Top Chef Recap: Pop Up Pandemonium


Welcome back! In Part 2 of the Season Premier of Top Chef, the chef-testants were broken up into four teams, each tasked with creating a pop-up restaurant in a different neighborhood in L.A. The guest judge was Ludo Lefebvre, an interesting choice given how much he seems to hate pop ups. A direct quote: “It’s going to be a nightmare guys, trust me.”

Kwame is undeterred. A self-proclaimed “seasoned pop-up restaurateur,” he’s something of an expert.

The Gray Team gets to Westwood, where they find out they’re going to be doing a Persian pop-up. They know nothing about Persian food, but ask their mentor earnest questions about the flavors and cooking styles, and are off to a great start.

The Purple team ends up in Koreatown. Karen uses Asian food in her restaurant so she’s pretty confident, and Giselle has a meltdown because she decided she’s going to make Korean fried chicken wings, and basically what she knows about them is that “something makes them red.”

The Orange Team heads to “White People Town,” as Phillip calls it. They’re going to be making vegan food which doesn’t really feel so much Venice as it does THE ENTIRE CITY OF LOS ANGELES. Phillip and Renee are overly confident, so clearly, they’re going to lose.

The Blue Team finds out they’re going to be making Mexican food. Pop-up expert Kwame is on this team, and so is Chad, who owns two Mexican restaurants including one in Tijuana. This team is also obviously going to lose.

The chef-testants shop, cook, and open their pop-ups. Noteworthy:

– Giselle learns to make fried Korean chicken wings by asking a fellow shopper.

– Frances buys canned chickpeas. Ugh. Disaster

– Grayson complains. A lot.

– But not as much as Phillip uses the word “cauliflower.”

The Judges visitPersia2, and they love it.  The best thing is Marjorie’s dessert.

They HATE, the Mexican restaurant. The flavors don’t go together, the carrots are a complete nightmare, and with the exception of Kwame, the pop-up expert, everyone’s dish is basically terrible. The Vegan spot is also a complete nightmare, somehow worse than the Mexican spot. They hate Renee’s dish, and they think Grayson’s salad is too basic. The judge’s visit to Koreatown nets more positive reviews. They like both the wings and the Kalbi.


In the end, the Orange team loses- the Vegan restaurant was somehow worse than the Mexican one. Renee ends up packing her knives, and this season of Top Chef will certainly be less sassy without her.

Tune in next week for another recap!



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