‘Top Chef: California’ episode 7 review: The best of times, the worst of times

Top Chef -After spending much of the past several weeks traveling from one part of California to the next, “Top Chef” returned on Thursday night to Los Angeles, and didn’t even bother to leave the kitchen for almost all of the episode. It’s therefore somewhat ironic that many of their chefs had their worst performances in a venue that they really should be been the most comfortable.

Now, one question that you really should wonder after the results of the Elimination Challenge is this: Is the judging cumulative in any way? We’d say no just because of how some chefs like Kristen and Kenny in past seasons were told to “pack their knives and go” after a weak outing (Kristen used “Last Chance Kitchen” to eventually come back and win), and this must mean that there was something redeeming about what Kwame put out there for the judges. The theme was to create food that was based on where you were in life ten years ago, and for him creating a dish inspired by a troubled relationship with his father was too much to bear. He’s our favorite chef this season, but the broccoli as a centerpiece just felt odd.

Luckily for Kwame, there were other chefs who stumbled. Jeremy had immunity and was able to save himself as a result, and Philip struggled yet again to understand what the judges wanted from him. He feels like he tried to take his ball and go home after they criticized some of his early food, and he’s since come off as very defensive and a little complain-y, which is never too much fun to see from a chef. Jason was ultimately the person sent home for under-seasoning his fish, which is somewhat disappointing … but he never had much of an edit to suggest that the had a real shot this season. He instead was often criticized for having good that a little bit dated compared to some of the others.

This episode was as a whole interesting from the standpoint of learning more information about the contestants, but when it comes to cooking, surprisingly not as great as you would think. Also, we’ve come to like seeing the chefs more out of the kitchen, since this could have easily been done on “MasterChef” or any other show. Grade: B-.

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