TOP CHEF SEASON 15 EPISODE 12 RECAP – SUNDAY SUPPER
We are still reeling from saying Goodbye to Chef Chris last week, but the show must go on. We are down to the Final Four. The hardest part is we are Really Into all the remaining Cheftestants.
Bryan & Michael Voltaggio are back as Quickfire judges. The Chefs are tasked to create a dish with Rocky Mountain Oysters Prepared Two Ways. We gotta say, these Oysters are HUGE. Watching the Chefs work with these giant balls was not my favorite Top Chef moment. Joe Flamm nailed it when he told the Voltaggio brothers they lucked out there weren’t 15 chef dishes to judge.
Joe Sasto makes Cornflake Breaded Rocky Mountain Oysters, White Bean Puree & Brown Butter Braised Rocky Mountain Oysters.
Adrienne serves up Rocky Mountain Oyster Dashi With Chili Oil & Fried Rocky Mountain Oysters.
Joe Flamm makes Fried & Pureed Rocky Mountain Oysters With White Beans & Amatriciana Sauce.
Carrie creates a Rocky Mountain Oyster Pate With Fried Rocky Mountain Oysters, Garlic & Shallots.
QUICKFIRE WINNERS & LOSERS
The Voltaggio Brothers know this is a very difficult challenge & overall they are pleased with the Quickfire Dishes. Bryan loves the intent of Joe’s dish but thinks the fried oyster is a “slight failure”. Michael says Carrie’s puree was livery & Bryan thinks the vegetables didn’t balance out the dish. Michael says Adrienne’s broth has a ton of flavor that compliments the Rocky Mountain Oyster. Bryan thinks Joe’s dish is “really well executed” & he really liked the fried Rocky Mountain Oyster on the top of the dish. Joe Sasto is the winner of the Quickfire Challenge & although there is no longer immunity, he will receive a 30-minute head start in the Elimination Challenge.
The Chefs get in the back of BMWs & they caravan to The Observatory at Alta Lakes. They enter this beautiful cabin to find their family members. We meet Joe Flamm’s Grandma, Joe Sasto’s Dad & Adrienne & Carrie’s mothers. Immediately, everyone starts to cry. It’s really emotional & special because each family member prepared a dish for a potluck meal. Joe Sasto’s dad serves this giant platter of Pig’s Feet & a giant dish of Lasagna. Adrienne’s mom makes her Gumbo, Flamm’s grandmother makes Rigatoni & Meatballs & Carrie’s mom serves up Beef Stroganoff.
Padma asks each family member to tell a little about the Chefs when they were younger. Joe Sasto’s dad breaks down into tears talking about Joe. As we learned in an earlier episode, Joe Sasto’s mom passed away from lung cancer & her cooking inspired Joe to become a Chef. This was a really raw moment with Joe Sasto & we couldn’t help but tear up with them.
Carrie’s mom Barbara makes Beef Stroganoff, but Carrie’s story to the dish revolves around her dad. We learned last week that although Carrie’s father lives in an assisted living facility, she checks in with her father every day.
We learn after Joe Flamm’s grandfather suffered a stroke, he began spending a lot of time with his Grandparents & helped his Grandma, Mary Roche in the kitchen. This is where Flamm found his inspiration to become a Chef & honed his family recipes.
Adrienne’s mom recounts her wishes for Adrienne to not wind up working in a kitchen. Adrienne’s mom, Susan Tentler, is Front of the House. Throughout her career, she worked her way up to a restaurant manager. Adrienne & Susan have a really cool moment where her mom motivated her by saying, cook your food, do our flavors, what have you got to lose?
For the Elimination Challenge, the Chefs are tasked with recreating & elevating the dish served by their family member.
Joe Sasto’s dish is Pig’s Feet Rotolo With Braised Chicken, Mushrooms & Swiss Chard. Graham is feeling the dish & thinks Joe really captured the essences of the original dish. Bryan liked that the dish had every component of lasagna & Joe’s dad loved it.
Carrie’s dish is Beef Stroganoff Raviolo With Buffalo Sausage, Mushroom Duxelle, Herbed Creme Fraiche & Caramelized Onions. bryan & Tom both liked the egg on the top as a reference to the Egg Noodles usually served in Beef Stroganoff.
Adrienne’s dish is “Mom’s Gumbo” Butter Poached King Crab Leg & Shrimp With Trinity, Fried Andouille Chips & Rice. Tom thinks it is “so well seasoned” which we know is the BEST compliment Tom can give. Michael loved all the “perfectly cooked” smaller components of the gumbo. Adrienne’s mom is happy that she took the dish “to another level”. Graham even remarks how Adrienne has grown as a Chef within the last two months.
Joe Flamm’s dish is Pork & Veal Agnolotti With Pomodoro Paste, Parmesan & Basil. I have to say, boiling the pasta in the leftover tomato juice is brilliant! Bryan agrees it was a great way to concentrate the flavor. Tom appreciates all the hard work and steps needed to accomplish the dish but loved that Flamm pulled it off with ease.
ELIMINATION WINNERS & LOSERS
Padma states this is “the greatest food of the season” & Tom thinks all the Chefs did “fantastic”. The winner of this Elimination Challenge is Adrienne. This is her first win of the entire season & we are so pumped for her!
Padma makes it clear “there are no bottoms here today”. Tom remarks that although Sasto’s dish is technique driven, he didn’t lose the soul fo the dish. Bryan thinks Carries dish is delicious, but Tom wishes she would have mixed some of the braising liquid with the creme fraiche. Tom is Really Into Joe Flamm’s pasta sauce & so are we! Tom is impressed that Flamm’s sauce wasn’t broken because Flamm knew to emulsify it. He remarks that techniques like that are what set Chefs apart from the home cooks.
At Judge’s Table, it comes down to Three Pastas. Brayn thinks Flamm has the best pasta, but he didn’t love the Parmesan Crisp. Tom thinks Carrie’s dish lacked a sauce that really would have made it more true to a Beef Stroganoff. Tom thinks Sasto cut the rotolo too soon & dried it out. He could have remedied that with a thin layer of sauce. Ultimately, Carrie is told to pack her knives.
RANDOM OBSERVATIONS & QUOTES
- Loved Joe Flamm recapping his experience cooking biscuits with Art Smith on Oprah’s show.
- “The flavor is somewhere between a gland and a brain.” Joe Flamm’s take on the Rocky Mountain Oyster.
We always read the Uproxx Top Chef Rankings for a laugh and a recap.
We have also been listening to the Pack Your Knives podcast. They draft their Top Chef teams!