle Brucie is making duck with braised fennel and barley. Denver is making an elk tenderloin and gathering inspiration from all her successful dishes, taking little pieces of each. B.Funk is making a dish inspired by all of the chefs, because they have been the one who have touched him the most; ravioli because this is Top Pasta and a deep potato fume for Le Bernardin. He truly feels like he has made lasting meaningful friendships. Denver calls this idea crazy, because IT IS. Who makes pasta for the first time on such a huge challenge. The chefs realize that this is the last time they will be cooking in the Top Chef Kitchen and Denver gives it a proper von Trapp children’s goodbye on the way out.
At the house B.Funk and Stacho play pool when a black figure in the corner shouts stuff.
I want to go home
At the governor’s mansion, the chefs are greeted by a stately manor and a tiny kitchen. Brucie tells us he is going to cook his barley risotto style and I can hear almost all of us groan. Even he admits that risotto is the kiss of death on Top Chef but he doesn’t care its creamier that way. Stacho acknowledges and him and Le Bernardin suffer from the same issue, finding their voice. B.Funk cooks he ravioli so he gets in it in a brown butter sauce.
The judges arrive and you can tell the governor and his wife are excited.
OMG Scar is way hotter in person
Joining them and the judges are three other chefs.
Scar explains the parameters of the challenge were too create a dish that reflects on their journey on Top Chef so far.
Graham remarks that the plate shows a huge amount of restraint for Stacho. Frank Bonnanno whispers to Tom that it is delicious. Big Daddy says it’s really flavorful and he loves that he used all parts of the beet. This is the sort food that they were looking for all season. The governor says that if all the food is going to be this good he’s going to keep them here for days.
Tom calls the dish tasty and Tommy Lee (hee hee hee) says he appreciated the capriciousness of the dish, the peppercorns and jam were great. Frank says that everything was seasoned perfectly while Tom says that after being all over the map this season she is figuring out her own voice.
The governor notes that the portions are getting bigger and he should have paced himself.
She took the moment to Pollyanna out on the governor and tells him how great of a job he is doing. The First Lady comments on how everything on her plate came together for one incredible bite. Scar says that it is the most flavorful and delicious dish that she has had so far. Graham calls it elegant and Tom says she put together a nice dish of food.
Back in the kitchen ….
Brucie says that his barley isn’t raw but… it’s also not cooked really well either. He says he’s not really stoked about this plate of food but he’s going to go out there and sell the hack out his plate. But when he goes out there he is more or less “Here’s my food and oh yeah, the barley is not cooked super well but I was told I do too much pasta and I couldn’t do that again, so I did barley because that’s like Colorado beer.”
He gets a thumb up from the governor probably because he could tell he was super deflated like you do with a little kid. The judges exchange a look after he walks out and finally Tom says the barley is way over-seasoned and undercooked. Graham shakes his head and mutters its inspired but not the Bruce they all know and love.
B.Funk is nervous because as soon as he puts the sauce on ravioli the trout skin gets wet.
Chef Steve Redzikowski says that trout skin wasn’t crispy but the fish is well-cooked. Frank Bonnanno says he like the lemon sauce but the pasta filing is very off but he could live with the texture of the pasta.
Overall Tom is impressed with the dishes they got today and calls them the best of all season.
Big Daddy tells them as they walk in the dishes were much better, they were focused, well-seasoned and all the proteins perfectly cooked. In the top three…
Graham tells Stacho that this is the best dish he has seen him do so far and Tom nods in agreement. Frank Bonanno tells him it was wonderful and perfectly made pasta. Big Daddy tells Le Bernardin the monk fish was perfectly cooked and nicely sliced. Graham wishes that there would have been more of the green peppercorn because he really enjoyed that part. Scar asks her if she is starting to find her voice and she says that she feels she is on her way. Scar asks Denver if she knew that she wanted to elk, she didn’t it just sort of came to her. Tom tells her that the meat was perfectly cooked and he liked the shishito peppers. Frank pipes in saying that he was fortunate to get a spicy pepper and with the blueberry sauce it went really well together. But the chef that demonstrated the most passion and technique is….
All three of them are moving on.
Time for Uncle Brucie and B.Funk to be in the hot seat. Scar asks Brucie what happened today. He says that he started running out of time and rushed his plating. Tom tells him that he is here for three reasons; the barley was undercooked; the barley was too salty and finally the duck was over-rested. Big Daddy says that those are three pretty big things but flavor wise the dish was ok. That wasn’t what his face said at the table.
Graham tells B.Funk that the ravioli was a misstep. He says that he was trying to push himself and show something new. Scar says that while they want them to push themselves but they also need to be true to themselves. Tom tells him that his biggest problem is getting his point of view on the plate. He needs to keep it simple instead over complicating the plate.
After dismissing the chefs Tom says that this an issue of conception, execution and skill. Frank was so offended by B.Funk’s ravioli he can barely function. No words for how his hideous blazer has assaulted my eyes. Scar says she would rather eat B.Funk’s fish of Bruce’s duck but Tom still isn’t sure.
Back in front of the judges Tom tells them they are both really good chefs and he hates to say you are only as good as your last dish but tonight your last dish is sending you home.
Bruce please pack your knives and go
He is understandably disappointed and knows that he has made mistakes. As much as he wants to go home he knows that if he doesn’t try then this was all for nothing and that is way worse.
Next time they are in Telluride and the winner of Last Chance Kitchen is revealed.
You guys, I can’t believe they eliminated Bruce. His heart didn’t really seem into the challenges and was all out of sorts. I wonder if had anything to do with pasta!?!?! What did you think? Should it have been B.Funk? Also, I was thinking of starting to drink every time they mention “finding my/your voice” and “stepping up.” Thoughts? Let me know in the comments below!
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