There are two bad things about getting eliminated early on “Top Chef” this season: Not only do you have to suffer the embarrassment of not lasting very long, but you also have to endure having to compete in “Last Chance Kitchen” against a sea of other chefs. This is not just a one-on-one showdown; tonight, it was a five-person showdown between the likes of Ramon Bojorquez, Jason Cichonski, Aaron Cuschieri, Bret Pelaggi, and the most-recently-eliminated Janine Booth to try and determine who was going to last for another week.
Now, we only wish that it was a little less predictable in terms of who won. Almost from the moment that she was eliminated on “Top Chef” tonight, we got the feeling that Janine was going to go far. Aaron was the only one of the guys with a decent edit, while Jason was presented as this evil model type and Bret seemed to be lucky to be there most of the time. Janine’s mistake with the shrimp in the Vietnamese challenge seemed to be mostly a result of circumstance.
The only real surprise was that the showdown was between Janine and Jason in the end, and ironically Jason did the same sort of thing that cost Travis Masar during the main show tonight and almost got him sent home: He got a little too “genius,” and thought he could pull some rabbit from a hat when he didn’t need to. Adding white chocolate to anything other than a dessert is an enormous risk, and one that was in this case not worth taking. Tom Colicchio looked at him almost horrified the moment that he announced that he had went through with this. The funny thing is that the rest of the dish seemed to be pretty good.
We do not imagine that we are going to see Janine run the table here, given that there are so many brilliant chefs left in the competition, but she is capable of winning a few more duels since there are some chefs in the competition who have gotten lucky and been on good teams so far.
So while we have to dock this week’s premiere for predictability reasons, we’re still glad that “Last Chance Kitchen,” one of the best web series out there related to a show, is back. Let’s just hope that it keeps its current momentum going. Grade: B-.