Good morning all! Your Top Chef Tuesday recap is coming soon. But first I’d like to express my support for Kyle Walker-Peters, who was racially abused during Southampton’s match against Man United this weekend.
Love you KWP! You’re one of our own!
Welcome to your first Top Chef Tuesday! Here we recap Episode 1 of Season 20.
The level in this season’s Top chef is unrivalled compared to the previous 19 American-based seasons. Not even the loftiest All Star cast came out swinging like this group in London, where even the simplest mistake, like neglecting to devein your shrimp, will send you home.
“Usually it starts a couple of weeks in, but now it’s starting right off the bat,” host Padma Lakshmi said of the tight margins.
Was there a Tottenham Hotspur Stadium sighting? No.
After taking a tour through parts of Central London, our cheftastants made their exit (at least that’s what I’m presuming) at Knightsbridge.
The first challenge paired these chefs up, each with five vegetables in hand and one seafood protein and 30 minutes to create a dish.
As we’ll come to learn, many of the international chefs aren’t accustomed to the American version of the show, which puts them at a clear disadvantage. Still, most rise to the occasion.
Among those in the top were Luciana (Brazil) and Gabri’s (Mexico) aguachile, as well as Sylwia (Poland) and Buddha’s (US) fried turbot featuring made-from-scratch butter.
But in an upset, it was the grilled langoustine dish of Sara (US) and Dale (Canada) that won the challenge! Interesting. I pegged Sara as the first to go home. But she and Dale win immunity.
Quickfire winners: Sara (US) and Dale (Canada)
For the elimination, the chefs must create a vegetable forward dish with a protein that serves as more of an accompaniment than the main component.
And here’s a secret to Top Chef success: Stick to the brief!
Chebrel, winner of Top Chef MENA, follows the directions perfectly by elevating “the humble onion” into a picture-perfect dish. German Tom’s carrots-on-carrots-on-carrots approach with bone marrow draws similar praise, as does Michelan-star chef Begona (Spain) with her beautiful looking pumpkin wreath dish.
Meanwhile, Gabri and Dawn (US) are a mess in the kitchen. The Mexican Top Chef winner accidentally spills a tonne of water into Dawn’s vegetables on the burner, and the former US finalist goes into panic mode.
These two struggled in their approach. Dawn was praised for her pastry, but failed to stick to the challenge. Gabri forgot his emulsion amidst the drama and the judges were displeased with his vegetables.
But it was a simple mistake from Samuel that proved too egregious. The French champion forgot to clean his prawns, leaving the intestinal tract on two judges’ plates. You can make as pretty a dish as you like, but such a mistake in this competition will send you home early.
Top Three: Chebrel (Winner; MENA), Begona (Spain), Tom (Germany).
Bottom Three: Samuel (Eliminated; France), Gabri (Mexico), Dawn (US).
Samuel could earn his way back into the competition! Top Chef Last Chance Kitchen will be airing alongside the main series.
Parting thoughts on Episode 1: This is a stacked season. I don’t think Top Chef US had as talented a contestant as Buddha last year, but even he fell in the middle of the pack in the first episode. Begona, Chebrel, Ali (not mentioned in this recap) and Luciana (also not mentioned) all look like this year’s front-runners to me.
Fitzie’s track of the day: Flowers, by Miley Cyrus
And now for your links:
Wanna know what the Tottenham loannees are up to? Check out Alasdair Gold’s roundup
USSF completes investigation of Gregg Berhalter
Gary Linekar to return to BBC’s ‘Match of the Day’
Transfer rumours: Brighton reportedly to offer Kaoru Mitoma new contract