‘Top Chef California’ episode 13 review: Toasted; also, a French-food frenzy

Top Chef -

One of the great things about “Top Chef” as a series is the even-handedness in which the show is edited sometimes. You think you know the winner, and then they are sent home. Then, you think that you know the chefs who are on the outs, and they find a way to come surging back.

Ultimately, we’d say that the story story that emerged from Thursday night’s new episode is the return of Jeremy as a favorite to win the whole competition. For weeks, it felt like he’s been struggling with not just his food, but who he is in the competition. He’s still definitely the “food bro” of the group, but he refined that tonight both in the toast-themed quickfire and the classic French tribute dinner that served as the elimination challenge. He won both of them, and has the all-important momentum on his side.

Are we drifting from our winner pick of the past few weeks in Marjorie? Not at all, since she’s really been perceived as the most likable participant of the group, and also someone who is unafraid of doing anything that she can to win a challenge. She’ll bake, she’ll cook protein, and she’ll take some risks that other people will not. Our frustration is when we see the same sort of dishes done time and time again (ahem, crudo).

The toast challenge had a sudden-death quickfire following it, and this is where we said goodbye to Amar for the time being. This was a shame, especially since to us he made the more innovative dish and also because he didn’t use his signature protein in chicken. We would’ve taken his dish over Carl’s crudo on concept alone. The irony here is that Carl was eventually eliminated anyway in the latter challenge, when he took a significant risk that just didn’t pan out because of time.

In the end, this episode was incredibly dramatic, and while we don’t really love the whole “replicate-someone-else’s-menu” challenges, there was an air of magic around it since we’re talking about them serving the last meal at the iconic Fleur de Lys restaurant in San Francisco. We’ve got an interesting final three in Isaac, Marjorie, and Jeremy, and other than our editing suspicions the winner is not clear. We’re heading to Las Vegas, and anything can happen! Episode Grade: B+.

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