Top Chef: Last Chance Kitchen episode 5: A miniature Restaurant Wars begins

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Following tonight’s Top Chefthe latest episode of Last Chance Kitchen brought in two newcomers. Pablo Lamon and Nini Nguyen went home on the other side of Restaurant Wars and in this particular episode, they had an arduous task with what Tom Colicchio called a mini version of Restaurant Wars. He wanted Pablo and Nini, plus Brother and Natalie, to come up with their own concept and also a signature dish.

Just in case this wasn’t enough, think about this: There would be a double-elimination this round. On the other side of that, there would be another elimination in the next round. Then, the last remaining chef would re-enter the competition.

The concepts for all four chefs were interesting, but Nini had the best overall concept in fusing her New Orleans upbringing and Vietnamese heritage. Pablo went for something that was all-vegetable, Natalie’s was similar to how she eats, and Brother’s was a combination of Japanese food and then also southwestern cuisine. Probably the most discussion-worthy thing in here is Brother choosing to do his version of an elevated jalapeno popper, something that he apparently does as a signature dish outside of the show all the time. We don’t blame him for pulling out something that he knows works, but at least one chef seemed to be slightly annoyed to be defeated by a jalapeno popper. (Is this going to be a repeat of the fancy toast incident from last season?)

Anyhow, in the end the result here was that Brother and Nini are both moving on to the final part of Last Chance Kitchen, which we will document in the morning. There, Brother and Nini are going to square off one final time and one of them will get a chance to re-enter the competition. The twist here is mostly that they have to not only evolve on the dish they did this time, but then also create two more so that there is more of a fully-formed concept. We think that Nini may have the advantage there, mostly because she came up with this dish based on her concept; meanwhile, it feels like Brother already had the dish and then just built the concept around it. We’ll admit, though, that it’s also had to root against Brother given that he is the most-successful contestant now in Last Chance Kitchen history — at least in terms of staying alive in these battles.

This is going to be a crazy-close showdown in the end — a great chef from last season over a chef who probably would not have been eliminated at this point in the competition for any reason other than Restaurant Wars.

Related News Check out our full review for tonight’s episode

What did you think about Top Chef: Last Chance Kitchen episode 5? Be sure to share in the comments! (Photo: Bravo.)

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