The-guy-with-the-white-glasses seemed a bit over the top too. Like he was showing them a freak show or something.
Linda, I think we all love your recaps but you certainly don’t owe us an apology.
" During the judging, Padma started to criticize him because “I can’t pick out individual flavors and spices.”
To which Eric responded, “I have to respectfully disagree…”
Oh no, Eric! What the hell are you doing? I mean, yes, not being able to identify individual spices is a bizarre criticism of curry, but there’s nothing to be gained from clapping back at Top Chef judges and my God, man are you really going to mansplain curry to the Indian lady? Incredibly, this turned out not to be Eric’s undoing (we’ll get to why below)."
How do I make the links show a picture?
I love the look on Padma’s face when someone talks back at judges table. It’s priceless. Can’t say I’m unhappy about who has to PYKAG. Bye mama! I,am rooting for Eric or Kelsey.
Did anyone else that Padma seemed drunk this episode or just me??
I’m loving they are in China but is there some tie in to Kentucky that I’m missing?
Kelsey has also turned into my new favorite. I’m rooting for her!
I don’t know about drunk but Padma always seems like she’s high. I don’t know if she is or not; I have a couple of friends who never indulge at all and always appear to be mildly stoned.
I think I read somewhere that they all get pretty drunk!
I realize that this is a quote (and I have no idea if you’re posting because you agree with it or just find it funny), but I don’t think Eric was doing something wrong. In the past, at times they have admonished chefs for not standing up for their food. And I don’t think his dish was an Indian curry, there are many different types of “curry”, so I didn’t see anything wrong with him expressing his opinion to Padma. And god, not every discussion that includes disagreement between man and woman is “mansplaining”.
At this point I don’t remember why I quoted that part ! I DO remember fi ding Padma’s reaction a little …defensive maybe, or “how dare you???”. I also remember noticing more than one person defended themselves at that judges table, and
Finale Part Two - Durian is “featured” in the Quickfire. They have 30 minutes to make a dish using the stinkiest fruit that is banned in airports, hotels, and other public places. Kelsey knows she’s not going to win: “I will not win this one because you can’t make a dish you love out of something you hate.”
Sara’s and Michelle’s dishes are deemed the best, with Michelle’s dish of espuma of chilled durian with ceviche-style shrimp drew on the fruit’s sweet and savory elements winning the QF. She gets an extra hour of prep for the EC.
EC is to be inspired by the Macanese people and how they preserve their unique heritage of blending cuisines, including Portugese, Chinese and Indian flavors, through food. Padma tells them to look to their own heritage and make a dish that’s reflective of that but with Chinese ingredients. Prior to that, they get to have lunch at Restaurant Litoral, a well-known Macanese restaurant that’s one of chef Abraham Conlon (owner of Fat Rice in Chicago) favorites in the country. They arrive to see their mothers (and Eric’s sister) who are there to enjoy lunch with them. The chef/owner, Maneula Ferreira, makes some amazing dishes for them all: stewed tamarind pork, fried crab, housemade shrimp paste, Macanese samosas and minchee, a ground beef or pork dish been cooked with molasses and soy sauce.
They enjoy lunch, finding out everyone’s heritages and inspirations (Eric’s influence from Ghana, Michelle’s California cuisine by way of Mexico and Italy, Kelsey’s Cajun-influenced southern and Sara’s Kentucky dishes influenced by her Jewish heritage) and then have 30 minutes to shop with their parents/sister for ingredients for their dishes.
The next day, Michelle gets her hour head start on prep, which she needs because she’s making a very detailed dish. The others come in and do their thing.
The chefs begin to serve - and are each told by Padma that they can sit down to enjoy the meal with the judges and their family member. That would be nerve-wracking!
(info borrowed from F&W):
Dish: “Cioppino” seafood, beans and chorizo
The judges thought exactly what I did when I saw the cioppino - there’s no broth. They (judges) all seemed to like the individual components, but Tom says he didn’t get any Macanese inspiration.
Dish: Chicken thighs with matzo balls and savory mushroom consomme*
The matzo balls (actually ground up water crackers mixed with other ingredients) were perfectly cooked, and Sara really got the Macanese influence in her dish with the salty/spicy flavor of the broth. Tom’s wife is Jewish, so he makes Matzo Ball Soup every year, and he really like her version.
Dish: Egusi stew with panko fried fufu dumpling and shrimp
The judges didn’t like the texture of the dish, especially the ground whole pumpkin seeds, which left some grit in the judges’ mouths.
Kelsey Barnard Clark
Dish: Low country boil with shrimp
Abe loved that she used dried scallops, the smoked oysters, the dried mushroom in her dish, but Padma said it was too strong to have a whole bowl of it. She thought it too salty, whereas Tom didn’t think it was salty at all.
Sara was the clear winner of the EC, with Tom saying "“You captured the essence of the dish and where we are.” and is on to the finale. And Michelle is the one who is told to PYKAG for not getting enough Chinese flavors into her dish.
So it seems there are THREE to cook in the finale, until Tom says “Only two of you will be cooking in the finale.” Dun dun DUUUUUNNNNN!!!
Next week’s finale is a 90 minute special, starting at 9:30 p.m. EDT.
Thought the hubs was going to be right this time, about Eric, but not! Whew! (Wipes brow).
You are the BEST Linda!
MAYBE 2nd best.
Okay, that didn’t work. How do you do the blurry spoiler alert?
A hit disappointed, but not unhappy with the result.
The 3 of them go to a theater and watch their personal “highlights” on 3 big screens. Padma and Tom walk out on the stage after their highlight reels, and tell them that in the final round, the cheftestants are asked to plan a four-course meal for the judges. BUT only two will get to serve all of their dishes. One chef will be eliminated after a taste of the first course.
Tom tells the chefs they’ve all tapped into the emotional side of cooking and tells them to keep doing what got them to the finale.
Of course, they get help from previous cheftestants - they draw knives to see who picks first, and it’s Kelsey, then Eric, then Sara. Kelsey chooses Brandon and Nini, Eric picks Justin and Michelle, and Sara chooses Eddie and “the Portuguese guy” (David). Kelsey’s theme is summer in the South, Eric’s is Africa to the states via the transatlantic slave trade, and Sara aims to put dishes out that reminds her of family trips to South Carolina.
They have 30 minutes to plan their menus, 3 hours to shop, and a total of 6 hours to prepare (4 hours today, 2 hours tomorrow) BUT - 2 hours into prep time, they have to serve their first course to the judges.
Dish: Chili prawns with boiled peanuts (and a homemade XO sauce)
Tom really likes the chili prawns, as she developed a lot of flavors for a cold dish, but he thinks it needs something herbal.
Kelsey Barnard Clark
Dish: Cornbread and buttermilk
Kelsey calls this a buttermilk soup. It has fruit and pickles and boiled peanuts, and she brought her grandmother’s cast iron cornbread pan for good luck. The first batch was too salty, says Nini, but the second batch comes out perfectly crispy outside and tender inside.
Dish: Jerk steak tartare with honey gel (and fried lotus roots)
Eric ends up wanting the lotus root to be cut more thickly, which Michelle thinks could be a problem in them browning before they get crispy.
Sure enough, it’s Eric who is asked to PYKAG. Tom asked how long the beef was marinated - which usually means the texture wasn’t up to par, but in this case, it seems to be that Eric and Justin kept adding more jerk paste to the tartare mix, and that was his undoing. The jerk paste overwhelmed the beef. He won’t be making the rest of his dishes for the judges. Disappointed, because I think he had some of the most interesting dishes this season.
So it’s Kelsey and Sara in the Finale.
Back to prepping. Afterwards, the two of them go off for dinner at Aji in the MGM Grand Macau. The next day, they continue putting the final touches on their dishes, while Alvin Leung of Bo Innovation, chef and restaurateur Alexander Smalls, Melanie Hansche of Food & Wine , chef May Chow, chef Dan Hong, and chef Mitsuharu Tsumara of Aji join the judges at the table.
Kelsey serves her entire meal first.
First course: cornbread and buttermilk with crawfish, boiled peanuts, cucumber, and watermelon
She added crawfish (her “special ordered ingredient”), and the judges really liked her entire dish, having “nailed” the cornbread and the overall delicateness of the dish.
Second course: French oysters, vichyssoise, Chinese chives, pickled green tomato, and cheese straw
Nilou praised her back-to-back “delicate dishes”, and Mitsuharu Tsumara said it’s one of the best things he’s eaten all year.
Third course: Soft shell crab and field peas with a pistou sauce
Kelsey had problems with this dish, and wished she had made it the second course, as following it with the Oyster Vichyssoise would have been better. Sure enough, Tom realizes the crab isn’t fresh (nor is it crispy), and Mitsuharu confirms they cannot get fresh soft-shell crabs in Macau. She knows this wasn’t a top quality dish, so she’ll have to wow them with her final course - dessert.
Fourth course: Peach cobbler
This is a drop-dead gorgeous dish - Padma says “This is just a beautiful love letter to peaches and cream." All of the judges really liked it.
OK, Sara’s up.
First course: Chili prawns with boiled peanuts
Tom likes this even better than yesterday’s version, as the shrimp are perfectly cooked.
Second course: Braised bacon with razor clams, baby corn, and pickled peaches
The bacon she bought is WAY saltier than what she’s used to, but Nilou thinks the peaches cut through the salt. Tom (yet again!) thinks it’s screaming for herbs.
Third course: Roast duck with black-eyed peas and pickled beets
Sara grew up hating black-eyed peas and beets, but she’s grown to love them. The duck was perfectly cooked, and the judges were wowed.
Fourth course: Ribeye steak with dirty rice, shiitake broth, and maitake mushroom confit
Sara chose not to go with a dessert. She knows she can’t compete with Kelsey in that arena, so she goes with a dish inspired by her mother’s dirty rice made with chicken livers and ground beef. It was a deconstructed with a slice of perfectly cooked steak with lots of mushrooms. Nilou didn’t miss dessert.
The judges gives feedback on dishes - Tom tells Kelsey he’ll remember her for her first course; Nilou gives Sara props for her shrimp dish. Once alone, the judges talk, and based on the questioning of whether Kelsey had enough progression in her dishes, I think she’s out. But they also agree that three of her dishes were almost perfect.
So they choose Kelsey as Top Chef. I 'm glad. I think she told who she was throughout the entire season (and I still think Sara should have gone home for her boxed waffle mix!).
And we’re done for another season!
Interview with the Top Three after the competition (mostly Sara).
I found this judge really annoying. Very critical but vague, only the faintest of praise when she gave it. Extra points for saying she really enjoyed the “green strawberries” (AKA the CUCUMBERS) in Kelsey’s buttermilk soup which she otherwise found “too nuanced” (what?).
Rewatching, of course…
"Food & Wine Editor-in-Chief Nilou Motamed—who’s been great as a judge, but please also bring back Gail Simmons—referenced Kelsey’s growth through the competition and said, “You fucking grew a pair of balls like nobody’s business.” Padma replied, “It turns out you don’t need balls. Breasts are fine, too.”
Im happy Kelsey won! I was just thinking about how different TC is now compared to the first few seasons. I enjoyed those but the chefs were not nearly as professional.
I am left with this burning question. What length IS Padma’s hair?