good morning good morning and welcome to another Top Chef Tuesday, where your ill HIC bores you all with a recap of a television show none of you watch.
Elimination challenger winner: Buddha
Was there a Tottenham Hotspur Stadium sighting? No, but Core by Clare Smyth (the location of this week’s challenge) is only an hour away from the stadium. So bring your Winks kits the next time you visit the three-Michelin star restaurant in Notting Hill.
There are only eight cheftestants left in the competition, which means it’s time for Restaurant Wars.
Restaurant Wars has become one of those challenges that is essential to the show. It’s what everyone looks forward to. And it’s probably here that the advantage between American and non-American contestants is most apparent.
The chefs were split into two teams of four:
Team One: Victoire (Italy), Tom (Germany), Nicole (Canada), Gabri (Mexico)
Team Two: Buddha (USA), Ali (MENA), Amar (USA), Sara (USA)
Three of four chefs on Team Two weren’t just successful with their own Restaurant Wars in their respective seasons, they already are aware of what the judges are looking for. Meanwhile, Team One featured two chefs (Victoire & Tom) whose previous competitions did not include this challenge.
Amplifying the pressure even more? They’ll be cooking at Core, a three-Michelin star restaurant by guest judge Clare Smyth (who was also Buddha’s mentor back when).
And that inexperience cost them from the get-go, because to be successful at Restaurant Wars you need a good concept.
Buddha knows this game better than anyone and it seems like he’s becoming the chef to beat. He’s the one who suggests his team use the concept of UK foods with their own spins. They’d name their restaurant ‘United Kitchen’.
Team One kind of ramble their way to end up at Root, which is supposed to celebrate their culinary upbringings but fails to deliver from the onset.
Team Root would serve first:
- First course (Tom): Confit leek, black garlic chestnut puree
- Second course (Nicole): Lobster and prawn tortellini
- Third (Gabri): Poach sea bream with black huatape
- Palate cleanser (Gabri): Sorbet
- Fourth (Victoire): Rice flour tiramisu with plaintain cream
United Kitchen, serving second:
- First course (Buddha): ‘Full English breakfast’ with coddled egg, black sausage and some tomato wine concoction
- Second course (Amar): Scallop tartare with vadouvan
- Third course (Sara): ‘Cullen skink’ - Cod wrapped with leek and served with other things
- Fourth course (Ali): ‘Cornish pasty’ but with filo dough and a second dish of lamb with little jus
- Fifth course (Buddha again) with a spin on strawbs + cream
Ali’s been my pick this whole time, but he would have been an easy choice to go home this week had his teammates not bailed him out.
Instead it was the confused concept and poor pacing of Team Root that would land them in the bottom three. Even more dire was Nicole’s tortellini, which failed to reach the heights required to excel in a Michelin star restaurant.
And while I have definitely crossed the point of regretting this idea, it’sF something I remain firmly committed to. Only seven more episodes!
Fitzie’s top chef tiers:
Front-runners: Buddha, Ali
Also in the mix: Sara, Amar
Outside looking in: Tom, Gabri, Victoire
Fitzie’s track of the day: Yègellé Tezeta, by Mulatu Astake
And now for your links:
11 Tottenham ‘wonderkids’ to watch in Spurs academy
Charlie Eccleshare ($$) on how the right system can unlock Pedro Porro
Millwall miss out on playoffs after squandering 3-1 halftime lead
A look at Kyogo Furuhashi’s rise to stardom with Celtic