Hello Top Chefians. I am so sorry this is terribly late, I have been sick all week and the sort of sick where all you want to do is sleep, which left very little time for recapping. So I hobbled this together ahead of tonight’s second episode and I hope you enjoy this recap. I apologize for the abundance of pictures but I like to capture each dish so we can oooh and ahh or snark accordingly but until that pack is cut down its going to be a lot. ALSO, in case you missed it I did a hot take on the chefs and what this season is promising to hold already so go look for that if you want some more information on them.
The chefs enter the kitchen eager and excited, like they aren’t ready to have their hopes and dreams dashed. I like how production had them all saying in succession where are from and what they cook rather than spending a few minutes introducing everyone one by one. I don’t like to get too attached early on.
Scar gathers them all up and asks them if they are nervous, she is suspicious of anyone who says no. The first chef we get to meet and hear him list all his accomplishments is Bruce.
The only thing I haven’t done is win Top Chef
Instead of introducing themselves and getting to know each other they are going to make a dish for a potluck and let everyone get to know them through their food… oh also this will serve as their first quickfire.
Yes Scar whatever you say
They will have 45 minutes to cook for each other and the judges, they can cook whatever they want BUT first impressions are very important.
Adrienne acknowledges how amazing it is to even be on Top Chef but as the first black female executive Sous Chef at Le Bernardin she dreams of being the first black female Top Chef.
I am guessing that the instruction for this shot was everyone look in a different direction
And they are off
Chris or as I am going to call him from here on out B.Funk, is going to make his traditional Amish Soul Food with dumplings. A combination of what he calls hick/stick, heehaw, chewing tobacco, motley crew with Philly grit.
It’s time to get funky
Bruce goes for protein first because he doesn’t want to get stuck with like chicken wings. Cut to Tanya who is making chicken wings!
Whatever Brucie Baby, chicken wings are delicious
We get snapshots of Tanya’s accomplishments, which unfortunately features a picture of her and Mario Batali. Sheesh talk about bad timing.
Tyler is making potato salad with chorizo that he calls west coast style but is taking a chance because he is cooking the chorizo in the oven, which he has never done before. He says that he has a lot of tattoos from growing up a punk rocker.
I got a tattoo of a fryer bucket on my back…. JK
Chef Stacho is making the pasta.
The chefs chime in their talking heads about Chef Stacho’s glorious stache, calling him everything from a Brooklyn bartender to the guy who would tie up the ladies to the train tracks, in silent movies I hope.
Carrie is making a summer bruschetta and shares with us that she grew up very Mormon. Based on her childhood picture I would have thought she grew up in one of those early settlers reenactment attractions. Joseph is making a whole snapper in the wood burning oven because it happens to be his specialty. Joe is from the Southside of Chicago and his friends joke that he can cook all kinds of fancy food but he can’t make an Italian beef.
Joe, I’m going to let you finish but dude THIS IS NOT A PICTURE OF AN ITALIAN BEEF AND YOU KNOW IT BECAUSE NOBODY AND I MEAN NOBODY PUTS LETTUCE ON AN ITALIAN BEEF
Tu David Phu not only has a super fun name to say but he also wants everyone to know he is a force to be reckon with so he’s going to make a salad.
Melissa prepared for Top Chef by having two panic attacks. She is passively aggressively asks people if they took all the shrimp because she is making a seafood stew. With 12 minutes she is roasting vegetables for strong stock and is most concerned about the potatoes getting tender enough.
At the 5 minute mark the judges renter the kitchen. Tyler has realized that his seared the piss out of his chorizo and its crumbly. He says that he promised himself that he wouldn’t say this is harder than it looks, but it is, so please mark your Top Chef bingo cards accordingly.
The chefs and judges sit down at a T-shaped table and eat family style.
Scar calls it delicious and homey and tells her a lot about him.
Claudette says in her talking head that she is side-eyeing that chorizo
Tom says he is curious about this soul Amish food and is interested in tasting more.
Tom is the first to admit that he knows Bruce, as does Graham and Gail as Scar noted Bruce gets around.
Chef Stacho gives her restaurant the best compliment anyone could, it’s worth the hour wait for brunch.
BTW Brother Luck is his real name and his new restaurant just opened on the Monday before he left for Top Chef.
Rogelio speaks up and tells her that he thought it was really well-done mole given the amount of time. I can’t believe she made mole in 45 minutes mine takes 2 hours at least. Mexican RESPECT.
Tom tells him that its very bold to do something so simple but it’s well season and good.
Graham says he enjoyed the texture and flavors.
The judges ask them straight up what they enjoyed, many agree Tu’s was delicious, Joe’s snapper was tasty and Tu liked B.Funk’s dumplings. The judges will not be judging them this time instead they will vote for each other by ballot on their favorite and least favorite BUT they cannot vote for themselves. When the votes are in Scar announces that there were two chefs at the bottom were Carrie and Melissa and then asks the other cheftestants to give them feedback.
Bruce tells Melissa he did like the soup but that the potatoes needed more time to cook because he had one big potato and it was under-cooked. Scar tells Carrie that the bruschetta may have not been the best choice and Big Daddy concurs as the flavors were very muddled. The top three vote were for Stacho, Non-Mustachioed Joe and Tu. Gail agrees as those were her favorites too however Daddy would have preferred more acid in Non-Mustachioed Joe’s snapper. Gail tells Tu that his dish was perfect for the potluck with its freshness and Graham felt that the pasta in Stacho’s was excellent given the time. Daddy also felt B.Funk’s should have been up there too. However, Tu had the most votes and he is the winner of the first Quickfire.
Sweet, sweet immunity
Back in the day Denver was known as a meat and potatoes town but recently experienced a culinary renaissance and the chefs are taking food to a new level. For the first elimination challenge they will be hosting a block party in Larimer Square where historic architecture meets modern cuisine. So, they will be doing the same by putting a new twist on an old staple…. meat and potatoes. Carries says she has worked in Larimer Square for years and the game is on, she is not going to be in the bottom again…
The chefs are off to Whole Foods. In the car on the way there Fatima confesses her major girl crush on Padma and how/her opinion means so much to her. She grew up watching her on her travel show on the BBC and recognized that she was the only brown woman on there. Fatima says Padma opened up a lot of door in many ways and she really wants her to like her food and respect her as a chef. You guys that’s super cute, its usually just the guys fawning over Scar. In another car Laura is giving the guys the rundown on what it’s like to work and live in Alaska. She talks about slaughtering seven reindeer this year and growing her own produce because as you guessed it there is no Whole Foods.
Laura admittedly has never been to Whole Foods so she doesn’t know the layout but because her and her son have watched every season together she knows to go get her proteins first. She isn’t wrong and we get a shot of all the chefs screaming meat orders at the butchers. Melissa is determined to show that she can cook potatoes after being in the bottom for the Quickfire.
Back in the kitchen the chefs are dashing about to prep for the big day. Tyler is making a dish that he hopes showcases the four dwarfs of BBQ; smoky, salty, sweety and sleepy from the meat. Bruce isn’t worried about prepping for this meal because he’s done tons of stuff like this, he just needs more than one pressure cooker and the Joe’s are both making beef tartare. It will be a true Joe down throwdown.
Melissa is hoping to redeem herself on the potatoes but she doesn’t eat them very much so there’s that. Big Daddy and Graham walk in to check on everyone and stop at B.Funk’s station first after he explains his dish he tells us in his talking head that he’s applied five times and never made it to the dance. Some of those seasons I can definitely see why but season 13 LA!?!?!?!?! Was it because he had TOO MUCH personality because everyone on that season was like watching paint dry. Carrie name drops her old boss as she is doing a variation on chips and dip recipe using spareribs. Rogelio is doing some sort of croquette with sirloin and even though Tom questions if he has enough time he is wise not change horses midstream at this point.
With one hour left Laura reveals that with all the ovens being used she has to change it up with her plans and decides to do pita bread in the pizza oven. She says that one of her strengths is that she is very adaptable because being in Alaska shit can happen like a moose coming and eating an entire field of cabbage you were planning on using. That will serve her well in this competition. At the seven-minute mark Bruce is struggling and Tu offers to help him out. Claudette says that if she was in the weeds like that she would cut back instead of having someone help out with prep because it makes you look like a fucksack. I am not sure what that is but I love her bitterness and dry humor.
They make to their new digs and immediately B. Funk shows his age by name checking MTV Cribs. Tyler and Bruce are going to room together because they both sleep with sleep apnea machines and Non-Mustachioed Joe will be joining them because as Tyler said he’s fat boy who is about 3-4 years away from his own sleep apnea machine. They are going to call their room the bear den, which I mean….. They do know what bears also stand for right? RIGHT?
The next morning, they are psyched and run into their pre-setup stations with their names on them. Stacho notes that he doesn’t have a pot and the fryer only goes up to 375 but it’s cool because Tu has his back. Tu is going to heat up his stew on the induction burners in a hotel pan. We learn more about Fatima, she was working in a restaurant but missed her Pakistani roots so she started her own street fair food stand and has a permanent tent. Carrie who is really into her personal stardom in Denver says she see people she knows walking by and they are all yelling “go Denver,” no one else has that kind of pressure. Um the camera caught two people waving to you I wouldn’t start making plans to pose for your Sardi’s picture yet.
The judges split up in teams as per usz. Scar and Big Daddy’s first stop is Fatima.
Scar comments that is looks like a Pakistani nacho and that it’s going to be an avalanche so they take one huge bite. Tom says there is a lot going on but you can taste everything. Scar tells her that she has that chat-patay (sp) feeling, which explains as Indian umami. Fatima legit looks like she is going to melt and admits the fact that Scar just said that about her food is making it hard for her not to freak out.
Graham and Gail hit up Tu’s tent
Gail says his potatoes are beautiful but it tastes bitter. Tu blames the hotel pans, that they got scorched. Gail is like well you have immunity so……………
At Bruce’s station Scar and Big Daddy meet up with Gregory Gourdet, runner-up in the Boston season 12 when Mei kicked ass.
Scar asks Big Daddy if he liked it and he points to his empty bowl as how much he hated it and said what he loved best was that it was perfectly balanced.
Carrie is next with her chips and dip.
Tom compliments the lemon goat cheese but tells her that his chip was burnt. Carrie is crestfallen because she made eight perfect chips just for the judges and set them in the warmer so they would be ready.
From one chip to another Scar and Daddy head to Stacho’s table where he is serving up some California realness.
Scar asks if she should just shove it all in at once and we cut to Stacho making a crack about Padma not being able to fit all his meat in her mouth. Either these cheftestants are more witty than past seasons or they are getting lines written for them. It doesn’t help that when Tom compliments the coldness of the meat Scar agrees nothing she hates more than choking on some warm slimy meat and then cracks up as Big Daddy pulls her away from a blushing Stacho.
Brother Luck is showing G&G his purple potato puree.
Gail compliments the perfectly cooked lamb and Graham says it’s the most colorful dish they have seen. Agreed visually its beautiful.
At Rogelio’s he is frying to order on these croquettes because he wants to make sure they are hot.
Tom tells him that he’s glad he didn’t throw him off last night and says it’s really good.
Double G stops at Tanya’s.
They tell her that they were expecting more flavors since she mentioned jerk flavors.
Oh, hey I didn’t know this event was open to massive douches too
Tyler’s final dish of the four dwarfs of BBQ looks and sounds delicious.
B.Funk’s visited by G&G
I hear Gail let out a yummy sound after her first bite and they both give this dish great compliments.
Scar and Tom are next at Claudette’s who also did tartare.
Tom says its lacking salt and acid.
At Non-Mustachioed Joe’s tartare station.
Big Daddy gives him a nicely done and flavored well as he walks away.
At Laura’s station G&G suggest that she add a sauce to the flat bread to make it easier to eat.
She takes the suggestion well and does that thing I do when I am uncomfortable, give compliments in weird voices.
Melissa is showing off her well-done potatoes.
Scar compliments her creamy potatoes but as they walk away they both agree that it was not good.
Tyler lays some housewives level shade down when the double G stop by his station after they ask him if he would serve his dish at his restaurant. He says he’s never made this dish before because this is Top Chef, he’s not here to make chips and tartare. SNAP!
At Adrienne’s she is showing a pretty dish that is unfortunately too sweet.
She could tell that Scar did not enjoy it upon the first bite.
The sky is darkening as the judges meet at a table in the center to discuss favorites. Scar doesn’t want to appear biased but she thought Fatima’s knocked it out of the park. Big Daddy like Tyler’s and Gail agrees that it was great use of the potatoes. Graham says Stacho’s was great too and the best of the tartare’s. Also, B.Funk’s and Bruce. The least favorites were Carrie’s because Graham got a raw chip. Scar brings up Rogelio’s croquette and Melissa’s dish.
A the judges table the Top Three are …
Fatima, B.Funk and Fryer Tyler
And the winner is……
Losing all my fingerprints to pinch those potatoes was totally worth it… let’s rob a bank
Tyler says he’s stoked because he knows that old saying whoever wins the first elimination challenge wins Top Chef.
Scar calls the bottom three to center stage and tells Tu has he not had immunity he would be here too.
Adrienne, Melissa and Denver
Tom tells Adrienne that he thought the tostone was fine and Scar gives him major sideye because she thought it was awful, but overall it was too sweet and Graham says the whole thing was not enjoyable.
Big Daddy tells Melissa her food ate dry and tasted like warmed over food.
Scar asked Carrie what she would change about her dish and Carrie admits maybe should have focused more on the potato component and less on the lemon goat cheese.
And …………… Melissa is out.
Tom tells her that it wasn’t so much that her dish was bad just basic. BUT she will have a chance to redeem herself in Last Chance Kitchen, except this year there is a twist.
Honestly this is much of a surprise she didn’t appear in any of the trailer for the season but still it’s sad to see them upset and cry, no one wants to be the first person out.
I am going to cover Last Chance Kitchen 2 & 3 together this time because I couldn’t get 2 to play for me right so hopefully that has been fixed. Looks like tonight we are going to see Tu hack some lamb much to Stacho’s dismay.