Top Chef Recap: Time For the Chefs To Work Their Magic!

 Amar Santana  (Photo by: Dale Berman/Bravo)

Amar Santana is back! (Photo by: Dale Berman/Bravo)

Hello fellow Top Chef lovers!  Thanks for not spoiling me in emails or Twitter, as you all know I usually don’t get to watch until the weekend. I came SO CLOSE to getting spoiled on Google News the other night!  I hate when the headlines are spoilery, but I got away unscathed. I love that Isaac says, “I don’t want to be the next Emeril Lagasse, I want to be the first Isaac Toups!”

Jeremy, Marjorie and Isaac are off to Las Vegas to battle it out.  And Amar is back! YES!  I couldn’t have hoped for any better option on a returning chef. For the first challenge they draw cards to determine their pantries. The four options are clergy, peasants, merchants and royalty, each pantry contain items available to those for classes.  Dammit!  Jeremy gets merchants, Marjorie has royalty, Isaac has clergy and Amar gets peasants.  It literally could not have gone any worse for my favorites, Isaac and Amar. Isaac says it is ironic that the atheist gets clergy.  As royalty, Marjorie can use ingredients from all the other pantries.  Isaac can choose from any pantry except Royalty. Jeremy can use items from the merchant and peasant pantries.  Amar can only use the peasant pantry.  So Isaac is not as bad off as I thought.

The chefs have three hours to serve 150 people. They each will have a sous chef.  Marjorie takes Karen,  Isaac takes Carl, Jeremy takes Kwame and Amar gets stuck with Phillip. The winner of this round wins $25,000 and goes straight to the final.

Top Chef Jeremy

Marjorie is making salmon, Amar is stuck with chicken livers (I love chicken livers), Isaac is making black cod, and Jeremy will be serving chicken thighs, with um grapes?  I think Jeremy might be in trouble. I think Amar could pull out a win with his livers actually.

The judges start with Amar.  The judges have a lot of good things to say about his dish. Jeremy’s chicken and grapes is next. Okay, the liked the grapes Gail called it a “eureka moment” and something she will think about again and again. Without even seeing the other two, I already think Jeremy won.  When it comes to Isaac’s black cod, they loved it but Gail bitched about the bread being toasted and thus not great for soaking up the liquid. DAMMIT!  The random eaters didn’t care for Isaac’s dish either. The judges like Majorie’s salmon and vegetables. I’d love for a surprise win by Amar, but Jeremy seems like the one the judges liked best.

Jeremy wins and is the first person into the finale.


The final competition is to be inspired by David Copperfield’s magic show. Isaac is an amateur magician himself, so he is very excited about the challenge. Come on, Isaac! You’ve got this!  Majorie is doing a take on duck a l’orange.  She literally cannot even pronounce duck a l’orange  so I’m not too worried. Isaac is somehow wrapping a steak in chicken (Cornish hen?) skin to make “chicken fried steak.” I’m now officially nervous for him. Amar is doing roasted squab with a savory meringue, and a cauliflower and white chocolate ganache  and something with liquid nitrogen.  Amar is using too many techniques and going too hard.  Too many (weird) elements lends itself to too many chances for disaster.

Speaking of disaster, Marjorie decides this is a good time to learn to use liquid nitrogen. She adds it to her oranges and tastes it and burns her tongue. Now she can’t taste her food.  Did I mention the judges all have to serve their food table side? The judges will be critiquing their presentations skills as well.

mmmm Isaac. Ummm I mean mmmm, gumbo!

mmmm Isaac. Ummm I mean mmmm, gumbo!

Marjorie is up first,  her presentation is confusing. She puts down dishes for all of the chefs and tells them not to touch them. Then she takes them away and recreates them with the magic of liquid nitrogen. Of course she screws up the liquid nitrogen schtick and her orange slices all stick together. I am perplexed through this entire shit show and so are the judges. The judges like the food more than expected. Tom says there was not enough orange flavor.

Isaac is next. he does a magic trick where he makes an egg disappear and the egg yolk is under the shot glass on their plates. It’s not just a yolk, it’s a yuzu hollandaise. They loved Isaac’s food and it got an “mmmmm” out of Padma.  Tom says his fennel puree was too grainy. Gail agrees.

Amar is up next. He is super nervous. Amar’s presentation was shaky. They seemed to like his food but not overly so. If Tom had a negative remark, it wasn’t shown.  He did a million techniques and they all worked out.


The winner is just too close to call. If it comes down to presentation going into the decision, then I think Isaac has a slight edge. Except the judges thought that Marjorie did the best performance. Ugh, I don’t like where we are headed.

Amar wins! I’m going to miss Isaac. But I will be rooting for Amar in the final.

Who do you think will win? Amar or Jeremy?


Filed under Bravo, Entertainment News, Top Chef

43 responses to “Top Chef Recap: Time For the Chefs To Work Their Magic!

  1. I want Amar to win but I think Jeremy will. I had to fast forward Marjorie presenting her ‘duck luh oringe’ – I was so uncomfortable.

  2. Zydor99

    I wanted Marjory to be in the finale-dang she shot herself in her foot! I’m down with Amar, Jeremy seems smarmy to me. Almost as bad as Phillip. Maybe I’m wrong but who knows?

    • Erica

      Really my ONLY complaint about Jeremy is that he said he is teaching his daughter that 1st runner up is 1st loser. UGH!!! Otherwise, while I don’t think he is the strongest chef – and I mean CHEF (can cook, run the front, run the back and come up with a strong business plan).

  3. Amy

    I feel like they are setting us up for J to win which makes me hope that Amar does. I miss Isaac but I’d be happy with an Amar win.

    • This is what my husband said as well. They’ve been showing us a lot of Jeremy in the last handful or more of episodes. Every chance they get they show us his family and a phone call etc. I’d be happy with either one but definitely think the pretty boy, Jeremy, will win.

  4. A Little Birdie

    Jeremy has had a really awesome season but I would love to see Amar come out with the win

  5. Brittany

    Really pulling for Amar.

  6. Wallace

    I don’t like when they get away from allowing the chef’s to showcase their chef skills. Why do the gimmicky piece with the illusion so close to the end? I love that Amar made it back. He’s got a great spirit.

  7. Bridgett

    As Top Chef is my favorite, I’m a little disappointed with the editing of the “still to come this season” package they showed all season, it had major spoilers…it showed Amar, so I knew when he was eliminated that he would win LCK and that Jeremy won round 1 bc he wasn’t in any of the magic scenes.

    That aside, I am super sad Isaac is out but he will win fan favorite so some cash will come his way. Amar has been my second favorite, so I am pulling for him. I liked Jeremy in the beginning, but the “bruh” edit made him a little tedious. Either way, I think we will be in for an awesome finale!

    We could really use a bingo card/elaborate drinking game for the finale:
    -Jeremy makes a crudo…chug drink
    -Amar makes chicken…take shot
    -Jeremy calls sous chef bruh…take sip of drink

    • tamaratattles

      I don’t think there is a fan favorite award. This show is notoriously cheap with cash payouts. The advertisers pay all the payout and even the winner’s isn’t that big.

  8. Haha, poor Phillip was picked last…again! I was sad to see Isaac go, but he had a great run, and I think I heard the fan favorite would get 10 grand and I’m hoping that fan favorite will be Isaac. We, the people love him! Fingers crossed. I was not sorry to see Marjorie go though. Burning her tongue was payback for talking shit to the guys and telling them to shut up and all. Too bad, so sad :( I wrote Jeremy off a few weeks ago, so now I get to eat my words since he’s in the finals. I was glad he didn’t make fish though…FINALLY, and I do enjoy looking at him because he is a fine looking dude, so there is that. At some point he decided to get inspired and when he did, he did kick ass.

    Jeremy or Amar for the win. Yikes, that is a hard one. I think I will pull a little more for Amar because of his life story. It’s very touching.

    The digs they stayed in while in Las Vegas was fantastic! Oh my gosh, what an experience they were a part of, they really were all winners.

    At the end of the day (I can’t even believe I used that term, I think I’ve been indoctrinated) may the best chef win…but go Amar!!!

    Thank you TT for going the extra mile and recapping Top Chef for us, after all. I LOVE Top Chef! Now I’m going back to all the links and read what I wrote. Way back then when I thought TT wasn’t going to recap anymore, I picked my winners as a last hoorah. It will probably be funny to see how totally wrong I was :)

    • SwimMom

      Yes! Her burned tongue was karma! Great call Gingersnap. I liked Marjorie in the beginning, but not in the end.

      • tamaratattles

        I didn’t even see the metaphoric beauty of the burned tongue. DAMMIT I wish I would have it could have made for a much better recap. I really suck at Top Chef recaps mostly because I really just want to watch the show.

      • Erica

        Why? I had to marathon it – and I got distracted with my 15 year old kitty who is feeling under the weather (he’s developed arthritis in 3 spots in his spine) and his space heater failed (I’m lucky I didn’t burn the house down)

        I liked Marjorie. The only one who annoyed me was Phillip.

    • tamaratattles

      Ooh good idea. I can’t remember who I liked in the beginning either. Probably Kwame.

  9. Cat

    I love when the returning chef wins. I always root for the underdog.

  10. Jane

    Isaac’s been ahead in fan favorite. I’m not sure this is done every season, but I do remember Fabio getting it and maybe Leah. Aside from any cash, they seem to bring the ff back for other shows, like all stars.

    I’m not surprised amar is back, he had both training and experience. Love his backstory, but he always seems kind of pervy to me.

    • tamaratattles

      Jane, I don’t think Amar is pervy, though I do see what I think you are picking up on. I think he is … I don’t want to say not American, because he is (I think), but he is first generation most likely. People raised in other countries, … how do I say this..

      Are you familiar with the phrase, “Gay or European?” What it means it that those of us with strong functioning gaydar, often have a hard time assessing if someone steep in another culture is gay. I’m not suggesting Amar is gay at all I am using that as an example, to say what comes off as “pervy” in Americans is totally “not pervy” in other cultures. We all judge/assess/interpret others based on our own culture and are pretty accurate in that regard. But if we encounter someone with another cultural background, our “norms” are off. It even occurs within our own cultures. We can make determinations and hold prejudices for or against our fellow Americans based on regions. We expect Californians to be liberal, we except southerners to be dumb, we brand New Englanders as rich and entitled, or whatever. We all have our measuring sticks based on our own culture that may serve us well for the most part here. But if someone from Afganistan, or Iceland or Japan arrives in our lives, our predetermined ideas about what is pervy doesn’t serve us as well.

      This is one of those comments that is going to get me in trouble. :)

      P.S. While I remember Fabio. I don’t remember Leah, unless she was the St Lucian? I loved her.

    • tamaratattles

      Sorry Jane, I went totally astray and forgot what I really wanted to say. This will probably get me in more hot water than the last comment, but I did not like Amar’s tearful dead daddy story. It’s great for reality TV but it totally sways the audience. It should be about the cooking and not who has the best “heartwarming story.”

      I have similar issues with shows like Survivor and Big Brother when the contestants don’t want rich people to win. Who cares? It a competition based on skill! It’s not a charity case.

      • Totally agree. Tired of and don’t want to hear the sob stories. I want to see the food and for it to look so good that i wish I was the one getting to eat it.

      • Jane

        I have a special place in my heart for Latinos, especially from the DR and Guatemala… Go Juan Luis Guerra! I don’t think gays are pervy, but I get the feeling Amar might do unholy acts with watermelon in the cooler. Does that make me a bad person? I plead the fifth. I’m fine with either contestant winning. I enjoy watching the finale when the chefs pull out all the stops.

        I meant Lee Ann Wong, not Leah…. Probably too focused on the melon… Not sure if she was an official fan favorite, but she pops up on many shows.

        I admire anyone who makes something of their life through perseverance. Backstories can get tiresome. The Voice is the worst offender! I want someone to say. ‘I’m going to squander all the money. I’m only in it for the fame.’

  11. Sunshine

    I wanted my little Kwame to win so badly. I am good with Amar or Jeremy winning now. No preference at all.

    • tamaratattles

      I’m sure he would love to here he is “your little Kwame.” Even when you are trying to be nice, it’s cunty. Just saying.

      • Sunshine

        Lady it was just a statement with no malicious intent. I guess that’s the way you have to justify TRYING to insult me. Funny and amusing…………

      • tamaratattles

        You could be commenting about puppies and unicorns and STILL be judgmental and bitchy.

      • Sunshine

        Nope. Not the slightest bit judgemental or bitchy. This kid’s got a heart of gold and is just trying to get her point across. FYI, I’ll take kittens over puppies.

  12. Jackie

    As a Diminican-Anerican I am all in for Amar ☺️

  13. I want Amar to win the finale, but I really was rooting for Isaac to become Top Chef. He was the only chef to actually do a ‘magic trick’ type of presentation…oh well.
    Now I hope that Bravo, or Food Network, or Cooking Channel is smart enough to give my man Isaac a cooking show!

  14. Skeeter

    I’m rooting for Amar now that Isaac is gone.

  15. Cjbomb

    I thought both Marjorie and Isaac’s exits were very classy. I will definitely be rooting for Amar. He has a serious talent. Jeremy lost me with telling his daughter second place means “first loser” and telling the judges his taco joint would have “hot chick” servers.

    • tamaratattles

      Jeremy had a TERRIBLE service in Restaurant Wars, and his Taco pop up concept was HORRIBLE. I don’t see him as final 2 worthy. But he’s cute.

      • Jeremy sure IS cute…if he doesn’t speak. His and comments and attitude annoys me. But if he keeps quiet? Mmmm-mmmm-mmmm. Then he’s cute.

      • Cjbomb

        Agreed on the not worthy part! And I voted as much as I could for Isaac as fan favorite as well.

    • Erica

      OMG…. just posted about his first loser philosophy!! Irritated me. Plus, i can’t root for someone who was terrible in Restaurant Wars. But TT is right. He’s cute, and as Dr. E alluded if his mouth is full he’s even better.

  16. Erica

    Oh… caught up this weekend – I was behind by 5 episodes! Plus catching up on Worst Cooks in America. Quite the spectrum of cooking abilities!

    Random thoughts.

    Marjorie got into her own head too much – and she even alluded to it at the end that she JUST figured out that not winning didn’t mean she was a bad chef. (this is a problem for a number of contestants – they are excellent chefs, but just not in the constraints of production and a contest)

    I think this is the most likable bunch of chefs of any season – Phillip is the one I disliked, but he wasn’t as annoying as some in the past who I HATED.

    Isaac is a beautiful soul. I was rooting for him – and his wife and girls are lucky females.

    I think Tom was SHOCKED that Kwame first entered “the business” as a WAITER 4 years ago for Craft. TOTAL props for Kwame for only revealing that at the end. I’d love to know if they had a conversation afterwards.

    Rooting for Amar.

    Voted 30 times for Isaac, but threw 10 votes for Karen b/c I thought she was funny and I liked her.

  17. I think it always comes down to the food, so altho Amari didn’t put on the show they were looking for, I did want to eat everything he put on the plate and assume it was all yummy. It just looked like he took the transformation to heart but not the part about putting on the show as he plated.

    And yeah, not tasting orange in luh oringay (lol whatev) big mistake.

    I voted 40X’s Isaac too but didn’t have a problem with him not making it on his last dish…think he’d hit a wall.

  18. Shae

    Kwame is a class act through and through, as is Isaac. I think they both represented themselves well and should be proud of how far they got. I love watching them both.

    I’m glad Amar made it back through LCK and into the final, well deserved. Though I do think the story about his dad was pretty heavy, I do understand having lost my dad young, that can be the fundamental event of your young life and biggest motivation. I’m sure all he was thinking about the whole time was how he wished his dad was there to see him and how proud he’d be. I don’t fault him for wanting to share what’s driving him with the judges, I don’t think the story would sway them in their decision.

    I’ve liked Jeremy all season as well, he’s talented but not cocky. Marjorie got on my nerves a bit but I think she’s a great chef and put it all out there. All in all it’s been a good season, no total assholes to spoil it for everyone lol

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