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.
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.
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?