TOP CHEF SEASON 15 EPISODE 4 RECAP –
This was a very emotional episode of Top Chef. From adopting babies, deaths of parents and stories about the Cheftestants roots, there were a lot of tears tonight. Usually Mark and I are making jokes throughout the show, but this episode only allowed for a few. Maybe we need to get Tom’s joke writer to come to our house and help us with our puns. Also, this episode is not complete without watching the two part Last Chance Kitchen, so make sure you get to that before next week!
QUICK FIRE CHALLENGE
The Quick Fire Challenge brought in the host of Top Chef Jr and total dreamboat Curtis Stone. The Cheftestants were tasked to remake boring kid’s dishes into more elevated, healthier food. They drew knives for pizza, corn dogs, chicken fingers, grilled cheese, mac and cheese, spaghetti and meatballs, fish sticks and a cheeseburger (missing a few here). The twist was that they had to make everything with miniature cookery – tiny skillets, cutting boards, bowls, etc. I am all into twists, but this just felt silly and totally unnecessary to me. Top Chef, you are better than this! Otherwise, I loved this challenge. The added element of having three children of chefs help judge was great because those kids were very honest and gave some biting critiques.
Sarah: Oh, boo! I loved the tiny little pots, the 4×4 cutting boards & the tiny hand crank mixer was the best! I felt like it was a spin on Easy Bake ovens, which by the way are hell to cook with! Also, I loved having a corndog thrown in. My son is obsessed with corndogs. I died laughing when Chris aka “Silky” cried, “this MotherF**cker is hawt” carrying his tiny dish.
Winners & Losers of the Quickfire Challenge
The least favorites were Carrie’s corndog, Bruce’s fish sticks, and Tyler’s spaghetti and meatballs. I just did not understand Tyler’s interpretation of this. Spaghetti and meatballs are not pho. Pho is not spaghetti and meatballs. You knew this one was going to be in the bottom as soon as you heard the idea. The top dishes were Fatima’s caesar salad with grilled cheese croutons (I want to make that tonight!), Tanya’s elevated mac and cheese, and the winner – Adrienne’s cauliflower crusted pizza. The pizza did look delicious and the kids loved it. She earned the immunity going into the Elimination Challenge.
Sarah: Fatima’s grilled cheese croutons rocked my world! It cracked me up when the oldest girl said, “That was one of the best-deconstructed tacos I’ve ever had”. Brother Luck’s jicama fries intrigued me too. Corndogs were a fail & I was SO disappointed.
Last week’s Food Truck Challenge was fun, but I honestly did not think it was a great episode. This week totally made up for it. The chef’s had to create a dish that represented their heritage, and many of the chef’s came up with heartfelt tributes to their families. Before they started cooking, the Cheftestants took a field trip to a food incubator called Comal. This lunch restaurant is a community outreach program as well and allows low-income women come and cook and learn about running a restaurant and a business. The stories of the women were touching for the viewer at home, and the Cheftestants certainly created a sort of bond with these women. It was definitely an inspiring trip for them and perfect timing for the heritage challenge ahead of them.
Heritage & History of the Cheftestants
There were so many tears tonight! Brother Luck shared his story of his father sharing his one and only recipe from him weeks before his death, and the humility of his story had me welling up. Chris spoke of his Southern background, Tu’s parents were refugees from Vietnam, Mustache Joe’s mom died when he went to college – so many connections through family and food, and that was what this challenge was all about. It was great to get to know so many of the chefs on a deeper level. I’m starting to care about these people! Now I don’t want anyone to go home (I may be okay with Bruce going home).
Sarah: Brother’s story got me for real. My momma loves her some livers & gizzards. And Tu saying, “Food is history, food has a story, food is culture” made my heart swell. Mustache Joe’s idea to create a dish that blended his French mother & Italian father’s heritage was emotional. Loved hearing Chris aka Silky’s story about coming back around do cook soul food. And damn if Adrienne isn’t cooking some boudain & Tanya is making gumbo…ayyyyye! I had no doubt the Southern-inspired dishes would kill it.
Winners & Losers of the Elimination Challenge
The chef’s cooked their meals at Departure, former Top Chef Contestant Gregory’s restaurant. It was great seeing him back! One of my favorites. Overall, the chef’s did a really great job, definitely a “Departure” from last week (I’m getting pun-happy watching all of this Top Chef). Three chefs nailed it. Mustache Joe’s Chicken Torteloni & faro cabbage was beautiful and the judges went crazy for it. Tanya’s made gumbo that was so good Tom liked it even with the fried okra! Then there was Chris’ fried chicken, collard greens, and biscuits. Oh man, as soon as I saw those biscuits I thought “those look great”. When everyone started fawning over them, I thought “send me that freaking recipe.” I was so disappointed not to learn Chris’ secret to homemade biscuits! Also, lemonade fried chicken? How amazing does that sound? All of these chefs totally embraced the challenge. I was kind of surprised not to see Brother’s dish up here as well because the judges seemed pretty excited about the simplicity of it.
Sarah: Silky’s dish made my mouth water, as did Brother’s. I do love me some chicken. And hell yes, we gotta get that biscuit recipe from Chef Chris!
On the bottom were Tyler, Joe Flamm and Bruce. Bruce has spent a lot of time down here – especially being such a decorated chef. Joe Flamm made what the judges thought was a cold, mediocre pasta. I think he suffered from poor planning as well. Tyler struggled all episode from the Quickfire to the Elimination. He had difficulty coming up with his heritage (white boy from Southern California with a touch of Swede), and his plate was as muddled as his ideas. He couldn’t create a cohesive dish, and ultimately it sent him packing.
RANDOM OBSERVATIONS, QUOTES
- R.I.P. Bear Den. It won’t be the same in the house without Tyler.
- Did anyone else see Bruce’s adopt a kid montage and think “he’s definitely going home”?
- Loved Brother Luck’s shout out to Rogelio.
- I thought Bruce’s poorly cooked lamb would send him home – I have seen it before and it seemed more offensive than Tyler’s dish.
- I’m not sure about the restaurant name “Departure” – does it mean I want to leave?
- I want to hear more about Joe Flamm’s 88-year-old grandma doing pilates.
- Seriously, can we get Chris Scott’s recipe for chicken and biscuits?
- Loved the visit to Comal. This was a concept I had never heard of. Do these incubators exist in other cities?
- Maybe we should give Top Chef Jr a try sometime. I don’t think it’s on Bravo…
- I really could do without some of the gimmicky “tiny cookery” challenges.
- “AIZ – Always In Zone”
- “Food transcends all cultures” – this episode was deep.
- Loved seeing everyone helping each other. This group seems to be getting along very well.
- There is more action in Last Chance Kitchen than on the regular show right now! Tom said that he has been seeing better food there than in the competition.
- I’m going to start saying this every week. Padma, please, I beg of you, please say “utensils down, hands up.” The other way around makes no sense and has been driving me crazy for years! Just once I would like to see the chefs put their hands up first and then drop all of their knives.
LAST CHANCE KITCHEN RECAP
And finally, Last Chance Kitchen.
Wow! Last Chance Kitchen had two really great episodes back to back this week. Although Tom was being a tad bit over dramatic (I’m not sure if this is going to change Top Chef forever), there was a great twist. Not only were there two episodes, but the winner joins the competition immediately!
The first episode was, as always, based on the dish of the last one out of the competition. Because Tyler “lost his head” on the Heritage challenge, the chefs had to cook with head meat. Tyler chose a pig’s head, Lee Anne cooked with, as Marcel called it, “but cheeks” (halibut cheeks), Claudette chose pork tongue (her first time trying it) and Kwame used salmon head. The chefs didn’t seem to struggle too much at all, and Tom was impressed with the dishes. Tyler’s bad luck continued and he did not make it through to the second round.
Round two of Week 5 LCK had the chefs cooking with the opposite of the heads – they cooked the guts. I love these challenges because these are ingredients most people don’t cook at home, though I actually like liver. Before the cooking started, the remaining contestants walked in looking very confused. This is when Tom let them know that the winner was coming back, so this episode of LCK had a big audience! It was interesting to hear what the competitors still remaining in the competition thought. While Claudette was saying she didn’t think anyone wanted her back in because they were scared of how good she is, it was the opposite. No one wants to see Lee Anne or Kwame come back. They have too much experience! Of course, no winner will be announced until Top Chef comes back next week. I hate these cliffhangers!
Is anyone else enjoying Last Chance Kitchen right now? To be totally honest, I’m loving it just as much as the regular competition. Claudette has been throwing a lot of shade, especially at Kwame. Poor Kwame just keeps talking about how good she is. I’m still hoping pregnant OG Top Cheftestant Lee Anne will pull out the win. Also, will LCK keep going after this? I’m not sure how this it’s going to work. I guess that is how they keep me hooked.
We are Really Into the Uproxx Top Chef Season 15 Power Rankings. That is why we call Chris Scott Silky.
Find our Top Chef Season 15 Intro here.