Sunday, December 3, 2017

Top Chef 12/3/17--"Last Chance Kitchen" summary

Previously on “Top Chef”: they did that dumb season with half new people and half veterans because they couldn't get enough people to come back for an All-Stars season. Also because they decided Brooke should have won that time so it was obvious from very, very early that she was going to win. And then she did. Woo. Anyway, this season starts on Thursday, but a week before the season begins Bravo released the first episode of Last Chance Kitchen, because course there is a twist. (click for more)

So here's how this season will work: four veterans are on Last Chance Kitchen, before the regular season even starts. They will battle here (one is eliminated this episode) and then whoever is eliminated on the regular show will have to not only battle other eliminated contestants but these All-Stars as well. At least I think that's how it's supposed to work. Anyway, your All-Stars are: Jen Carroll, Kwame, Marcel, and Lee Anne. I am so fucking excited about Lee Anne. Kwame is also awesome. I'm kind of indifferent about Jen, and Marcel can fall in a hole.

Kwame is the first one in, and he seems motivated to get going. Like riding a bike. Tom says “hopefully you don't fall off again.” Rude. Jen walks in and Kwame recognizes her. Her hair is different. I think it's lighter, basically white instead of blonde. She acknowledges she is on the show a lot. Then Lee Anne! I love Lee Anne. She's OG. Plus she used to work for the show, although she doesn't any more. Oh and Marcel. Pff. He no longer has the pompadour but his hair is still kind of dumb. Lee Anne has a good RBF, although she says in confessional that she's nervous about Jen and Marcel. I guess she doesn't know Kwame. Everyone wants it. Everyone wants to grow. Marcel claims he is doing “real” food and not his molecular gastronomy. Lee Anne is also engaged and pregnant. Yay! Also I love her gold clogs.

OK the challenge is: make a dish that tells what you're up to right now. 20 minutes. The twist is you all have to agree on five ingredients to use from the table of Colorado ingredients. Tom tells Kwame he looks nervous, and Kwame is all “I always look this way” but then in confessional says he's going to throw up. Hee.

A lot of time is wasted deciding on five ingredients. It's not like they're weird ingredients either. Finally they pick cauliflower, lamb, Serrano peppers, fennel, and olives. That was five minutes they didn't have. Cue the usual running around. Marcel doesn't know how to work the oven. He says it is NOT like riding a bike. Lee Anne goes North African. She shouts at Jen “Hey are you making lamb with cauliflower?” They all joke about how they're all doing that. Jen is doing things much more rustic than she used to. Kwame is doing African Caribbean.

Tom Time! He bugs everyone and does that thing where you point out the time and just kind of shrug like “it's your funeral”. Jen is making croquettes because she's crispy on the outside but soft on the inside. She says she's not as belligerent anymore, but I liked her fighting the judges. Kwame is running out of time to make meatballs. Tom clearly doesn't think anyone has time to finish anything. Jen runs around everywhere looking for the sink to wash her hands. Marcel breaks a bottle. Of course. Everyone is running. Kwame's meatballs are on fire and he's like “why am I not at home right now.” I think everyone gets everything on the plate.

Lee Anne: cauliflower soup, ground lamb and flatbread. She went for global flavors. Also she's still out of breath. Marcel calls this “the wolf version of Marcel.” Sigh. Marcel: vadouvan lamb rack, olive, pine nuts, fennel fronds, fennel pollen and roasted cauliflower. It does look good, damn him. He calls himself an artist evolving. Jen: lamb croquettes, crème fraiche with gochujang and lemon zest. That sounds good. Kwame: Moroccan lamb stew, Castelvetrano olives, cashews, fennel. All these dishes look good.

Tom says they made it hard. Then he actually explains how he does this judging. He's looking at seasoning first, and that means individual components as well as the dish overall. Then cookery, so is everything cooked properly. He says today everything is cooked spot on today. His favorite is Lee Anne. Yay! Specifically he mentions the cauliflower was prominent, and not just an afterthought. OG. Marcel is second, because he liked the flavors and the roasted cauliflower. He did enjoy both Jen and Kwame's dishes, but Jen didn't season her fennel. So Jen is eliminated. Aww. She just ran out of time. She's glad she got to come back, briefly, but she's not going to beat herself up about it.

There is also a preview for the season, which is the usual montage of cooking and fire and crying and whatnot. You'll be happy to know Rocky Mountain oysters make an appearance, which I was hoping would happen but you also kind of knew they would do it? You know? I'm also noticing this preview had like, one sort of disagreement and one person shittalking someone else in confessional. Compare that with other season where they would have shown several fights.

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