Welcome to the 10th Anniversary special of Top Chef! This week we see a lot of blasts from the past, and also a lot of confusion from both the chefs and the judges. Antonia Lofaso, 2nd runner-up on Season 4 and current star of Restaurant Startup is the guest judge of the Quickfire Challenge. Her restaurant is near Phillip‘s which he makes immediately known. He takes some sort of pride in it, as if it makes him a better cook. My apartment is near Gigi Hadid‘s, but I have not yet been asked to pose for the “Sports Illustrated” swimsuit issue. Why haven’t I been asked to pose for the “Sports Illustrated” swimsuit issue? Padma Lakshmi announces that the winner of the challenge will get immunity, and Karen is visibly and audibly shocked. Why are you shocked, Karen? Where have you been for the last six episodes, where every single Quickfire Challenge has resulted in immunity for its winner? Better yet, while we’re on this ten years thing, where have you been for the last ten years?
The challenge: The chefs get to choose ten ingredients, and these are the only ingredients they’re allowed to use (though you don’t have to use all of them). Each chef, one at a time, gets 20 seconds to pick one ingredient, meaning if the chefs don’t pick well, they can screw each other over. Phillip goes first, which reminds me that he’s still here, and I’m immediately angered. Jason says that it would be nice for Phillip to pick salt or pepper or oil, so I assume he’s picking pig face…or possibly just rocks he’s foraged for. He picks beef, which actually isn’t a bad choice. Isaac pisses people off by picking chicken. The next few chefs take care of the basics: jalapeño, salt, rice vinegar, olive oil, garlic, mushrooms, tomatoes, and…celery, chosen by Jason. Everyone is mad about it. Carl immediately hoards almost all of the tomatoes, Phillip is also being a dick about tomatoes. Give the tomatoes to Amar! Also, GO HOME. Amar observes that Jeremy is always making ceviche and crudo, and other raw dishes. He wonders whether he can cook at all. I also now wonder whether Jeremy knows how to cook, which would be the ultimate twist.
Time for the judges to taste the dishes. Generally, the judges like the food. Karen, who was the angriest about the celery, has a plate with a lot of celery on it. Carl’s dish has too many tomatoes which is what you get for being a hoarder. Antonia likes Phillip’s tomato and steak tartar dish, Padma likes it less.
The bottom 2 dishes: Isaac & Karen.
The top dishes: Jeremy & Amar.
The winning dish: Jeremy
The elimination challenge is to create a dish that shows where you were ten years ago. There are a lot of ways to go with this; a lot happens in a year, but Kwame is having a tough time, because he was in high school ten years ago, and it’s when his relationship with his dad started to deteriorate. Marjorie says that she was very green ten years ago (she’ll make green curry) while reminding us how impressive her resumé is. She really is awesome, which she shows us when she runs into a bind in Whole Foods. Lemongrass, essential to curry, is nowhere to be found. She decides to grab a lemon and roast it and get some green curry paste, which is a smart and viable solution.
On the roof, the cheftestants are having a barbecue, and I want to eat all of it. Carl does an okay impression of Tom Colicchio, which LITERALLY KILLS. Almost everyone laughs incredibly hard, and I wish these chefs had been in the audience during my improv shows in the basements of bars near Penn Station. They would have been useful.
In the kitchen, Phillip is being a total asshole. Stop challenging the people who are judging you. Like, what are you doing? Marjorie hates him. Amar and Tom have a really nice moment when they talk about Gerry Hayden, the chef Amar used to work under who had ALS, but was still working in his kitchen. Since the taping of this episode, Gerry Hayden passed away. Amar is making his way to the top quickly (at least of my mind and heart). Kwame cuts his hand, and is having a ton of trouble. He won’t go home, but it’s not a good week for him. What is he making, even? Poor Kwame.
Marjorie and Chad’s dishes are first, and they’re both delicious. Isaac’s was good, but his sausage casing was a bit tough. Jason’s dish is very under-seasoned, didn’t deliver, and was a letdown, though the fish was poached well. Karen’s pasta dish looked great, and did pretty well. Amar and Carl also both do well.
Pretty much everything is bad about Phillip’s dish. Tom says the fish is literally not fresh, and Phillip comes back by saying he tasted every single bite. Does he not have taste buds?
Jeremy’s dish is bad, but he has immunity, and Kwame’s is bad. Tom is disappointed and confused, because the two of them have been doing incredibly up until now.
Top dishes: Marjorie, Chad, Carl.
Winning dish: Marjorie
Bottom dishes: Kwame, Jason, Phillip
Now I know they’re just keeping Phillip to have some drama. Ugh. I don’t care. I just need him gone. Hopefully Jason does well in Last Chance Kitchen. I liked him.
See you next week!
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