Top Chef Season 15 Episode 2 Recap – “Smile and Say Mise”
Another week where I completely agree with the judges decisions. This week, Top Chef Season 15 Episode 2 featured some classic challenges – and a cheese farm! I think Sarah and I may need to go visit Fruition Farms and do some tastings. One of the great things about Top Chef is that it can do some of the same challenges every year and they still feel fresh. Episode 2 brought us our first team challenge, which always gives us insight into the real personalities of the individual Cheftestants. There are always a few who don’t play well with others (I’m looking at you, Claudette), and there are those who for some reason or another can’t speak up and stand up for themselves (hello Laura). We are definitely getting to know the chefs a little better and finding our favorites – and a few we’re not Really Into.
Quick Fire Challenge
The Mise En Place challenge is great to watch year after year, though I have to say I like the relay to have a few more ingredients. This year the Cheftestants had to peel and brunoise a quart of shallots, slice and stem a quart of mushrooms, and clean and portion 20 beef tenderloins. I thought all of these ingredients were pretty easy to prepare and cook for Top Chef contendors, but Blue Apron sponsored this challenge, so maybe they had an influence in the simplicity of the Quickfire.
I was paying close attention to them putting the brunoise to those shallots! It is always amazing to watch how talented these chefs are and how fast! Anyone remember Hung going to town on the chicken??? This episode had me disliking Alaska Laura, but I did appreciate her “joke” of hoping the other team’s steaks fall on the floor. The winning relay team had to cook their mise en place and compete against each other – in less than 9 minutes! It was awesome to watch them go from teammates to competitors. The winner received $5,000 and a year of Blue Apron along with their immunity.
At the bottom was Tyler and Rogelio (come on Rogelio!). Rogelio’s sauce looked broken from home. The good news was for Joe Flamm and Brother Luck, with the win going to Joe for his ginger marinated tenderloin. I will be looking out for it on Blue Apron!
Hello Cheese Challenge!! I NEED to go to a cheese farm, especially one ran by “Thor and Neptune”. The team challenge continued with each team creating a four course progressive dinner focused on cheese. There was definitely some discord among the teams, and much of it seemed to be centered around Mustache Joe Sasto. He is a young and very talented chef, but he couldn’t help but try and control everything. Laura was Really Into making the dessert and was a pastry chef, but Joe kind of walked over her. Laura must learn that on Top Chef, you have to fight for what you want to do. Joe was spot on being worried about Tu’s butchering skills, even Tom came over to critique – and they looked messy.
My favorite dish of the night was the Green Team’s first course of crackers made with cheese rind. They looked delicious and it was a really creative way to use all parts of the cheese. This dish embraced the challenge the best. The judges had a tough time because both the best and the worst dish resided on the same team. In the end, the Green Team won thanks to the fantastic looking and sounding ricotta dumpling made by Carrie – who rightly won the top honors of the evening.
Tu and David were told they were lucky to be on the Green Team, otherwise that dish would have sent one of them home. Tu has struggled two weeks in a row, and this time he had a hard time understanding what was actually wrong with his dish. Dude, it doesn’t help to pick up the lamb with your hand and dip it if the lamb is totally under cooked. The bottom dish was unsurprisingly the fish and cheese first course cooked by Adrienne and Claudette. It may have been an okay idea in concept, but the execution was terrible. Claudette tried to talk her way out of it, but unfortunately for her, good intentions do not matter at Judge’s Table. She was sent home for being unable to cold smoke the fish and I was in total agreement.
Random Observations, Quotes
- Loved that the Bear Den roommates were all on the same team.
- Bruce made up for some of his original douchiness from the first episode, and I am actually starting to like him.
- Where did they get those bear paws? We need to get some pronto!
- Tu didn’t have a great showing, but he did exhibit a little anger and less nicety.
- I actually laughed out loud at Fatima’s goofy cutting the cheese joke. Sorry, Joe Flamm!
- Liked getting to know Adrienne a little better this episode. Her mom’s quote “proper preparation prevents piss poor performance” are words to live by.
- Rogelio – get it together!
- Joe Flamm is awesome and easily one of our favorites & we bet he can cook a hot beef sandwich pretty well.
- Tyler talking about guest chef Alex coming back to the bear den had me in stitches.
- Chris Scott really is silky smooth (thank you Uproxx) – he was doling out great life advice about ego in the kitchen.
- I was surprised how happy I was to see Claudette go. She was much less likable this episode, and LCK
- It never works out for anyone to blame the other chefs for their failures.
- No doubt that Tom wanted Rogelio gone. Arguing with Tom about meat temps is not welcomed.
- Tyler dressed up as Julia Child when he was a kid was epic.
- If Tom starts stringing up your lamb, you are in trouble. Cue the Top Chef instructional video on “How to Tie Up a Lamb”
- Digging Tom’s “dad jokes” but not digging Graham poking fun at the “dad jokes” Please go back to Masterchef, Graham & take your glasses with you.
- You know it’s going to be a tough season when they are already killing it on desserts.
- You had me at Cheese Challenge. I may even try feta ice cream.
- I found myself thinking – there is no way Padma has any female friends – like, none.
Last Chance Kitchen Recap
This was a crazy Little Miss Muffett inspired Last Chance Kitchen that had the chefs cooking tarantulas! Claudette came in like a boss and said she wasn’t nervous at all competing against the more experienced chefs. Because this week was the cheese challenge, and Claudette didn’t feature enough cheese, they were challenged to use curds, whey and tarantulas. I was not aware you could purchase canned tarantulas, and I don’t think Tom was either. He didn’t look too excited about eating these.
Claudette ended up pulling out the win, and I think she did have a leg up because she said she had cooked with bugs plenty of times. Claudette is not out to make friends on this show. She blatantly ignored the other chefs when they were trying to talk to her. Marcel is out for his homemade mozzarella, and now only two of the old school chefs remain to compete. We are still rooting for Leanne who is the Top Chef OG.
We are Really Into the Uproxx Top Chef Season 15 Power Rankings. Seriously, this is the most hilarious Top Chef commentary out there.
Find our Top Chef Season 15 Intro here.