“Top Chef: California” recap (13.1 & 13.2): Double the challenge, double the fun

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In part two of this quickfire, the top nine chefs are split into three groups. They have 30 minutes to create a dish highlighting the ingredients they’ve already prepped and each chef can only work for 10 of the 30 minutes. Non-cooking chefs are blindfolded and no one is allowed to communicate with each other. Frances, who has great hair btw, claims that the last time she wore a blindfold was the first time she met her wife. I… I’m not sure… Well, there’s a story here and I’m definitely intrigued. Frances, you are a woman of mystery.

The challenge begins and there’s the usual pandemonium. All of the first chefs do their best to set things up for the rest of their team (with varying degrees of success). Chef Sassy has a lot of swagger and I’m kind of feeling it, y’all. She keeps this up and I may change her name to Chef Swagger.

Things seem to be going best for the blue team (Sassy, Frances and someone else)—I don’t think they’ve run into any major obstacles. The green team (Grayson and some people) changed direction from Cajun to Italian, but otherwise seem to be okay. Meanwhile, the red team is just a total mess. By the time Blaze Jr. gets up there all he can find is some carrots cooking in cream and some half-burnt, half-raw chicken thighs. If he can pull this one out, much respect.

Padma and Tom go around to taste the chicken and, sorry, Blaze Jr. they do not like your dish. Both the blue and green teams get positive remarks, but, in the end, the most flavorful dish belonged to blue! Frances, I hope this blindfold experience was almost as good as your last one! That means Frances, Sassy, and another guy have immunity.

Elimination Challenge

Ruh roh, there are actually two eliminations over the next few days. For the first one, the chefs will have to prepare a “stand out” dish for 200 people and lots of important critics. The critics will score the dishes to decide who is on top and who is on bottom, and the judges will ultimately decide. Gail Simmons is a guest judge! Hi Gail! Also, Emeril Lagasse will be there, which makes the Cajun dude hella nervous.

The chefs head to Whole Foods to stock up on ingredients and then make their way back into the kitchen to prep. Floppy Hair says some bullshit about philosophy or something else pretentious, I’m not 100% sure because I stopped listening. Blaze Jr. is one of the messiest chefs I’ve ever seen! It’s remarkable.

The chefs head back to their new digs for the night and start figuring out the rooming situations. Sassy and Frances are roommates! I’m sensing some hijinx, especially because Frances busts out a photo of her wife and she looks A LOT like Sassy. Hilarity ensues.

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Grayson and Eye Roll Karen are also rooming together. Karen is missing the James Beard awards at that very moment to be on Top Chef, but she sent her spouse, L.J., in her place. More queers! Top Chef, I love you so much. Karen talks to L.J. on the phone and they seem very adorable.

img4Look at these cuties

The next day, the chefs set up and get ready before the 200 guests roll up. Bunhead uses some dry grass FROM THE GROUND NEXT TO HIM to smoke his crab. Duuuuude, no. The woman next to Bunhead agrees with me.

The judges arrive and start to taste the food. Generally, the chefs have done pretty well with the challenge. Blaze Jr. takes some shit from the judges for using a tasting spoon to plate. Don’t do that, man. They like his food though, so he’s probably safe. Padma and Tom are not big fans of Floppy Hair’s dish. Suck it, Flops.

The judges take the scores from the critics and talk through the top and bottom. Unfortunately both Sassy and Frances are on the bottom, which I was pretty surprised by! Luckily, they both have immunity. In the stew room, Bunhead keeps talking about how he knows everyone in L.A. and I think the other chefs are just as annoyed by him as I am.

The top three dishes are Amar’s meatball, Carl’s carrot soup, and Jeremy’s crudo. Emeril praises Jeremy for the cleanliness of his station, so Padma throws some serious shade at Blaze Jr. Padma, I love you so much. Anyway, Jeremy won.

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