Remember when we said before this season of “Top Chef” that the show was making a terrible decision in choosing to put so many returning chefs on the air against a crop of newbies? Tonight’s result was further validation that this season was never exactly fair to a good half of the people in the competition. Sure, in theory Sylva Senat could have won in the end, but he was up against people far more prepared in terms of TV time. Also, none of these returning chefs won their first season. They know that feeling of making it close to the end and having it all fall apart. It’s a little bit different than not experiencing the feeling of losing before.
Anyway, Sylva was eliminated at the end of this past episode, and it was also one that led to Casey Thompson going home in a Sudden Death Quickfire. There are only a tiny handful of chefs left in the actual competition, and tonight what we saw was Sylva and Casey having to go up against a very dominant Jamie Lynch in a “Last Chance Kitchen” episode that was all about creating the perfect gourmet snack.
As an idea, this was incredible. It tested the creativity of the chefs in a way that few other things do, since it encouraged them to simplify and use ingredients that they would otherwise steer clear of. Take, for example, cheese puffs, which Casey used as a breading for some chicken fingers. (There was also a ton of ranch in there — take a drink every time Hidden Valley Ranch was mentioned here.) Everyone did a great job of thinking somewhat outside the box; Sylva made one of the most complicated snacks we’ve ever seen, and there was everything from pork belly to cilantro-lime thrown in there.
Unfortunately, Sylva’s problem was strictly that he used too much graham cracker in turning into a s’more. It was almost like he came up with something really complicated and then hid it underneath something so simple and unfamiliar. It’s a bummer to see him leave, given that he was so likable and it’s so inspiring to see someone come from Haiti to this country and shine so bright in the culinary world. Wouldn’t it be nice to see him on another season someday?
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