Last week, “Top Chef: Charleston” eliminated the second chef of the competition, and to date the newbies are dropping like flies. We’re down to six newbies versus eight returning chefs, which means more or less that this is going precisely
Quickfire Challenge – Chris Cosentino showed up to guest-judge, which clearly was not something John Tesar was particularly thrilled with given that this judge was on the panel when he went home last season. The task was the return of the mise en place challenge, otherwise known as the one that can get embarrassing and go horribly awry in the event that someone doesn’t do something properly.
Luckily, that didn’t happen, and what was especially interesting about this was that there were two chefs who effectively carried their teams for most of the challenge. For the Green Team, it was Katsuji. For the Blue Team, it was Sheldon. Given that the Green Team finished all of their chopping first, they had the ability to slow down their rivals and get started on the cooking first … not that it mattered too much. The Blue Team still managed to win this, and with Sheldon’s domination in helping his team, he ended up securing MVP and as a result of that, immunity.
Elimination Challenge – The teams remained the same, and the task moving forward was fairly simple: Try to impress the judges and superfans using radishes as the primary ingredient. This happens to be one of Chris’ favorite ingredients, but they’re challenging given how strong many of them are.
The best part about the preparation of the food, at least to us, was Katsuji. We know he’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but without him around trolling the other contestants and being the culinary version of a bull in a china shop, things would be a little less interesting.
When we got around to the results, this was really interesting because this was basically the “best meal in the history of the show” that was hyped up in some of the previews. Nobody was bad, and both the superfans and the judges were torn between the two teams almost every step of the way, and it came down to Brooke versus Silvia, a returning chef versus a newbie. In continuing the theme of this season to date, the returnee won it! For Brooke, this was a slice of sweet revenge given that on her first season, she found herself in second place before the judges even got to try her dessert in the finale. She was also the overall winner of the challenge! (Remember, we did get her to win the season.)
The Judges’ Decision – As you would imagine, this is where things got really tricky. How do you decide when almost everything was really good? It’s a game of inches, and one little slip-up could cause you to go home. Basically, it seemed as though Sam went home simply because he didn’t make his own bread. That may be a slightly exaggeration, but that does seem to be the case. This marks the first time that a returning chef has gone home, and it’s interesting given that he was also the one chef representing the early seasons of the show.
Overall – This was a good episode was some serious competition. We also really like it when there aren’t any big mistakes, mostly because seeing someone go home like that who is arguably a master in their field is typically depressing. Grade: A-.
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