Tonight on Top Chef: Last Chance Kitchen, we saw a unique (and super-difficult challenge) with Brandon Rosen and Brian Young at the center.
So what was the basis for the challenge? Pig — or, to be specific, some very-unusual parts of the pig. This was a great challenge! These two guys only had an hour in order to come up with some really-tasty ideas and, suffice it to say, they managed to deliver. We think that sometimes, chefs on this show create much better food when their backs are against the wall and they have to come up with something that is an especially-big challenge. Typically, these are the sort of pig parts that you need many hours to properly flavor and perfect … but they did find a way to ultimately pull this off.
When it comes to experience, Brian had the clear advantage going into this. He’s worked with pig on a number of occasions over the years, and knew what he was doing as a butcher much more than Brandon did. For him, it was just about making sure he got things done and properly seasoned, since he was really having to fly by the seat of his pants doing something that he didn’t usually do.
In the end, Brandon did actually win this! It was, on the basis of experience alone, a surprising reveal, but it is nonetheless one deserved based on Tom Colicchio’s remarks at the end. Brandon is really getting a chance to show here some of his talent in a way that he wasn’t always able to on the flagship show. This is sometimes the benefit of being in this environment — you’re in an environment that’s a little more stable every time and you’re often forced to focus on only one dish.
What we’ve learned about Brandon through this is that he is great at thinking on his feet and finding ways to make ingredients work for him. He takes risks, and that is ironically in part what got him sent home from the flagship show. Yet, sometimes great risks yield great rewards, and that seems to be what is working for him here. We’ll just have to see if that lasts for a while, since there’s still a long ways to go until another chef gets a chance to actually re-enter the competition. The chefs that are still in the competition are absolutely talented and worthy of fighting their way back, as well.
What do you think about tonight’s Top Chef: Last Chance Kitchen results? Be sure to share some of your thoughts in the comments. (Photo: Bravo.)