good morning everyone - I forgot to give you all the monthly lookahead yesterday, and I can’t skip a Top Chef Tuesday, so you’ll get your lookahead tomorrow!
Hello and welcome to another Top Chef Tuesday! We are finally down to single digits in the competition and Top Chef rewarded us by dolling out one of the most intense elimination challenges ever.
Quickfire winner: Buddha
Elimination Challenge winner: Tom
Top Chef began the episode by celebrating the big word in its official title this season: “World”. Each chef had to select a passport. Inside that passport to the country was a famous street food.
Producers made it seem as if Buddha was struggling to create his Vietnamese Bánh Xèo, but Padma and guest judge Judy Joo loved his crepe and pork/shrimp/bean sprout filling.
Less successful was Nicole with her Canadian take on the Chinese street food bubble waffles, which the judges found to be too dense and not all that Chinese. Meanwhile, Charbel had no idea how to make takoyaki. In fact, he’s never even heard of this octopus dough ball. Joo was unimpressed.
The chefs were then to participate in Top Chef’s fastest ever elimination challenge with some helpful advertising for Fast & Furious. It’s the dreaded mise en place challenge. Basically: Do a lot of prep work very, very quickly. They were split into three teams:
Yellow: Ali, Gabri, Tom
Red: Buddha, Nicole, Victoire
Green: Charbel, Amar, Sara
There were three rounds, with each chef on the team needing to complete one of the tasks before their teammate could move on. Each ingrediant was inspired by a previous Fast installment.
Round 1: Pit and fan four avocados / “Supreme” eight oranges / filet two hamachi
Round 2: Peel and dice eight prickly pears / clean + devein 24 shrimp / shell a cup of peas
Round 3: Pit two quarts of dates / brunoise a half cup of red pepper / French two racks of lamb
We’re beginning to see Buddha establish himself as a force more in this competition, as he took a leading role in the speedy red team. But all credit to Nicole too for fileting her two hamachi in no time at all.
Most impressive has to be Sara who beat out Gabri in fanning her avocados and being the first to French two racks of lamb in a matter of moments.
The chefs then had to use these ingredients to create three dishes in 30 minutes.
Yellow: Avocado, peas and red pepper
Red: Hamachi, shrimp and dates
Green: Oranges, prickly pear, lamb
The yellow team impressed the judges the most. I think not having a protein played in their favour and was surprised to see Gabri plating essentially slices of avocado with a vinaigrette (I know it was more than that) on the plate.
Being in the top is now such a common occurrence for Ali, but it was Tom’s dish celebrating red pepper that won the judges’ hearts.
Meanwhile, after saying earlier in the episode that he was never in the bottom, Charbel’s time in the Top Chef Kitchen is at an end (for now!) after the judges felt his lamb dish didn’t stand up to the rest of the competition.
Next episode brings the most exciting of the entire competition (except for the one at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium): Restaurant Wars! Only eight chefs remain and things are going to get even more intense.
Fitzie’s Top Chef tiers:
Front-runners: Ali, Buddha
Other contenders: Sara, Tom
Potential spoilers: Gabri, Nicole
Straggling along: Victoire, Amar
Fitzie’s track of the day: Summertime, by Amanda Shires and Bobbie Nelson
And now for your links:
The Athletic ($$) on why Tottenham Hotspur need to embrace the pain
Ryan Mason’s already sparked a change in Heung-min Son
Rotherham secure Championship survival after defeating 10-man Middlesbrough
The ‘toxic civil war’ that threatens to rip apart Everton