TOP CHEF SEASON 15 EPISODE 3 RECAP – “Keep On Trucking”
Top Chef Season 15 Episode 3 Recap, or as I would call it, “Where Are The Tacos?” This week had two Cheftestants eliminated with a Sudden Death Quickfire as well as the Elimination Challenge. This episode left me scratching my head with many unanswered questions.
Why did no one make tacos in a food truck? Tacos are the perfect food truck food. Why would no one put their Denver omelette in a taco? Eggs, ham, peppers, cheese & onions were made for a taco. Have any of these Cheftestants actually watched Top Chef before? Many cheftestants seemed totally lost this episode. Why did Top Chef pick a social media star to judge? First, it’s Graham Eliot (go back to Masterchef, please) & then Logan Paul (still no idea who he is). Hell, maybe we will be judges next season. Overall, I felt like there were a lot of missteps in this episode. Also, Padma was kind of mean. Let’s get into it.
QUICK FIRE CHALLENGE
The dreaded Sudden Death Quickfire made its reappearance. The challenge was to reconfigure the classic Denver omelette. There were a lot of different iterations, but I am seriously surprised that not one person made a breakfast taco! Maybe because I am from Austin I always have breakfast tacos on the brain. There seemed to be very few that got really creative, and I have no idea why Joe Flamm wouldn’t even put an egg in his dish. Egg in the mayo just does not cut it when the main ingredient should have been an egg (Top Chef 101). It just seemed like most of the dishes were overall fairly disappointing. Carrie’s Denver Omelette breakfast sandwich and Tu’s egg salad were favorites, but Brother Luck pulled out the win and immunity with his duck egg and tempura cheese and ham.
SUDDEN DEATH WITH A FRENCH OMELETTE
The bottom three were Tanya for her crepes, Rogelio’s egg in a hole, and Laura’s french toast. Seriously Rogelio, how do you mess up an egg in the hole? His dish was sloppy & it made me so sad. These three chefs had to cook against each other and fight to stay in the competition. Tom comes out and announces that they need to create a classic French omelette. When they start cooking, it is actually difficult to watch.
First of all, how do you NOT know what Tom is looking for at this point? If he asks you to make a French omelette, make a French omelette. Make it freaking perfect. Show him that you know how to cook simple food beautifully. Do not add a bunch of ingredients!
I was dumbfounded watching these three. And Laura. Poor Laura. She just could not get it together this episode. We’ve watched enough Top Chef to know that when the producers start delving into someone’s personal life at the beginning of the episode, it does not bode well for the cheftestant. We saw pics of her kid, so we already know she’s likely going home. She suffered in the first part of the Quickfire because she didn’t have any Denver Omelette ideas. Then she couldn’t cook the omelette. It was so undercooked I am surprised the judges ate it. It’s back to Alaska for Laura.
I was actually pretty excited about this elimination challenge. Hosea, the winner of Top Chef Season 5 (also known for his Top Chef romance with Leah) came in as guest judge. Who knew he started a self-proclaimed food truck empire with his Top Chef winnings?
This episode was firing on all cylinders for me: Team Challenge, Food Truck, and fun, tasty food that I feel like I could maybe replicate at home. As I have said before, I am from Austin, Texas, a city that got pretty excited about food trucks early on. I’ve eaten at a lot of food trucks & you know what my favorite dish is from a food truck? You guessed it, tacos!! How did no one do this? I know it can be sort of cliche, but there are so many spins you can put on tacos, they are easy to hold, delicious…..Okay, I guess I need to let it go. I will get over this.
Anyway, the Cheftestants drew knives and split into four teams. Each team will need to create three dishes to serve out of their food truck to 150 hungry college kids. Social Media “influencer” Logan Paul will also be there to judge. I have no idea why. There were problems in the trucks across the board, and the better chefs found a way to get around them and not make excuses.
Mustache Joe, Tyler and Fatima were together on truck The Hangover Cure. The menu contained Sticky Licky Chicken Wings, tomato soup with grilled cheese croutons and Waffles with Strawberries and Cream. While these foods all sound good, I didn’t think they were necessarily cohesive. But the judges loved what they ate, especially Joe’s wings. He actually had a pretty cool technique for the wings to seal in the flavor by adding baking soda.
Tu, Chris Scott and Adrienne were together on truck Blazin Sammies. The menu was Meatball Bahn Mi, Fried Fish Sandwich, Chopped Cheese Sandwich. All of these sandwiches sounded great, but it was surprising that they decided to use all the same bread. The bread didn’t even look good. It seemed bulky & dry. Different sandwiches have different types of bread for a reason. Bahn Mi sandwiches NEED to be on french bread. Also, I need some sort of sauce on my sandwiches. They can’t be dry, which seemed to be the problem with all of these sammies. This concept was the best, it just wasn’t well executed. I expected more from these three Chefs.
Carrie, Tonya and Joe Flamm were on Truck Down The Chin. On the menu was a Juicy Lucy, Ribs, Chicken and Waffles. The judges were happy about all of these dishes. Simple food, well executed. Everyone was happy with Tonya’s Chicken and Waffles, but let’s face it, she should have nailed that. I’m ready to see her come out of her comfort zone. I feel like Carrie is stepping it up & I’m happy to see it!
Rogelio, Brother and Bruce were on Truck Foodgasm. Their menu was a Roast Pork Grilled Cheese Sandwich, Elote and Fry Bread with Chocolate and Powdered Honey? I don’t even know what powdered honey is. The judges were pretty unhappy with all of the dishes Both Padma and Tom said there was no “gasming” going on. We all know Top Chef loves a good sexual innuendo. I’m just glad Brother had immunity.
Winners & Losers
Overall, I was disappointed with the food truck offerings. There should have been more creativity and more fun. I was happy to see Adrienne put Hot Cheetos on her sandwich! The college student’s pick was Down The Chin, but the judges favorite Truck was The Hangover Cure. Somehow they pulled off soup in the heat! The Cheftestant with the best dish was Mustache Joe. He has been killing it. The wings he made looked great and he really understood this challenge. A well-deserved win.
One the bottom was Foodgasm. Where I thought Joe and The Hangover Team understood the challenge and cooked appropriately, Foodgasm did the complete opposite. The pork grilled cheese that Bruce served looked just terrible, even on TV. So greasy and unappetizing. Also, who wants Fry Bread? Or powdered honey? These were just poor choices. Rogelio had the losing dish on the losing truck. His warm corn and cold salad with no real explanation fell flat with everyone. Just make elote! It is so tasty, great on a food truck, and everyone likes it. Rogelio consistently made poor choices and didn’t trust himself. Unfortunately, it was his time to pack his knives & go. This was a total bummer as he was one of our favorites!
RANDOM OBSERVATIONS, QUOTES
- “Gnocchi again?” – Padma after tasting Bruce’s dish. This is Top Chef, not Top Gnocchi (we miss you Fabio!)
- We get it. Bruce knows everyone, and everyone at home couldn’t care less. And yes Bruce, you are bragging.
- Padma was mean this episode, but she was not wrong. She rarely is.
- Laura really just wasn’t cut out for this competition.
- It’s always scary to see Tom come out in the Quickfire.
- Why were the names of the food trucks so gross?
- Where are the tacos???
- Rogelio, it was time, but I am still super sad about it.
- You knew Alaska Laura was either going to win or go home when we saw the beginning of the episode montage. Top Chef can be predictable.
- Sometimes I cringe hearing the silly puns Padma uses.
- Hey Joe Flamm! No accounting jokes! Also, how did you go to four colleges in four years??
- Seriously, why a social media influencer?? I could have done without that.
- When Logan Paul asked for his dab, I just shook my head.
- I would have said that the tomato soup was the worst choice ever, but…
- Bruce looked awesome in his metal band.
- Someone needs to steal the name Blazing Sammies.
- What is “next level excitement”?
- Get Logan Paul some more waffles!
LAST CHANCE KITCHEN RECAP – Episode 4 “Two Wrongs”
And finally, Last Chance Kitchen. With two eliminated chefs coming in, two more were going out in LCK. Because Rogelio lost the Elimination Challenge, the LCK challenge was based on his mistakes. This time the chefs had to cook with ingredients that did not go together, like Rogelio’s warm corn and cold slaw. The pairs were funky, and Tom had a smirk on his face. That being said, he was very impressed with what they presented him. Kwame made a Nigerian stew with his bananas and capers and Lee Anne made braised chicken with her vanilla and pickles Both of these dishes were good, well cooked, and were safe. The winner of this challenge is Claudette, who is cooking better in LCK than she was in the competition. Her venison mole with bonito flakes and chocolate was Tom’s favorite dish.
Even though Tom had good things to say about Rogelio’s Ahi Tuna with sour candy and gohuchang, it was just a little too sweet and it doesn’t take much to land on the bottom. Same goes for Laura’s perfectly cooked halibut with garlic and strawberry dish The halibut was great, but it was underseasoned. The last two in were the two out this episode, and I think it was right. Both Laura and Rogelio seem to be weak links in the competition, and they just can’t hold up with the veterans and Claudette. We will see who joins Lee Anne, Kwame and Claudette next week!
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Find our Top Chef Season 15 Intro here.