Following this week’s Top Chef premiere, the first edition of Last Chance Kitchen was put officially online! Based on what we’ve seen so far, there is absolutely a lot to like here in between returning chefs, some tasty food, and a whole lot of risk-taking.
Let’s discuss first the choice of returning chefs. We like the choices of Brother Luck, Jim Smith, and Carrie Baird given that they are all accomplished, memorable chefs who recent viewers of Top Chef will remember. Jim, who cooked at the Governor of Alabama’s mansion the first go-around, isn’t from too far away, and we do think that he had somewhat of an advantage when it comes to the first challenge: Doing a version of biscuits and gravy. It’s a southern tradition and we were certainly rather surprised with how many risks some of these chefs actually decided to take with some of the food here against Caitlin Steininger, the first person eliminated from Top Chef proper.
Let’s start off with what we think really worked for some of the chefs here — Carrie did arguably the smartest thing in making two different kinds of biscuits, mostly so that she gave herself a contingency plan in case something went wrong with one of them. Something did, but she was able to recover from it without too much of a problem. Ironically, this was what ended up doing Caitlin in given that she did not have anywhere near as close of a backup plan. She found herself in a position where she had to serve biscuits that she knew were undercooked (or, in Tom Colicchio’s words, raw) — that led to her eventual elimination from the competition.
As for Jim and Brother, they did each advance even though Carrie won this round. Jim’s biscuits (which he deep-fried as a last second contingency plan) were rather tasty, but it was his fish-based gravy that didn’t quite hold up to the challenge. Meanwhile, it just seems like Brother’s was just behind Carrie’s but still good enough to advance without any problem.
Who’s the strongest contestant left?
Carrie had the longest run in Top Chef proper out of any of the contestants, but for now, we have to give this to Brother Luck just because he’s got the best understanding of Last Chance Kitchen, what it is, and how to succeed in this high-pressure environment. Knowing how to take on this sort of competition as almost as important as anything given that it can prime you for all sorts of challenges.
What do you think about Top Chef: Last Chance Kitchen episode 1, and who are you rooting for among the remaining contestants? Be sure to share some of your thoughts now in the attached comments. (Photo: Bravo.)