I want to know more about the duck fat pork belly.
Down to six cheftestants. For the QF - it’s FRIED CHICKEN with Art Smith, whose first job was at Kentucky Fried Chicken.
To determine the spices and herbs they’ll be able to use, they had to do a blindfold taste test of various herbs and spices in 5 minutes. Some did well (Sara and Kelsey with 12 and 11, respectively), and some not so much (Eric had 7, and Eddie and Justin tie Adrienne with 6). Oh - and Justin didn’t figure out salt - an important component for fried chicken marinades and/or batters. He ends up using chicken marinated in shoyu to add the saltiness needed, but ends up cooking in oil that was too hot, while Kelsey’s didn’t cook enough and she had to cut off the cooked pieces to be able to present an appropriate dish.
Adrienne goes with a Moroccan theme based on the turmeric she guessed, and it’s deemed the prettiest dish, but Sara wins with her well seasoned fried chicken with corn & blackberry salad. HOWEVER - there’s no more immunity from here on. She does, however, get $5,000. Not too shabby.
For the EC, they’re in Louisville, home to The Greatest, Muhammad Ali. Padma tells them they’ll have to cook a six-course, progressive menu for 100 guests at the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, and his daughter, Laila Ali, will be guest judge.
They’re provided binders that have details of 6 of Ali’s most famous fights around the world. Sara didn’t want the local fight in Louisville, but after drawing straws, she ends up with it.
(Borrowed from F&W):
Sara Bradley - inspired by Ali being “fast as lightning”
Fight: The Fight at Freedom Hall
Dish: King salmon with ‘thunder and lightning’ pickled tomato and cucumber
Sara chose to go with a quick pickle of veggies you grab before a thunderstorm comes in so they don’t fall off the vine and get damaged.
Justin Sutherland - inspired by the fight being in Maine, he goes with a seafood theme.
Fight: Liston Two
Dish: Saffron and seafood soup with scallops, clams and mussels
The saffron soup was declared rich looking, but light enough for it’s position in the course progression.
Although Tom later points out that Lewiston, Maine isn’t near the coastline. (Ummm, Tom? They still eat seafood in Lewiston!)
Eddie Konrad - inspired by the fight being held in NYC
Fight: The Fight of the Century
Dish: Brown butter roasted chicken, collard green puree, red wine poultry jus and toasted hazelnuts
Eddie wanted to use NY duck, but couldn’t find it and went with chicken. I thought “Kiss of Death” when I saw how he shifted his dish.
Eric Adjepong - inspired by this fight being in Africa and Ali returning to his roots
Fight: Rumble in the Jungle
Dish: Fufu, plantain, and cassava dumpling with Congolese red sauce
Eric went with a humble African dish of Fufu that the judges said really got the intent of the challenge.
Adrienne Wright - inspired by the heat in the ring (120°), she went with what she thought was a Filipino dish.
Fight: Thrilla in Manila
Dish: Braised shortrib with mango and herb salad
Her dish ended up being enjoyed by the judges, despite the Vietnamese bent to her dish, although Tom called her out on using a bottled sriracha sauce.
Kelsey Barnard Clark - inspired by Ali’s work for and with children, she wanted to do a dish like seeing him through a child’s eyes.
Fight: Fight in New Orleans
Dish: ‘Unanimous’ bread pudding with corn three ways
Little did she know, but bread pudding was one of Muhammad Ali’s favorite desserts, so Laila was pleased she chose to honor her father in this way, even if she was unaware of it. The corn brittle was too much for most of the judges, but Laila liked the lime in the dish.
Sara and Eric are in the Top 2 most inspirational dishes based on the fight chosen, and Eric’s dish of Fufu was chosen as The Greatest.
Padma notes they had to nitpick on the bottom 4 dishes, as they were all good, but Justin’s and Eddie’s are definitely in the bottom, as neither dish resonated with the fight they were trying to represent. Ultimately, Eddie, who said he didn’t connect emotionally with his fight, is sent packing and is off to LCK to fight one last time before they bring the ultimate LCK winner back next week.
You are the best, Linda!
I also happen to appreciate ALL Top Chef recaps.
"Eric has finally turned into the favorite I thought he was in the first few episodes. Even so, he still landed in the bottom three in the fried chicken challenge (he named seven spices correctly, third place), despite winning last week’s challenge with a delicious-looking… you guessed it, fried chicken wing. I’m telling you, this season is weird as hell.
Luckily he got to do a dish for the Rumble In The Jungle, for which he cooked Fufu dumplings and red stew. I’ve never had those things but that’s probably the point
Reminding me of both fufu, which I confuse with coo coo! Roxanne Vernon, where are you?
Am I the only one who is shocked, SHOCKED at how few chefs could ID herbs by smell?
I didn’t know salt had a smell!
Wait…was it smelling or tasting?
" For the challenge the chefs had to blindly taste 30 different herbs and spices and only the ones they could correctly identify based on taste alone would be available to them for use in the creation of their own secret recipe of fried chicken.
8:05 p.m. – In the blind tasting, Adrienne Wright , Eddie Konrad and Justin Sutherland each only identified six spices, half as many as Sara who identified twelve mostly using just her sense of smell. Eric Adjepong with seven and Kelsey Barnard Clark with eleven managed to at least not be the worst at the test."
I believe they were dried herbs, so maybe they weren’t as aromatic as they could be.
Eric is my favorite
I like your guy too, but I have to root for my local chef, Michelle.
Ok. Which one is Michelle? I’m have to say, this season’s chefs are so lacking in personality I still don’t know all the names!!!
I love those blind tasting and mise-en-place relays. Bummed that they edited so much of that out. Did they give everyone the same dish if spices? Not sure I would want to taste anything that 5 people have put their fingers (and possibly licked fingers) into…
Guess it’s good that Adrienne’s dish turned out good at the end. Thought she deserved more flack for her SE Asian cuisine blunder. For how confidently she declared that she knew those flavors, I assumed she must have at least eaten Filipino cuisine before, and maybe she’s even traveled there. Didn’t realize she assumed all SE Asian food must be the same.
I was surprised they revealed the winner of LCK, don’t they usually wait until the next full episode?
Maybe because it’s not the finale yet
They did? I didn’t understand. I remember thinking LCK was going to be over WEEKS ago.
Brother came back and got eliminated again a few weeks ago, but LCK has continued.
That’s why I wasn’t sure what to make of last week. When does LCK REALLY end?
Oh … you’re right, it might not be over yet. Just because another chef is re-entering the competition doesn’t mean LCK is over! The elves are really mixing things up this season.
No, I think this is the finale coming up. At least, my DVR has no further episodes to record this year.
Don’t they usually do a final three? Would this be a final four, or five?
Oh, Michelle Minori is my local chef. She made a dish that Colicchio said was the best they had had this season.
Oh, now I see they will have another elimination challenge, and then the showdown.