‘Top Chef: California’ episode 8 review: Role reversal

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We have to say that last Thursday’s episode of “Top Chef: California” was certainly a culinary result few saw coming. If you told us a week ago that potential favorite Chad was gone while Phillip won the Elimination Challenge, we would have said you’re watching a different show.

What this episode showed was with the right challenge, anyone could win. Also, people who made sides had zero chance of winning what was a Beefsteak. This was an event where you basically had to eat with your hands, and pull hunks of meat off for yourself. It’s supposed to be huge, messy, and disgusting. Also, there were lots of famous people there! We are the biggest fan of Ron Funches out there, but why in the world have him on and then not have him give you funny one-liners about food? At least we had Colin Hanks.

Phillip won the challenge as a result of two things: He made some lamb that was tasty, and he also paid attention to what the challenge was supposed to be. Nobody else did that, and that’s why they didn’t win. You could eat his lamb right off the bone, and Isaac is probably the only other guy who cooked a protein and really understood. his issue was mostly that his chicken sausage really wasn’t that great in the eyes of the judges.

Controversial opinion time: Isaac’s our guy (we’d probably eat at his restaurant before anyone else’s), but we would’ve sent him home over Chad. While Chad didn’t really follow the challenge with his tuna dish, at least he cooked what appeared to be more successful. Shouldn’t that matter more than a theme? We thought so. We also think that Kwame really seemed to luck out for his shrimp not being particularly great, either. We’re not saying much about the Flash Challenge that Karen won because it was so wonky: We’re all for tasks designed to be about making food look good, but we watch the show to imagine how it tastes!

In the end, this was a lot of fun … and we want to go to Beefsteak now because we’re apparently a caveman. Grade: B.

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