‘Top Chef: Last Chance Kitchen’ episode 5: Amanda Baumgarten, Silvia Barban face off

Top Chef -After another strong of first-time chef eliminations on “Top Chef,” tonight’s new episode featured the departure of Amanda Baumgarten — at least for now. She still has “Last Chance Kitchen” in order to fight for her life in the competition.

What also seemed to help her entering tonight’s episode of the web show is that Tom Colicchio’s challenge was themed all around creativity, and giving Amanda a chance to create a new, more inspired (in his mind) duck dish using the same ingredients that she used in the challenge proper tonight. She knew the ingredients so much better than her opposition in Silvia Barban, who was coming into it fresh. She is an accomplished cook, but Amanda knows these flavors. (Also, at point Silvia said that she didn’t actually like duck, and that this was maybe the second one that she’s ever cooked in her life.)

One of the interesting notes that came up in this episode — and really came up for much of the season, for that matter — is Amanda not being in the kitchen for much of the past few years due to some back problems. Is cooking something that you lose if you haven’t been doing it as much? We’re not that sure. Also, Amanda is coming into this after being in the competition, so it’s hardly like she doesn’t know what she’s doing.

Anyway, both dishes looked really amazing, and for the second straight week, Silvia is the winner! This is one of the reasons why we really appreciate “Last Chance Kitchen” existing as a twist. She’s not someone who we really got a read on during the show itself, and it felt like her personality got a little buried and she never got her legs under her. Here, we’re seeing so much more of her skill, and also a great sense of humor. We’re digging the rapport that she’s got going with Tom, so hopefully that is something that will continue in the weeks to come, even if she does get eliminated.

Do you think the right person advanced on “Top Chef: Last Chance Kitchen”? Share in the comments, and head over here for some other news when it comes to the show. (Photo: Bravo.)

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