‘Top Chef: California’ episode 14 review: The final two revealed!

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Tomorrow night’s finale of “Top Chef: California” is certainly going to be interesting. Another word we would use for it? Unexpected.

One of the more interesting facets of this series is that it is effectively filmed in two separate bunches, with the final round in Las Vegas shot some period of time after the first part. We’re not sure if it is filmed after much of the first batch of episodes is edited, since the results are not always consistent with what the edit on the show would suggest. That makes it a little bit different than many other shows out there.

Going into last week’s part one, we would have bet a generous amount of money (at least if we were a gambler) that Marjorie would have been in the final two, let alone the winner. She was a brilliant chef, a baker, a jack-of-all-trades, and someone incredibly likable. She’d be a perfect ambassador for the franchise. However, she was out-shined ever-so-slightly in the final Elimination Challenge by a returning Amar, and Jeremy had already advanced thanks to winning the first challenge.

What this move does show is an almost-complete parity between some of the contenders this season, given that anyone can win at any time. It also leads to controversy. We’re sure that some out there feel like Marjorie should have advanced over Amar, given that the Elimination Challenge had a magic theme to it, and she seemed to embrace the presentation of her food-related “trick” more so than Amar did. Still, we’re not a judge, and we’re not there to assess how things taste. That has always been an interesting aspect of watching “Top Chef” versus the majority of the other shows that are out there on TV, since we are really throwing ourselves at the feet of whatever we are being told by the judges.

Perhaps the most shocking part of this episode to us was merely thinking about how at Restaurant Wars earlier this season, both of these guys were on a pretty disastrous team; yet, they were both able to rise above that (also, Jeremy was able to rise above “Taco Dudes”) and eventually find their way to the end of this season. All in all, they’ve got a lot to be proud of, and this is going to be a super-intense showdown coming up. Episode Grade: B.

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