Top Chef: Last Chance Kitchen episode 3: Along came a spider

Last Chance KitchenIf the goal of Top Chef: Last Chance Kitchen episode 3 was to scare us into almost not watching, then it succeeded. This week’s new episode featured the remaining chefs having to cook tarantula, otherwise known as the one thing that nobody in their right mind really should want to cook (or eat for that matter). They’re hairy, they’re gross, they have fangs, and we could go on and on about it. The truth of the matter is that we don’t want to write about tarantulas just like we don’t like to look at them.

Yet, we understand why the bigwigs at Top Chef decided to turn this into a challenge. For one, it’s a real leveling of the playing field to have all of the remaining contestants cook something so extreme. No chef in North America makes tarantula on the regular. Who wants to eat that? This was a real test of creativity and finding a way to identify the spider’s flavor profile within the rest of the dish.

This episode featured the most-recent Top Chef eliminee Claudette Zepeda-Wilkins facing off against Marcel Vigneron, Lee Anne Wong, and Kwame Onwuachi — all former combatants to the franchise. As CarterMatt has said all season long, this is incredibly challenging for any of the newbie chefs to have to go against some of these people. Yet, it also feels fair, at least more so than what Top Chef threw out there for the veteran twist last season. Claudette had a chance to not compete against the veterans had she remained in the competition. Meanwhile, these vets know that if they want to make it back into the mix, they have to go on an Olympic run through the competition.

We weren’t altogether optimistic about Claudette going into this episode, but we have to say she totally rocked it out! She found a way to incorporate the spider that was creative and had it play well with the remainder of the ingredients. This shows a versatility that could suit her well on Last Chance Kitchen in many of the weeks to come. Not only did she advance, but Tom Colicchio awarded her the best dish of the episode.

As for the other chefs, this just wasn’t Marcel’s challenge. It’s interesting to lose him here given that for much of the Top Chef franchise he’s always been the guy to think outside of the box; yet, his attempt to make mozzarella here just didn’t worked as planned. With this level of competition one faulty dish is enough to send you home. We’re somewhat bummed to see Marcel go as a Top Chef legend, but the thing about this season is that it’d be a bummer to see anyone go. Everyone left has a great story and for Claudette, it’s all about revenge.

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