Last week on Top Chef Kentucky, we lost Justin Sutherland in the elimination round leaving Eric Adjepong as the last man standing. Eric, Sara Bradley, Kelsey Barnard Clark, Michelle Minori,and Adrienne Wright are officially the top five chefs of Top Chef Kentucky! The top five chefs hopped a flight to Macau where they will fight to the finish!
Top Chef Kentucky’s top five chefs sure did get some prime real estate in Macau! There multi-level suite is gorgeous! Graham Elliot shows up to check it out! Graham Elliot has a restaurant in Macau. Because, of course he does. He is there to take everyone shopping in the red market. I want to go to the red market with Graham! It’s raining. So, the throngs short people are all carrying weapons at eye level. If you are tall, you know what I’m talking about. At least the top five chefs have mushroom-shaped bumbershoots to act as shields.
Graham Elliot’s Tour Of The Red Market
The Red Market is full of many wondrous things. I can’t imagine what it smells like there. Graham gives the top five chefs a very fast-paced lesson on all things creepy and odd in the market. Kelsey knows right away she is going to need this information for the quickfire. Graham buys an assortment of oddities including one very large eel and a variety of shellfish that you won’t find at Whole Foods. In addition to the eel, the other proteins include gum fish, cuttlefish, sea snails, giant scallops, and razor clams.
On the roof of red market, the top five chefs draw knives for the proteins. Sara gets first choice and takes the scallops. Kelsey chooses the gum fish. Michelle takes cuttlefish. That would be my last choice. The only thing I know about cuttlefish is the bone inside is that white thing that people put in bird cages for parrots to snack on. Yuck. Eric chooses the sea snails. Adrienne takes the razor clams. I would have taken the razor clams. I do a lot of clam soup Asiany things with clams. And if you could get your hands on some pasta, they would make a great clam sauce.
The top five chefs have $25 to spend in the market to round out their dish. Unfortunately, the time they spend shopping for these items counts against their 45 minute total cook time. I love that Sara studied the language on the plane and learned the basics: cuss words, please and thank you. If she had learned how to order a beer she would have been as fluent as she needed to be. Michelle is grazing her way through the market place. Is that a thing you should do?
Kelsey found a nice old lady who is deciding what she needs to buy. For example, she purchased a bag of white stuff. Apparently, it was highly recommended by the local lady. She should totally use it. Whatever it is. I mean would you rather die in Macau, or live never having been to Macau?
The Judge’s Decision
Sara’s giant scallops are huge and firm and nothing like regular sea scallops. She might be screwed. Kelsey‘s white powder is corn starch. Yay! Everyone is going to live. AND, apparently they use corn starch not flour for frying in Macau. Bonus! Adrienne is making ceviche with her razor scallops. *YAWN* Michelle is pleased with her cuttlefish. Eric’s sea snails may be a bit on the chewy side.
Eric’s chewy sea snails and Sara’s tasteless giant scallops landed them in the bottom. Michelle won the quickfire narrowly beating out Kelsey. SIGH.
The Elimination Challenge
Chef Jowett Yu joins Padma Lakshmi and Graham Elliot to judge the top five chefs in the elimination challenge. He is an expert in Cantonese food. The final five Top Chefs appear to have come to China just in time for the Chinese New Year! They will be feeding 200 of Chef Yu’s family members and friends at a New Year’s Eve celebration! To help the chefs with such a Herculean task, five former Top Chefs have been flown in to help them. There are five guys with platters of ingredients representing five different areas of prosperity for the new year. They must use all of the ingredients from the chef’s platter they choose. Also, not other chef will have those ingredients.
Michelle chooses David Viana, who has peaches, noodle and peanuts representing longevity. She smartly chose David because he is Portuguese. He was also recently nominated for a James Beard Award. Macau was Portuguese territory until 1999 and all the signs in Macau or in both Portuguese and Chinese. Adrienne chose Brian Young, he has ginger, broccoli and eggs representing good health. Sara chose Eddi Konrad who has happiness. They didn’t tell us what the ingredients were for happiness. WE NEED TO KNOW THIS! Kelsey choose Brandon Rosen, one of the pompadour chefs. He has three mysterious ingredients representing wealth. That leaves our two favorite beards to reunite as Eric get Justin Sutherland. Their basket had water chestnuts, coconut and lychee representing togetherness.
I am so happy Justin got to come to Macau, coming in sixth and just missing such a life-changing trip would be awful.
Planning the Meal
They are there for the Year of the Pig. So pork will be their main protein. Except this is all fake because the new year just started on February 5th and there is no way this show turned around three episodes filmed out of the country in that amount of time. Sorry for breaking the fourth wall.
Eric wants to do some sort of a curry. Le sigh. At least curry is from the same continent. I think I might have seen some curry in the Asian store. Plus it’s Eric. He’s good. He has water chestnuts, coconut and lychee.
Michelle is doing a dumpling of some sort. Thing will be finalized by what she finds at the market. I hate that she is taking such a smart approach. She my beat my two southern girls. Again. She has earned her place in the top five chefs.
Adrienne is planning on Brian to braise her pork. That’s not what a sous chef does. She will be making a broccoli salad. Because she makes a salad every fucking week.
The Southern Girls Keep It Southern
Kelsey’s wealth ingredients are oranges, cashews and cabbage. Unfortunately, she can’t get out of her southern roots to focus on a menu. She’s talking to Brandon about southern New Years where we eat blacked peas, turnip greens and cornbread. Don’t fuck this up Kelsey! Brandon has some expertise in Chinese food. YAY! Kelsey goes back to the market to see her favorite vendor with Brandon.
Sara’s happiness ingredients were cauliflower, shrimp and walnuts. I have all of those things! She is just like Kelsey and wanting to keep it southern. I just don’t think this is the time for that. Shrimp and cauliflower grits is not shrimp and grits. You need to go either Portuguese or Chinese! What is wrong with these people?
How in the name of all that is holy has Kelsey never cooked dried blackeyed peas and why is she doing it now? She has also scratched her pork belly because Adrienne and Bryan are doing that. Actually, I think Michelle has pork belly in her dumplings as well. Oh Kelsey! What are you thinking, girlfriend? You have to soak those peas overnight or parboil them first! Then she over cooks them.
Adrienne is making rice while Brian does everything else.
The Chinese New Year Party
Chef Jowett Yu seemed quite pleased with Michelle’s dumpling dish. I think she has this win in the bag. Tom and Graham were fans of her pickled peach. We didn’t see all the praise because I think she won.
Rule Number One, Never Scald A Judges Palate
Tom Colicchio appears out of nowhere with Graham Elliot. Did I just not notice him earlier in this episode? They are underwhelmed by Adrienne’s dish. It’s mediocre and lacks umami or depth. This competition is won or lost according to how Tom uses the ridiculous buzzword of 2016 “umami.” Adrienne, you in danger girl. Then she serves Padma a bite that is so hot it burns her mouth. YES! Adrienne is going home!
The Beards Were A Surprising Let Down
Padma and Chef Yu sample Eric’s braised pork shoulder and pigs ear in a coconut curry. Padma doesn’t think the chili is hot enough. Everyone knows this about Padma, Eric. You have to blow her head off with the spice. I’m just rying to imagine lychee glazed pork ears. Or not imagine them as the case may be. Chef Yu wanted some rice in the dish to soak up the liquid. Ut oh. Tom and Graham said it was too sweet and needed a pop of acid. As long as I have taken with this recap, I feel like I’ve had a pop of acid.
Team Southern Girls
Tom Colicchio and Graham Elliot seem to really like Sara’s shrimp and cauliflower grits. Tom says the fermented black bean gives “depth.” Depth is one step away from umami in Colicchioese. Sara has a shot at this. Or not. Chef Yu said the prawn was quite rich (he meant in a bad way) and Padma said it was very salty.
I do not understand how Kelsey’s dish has anything to do with blackeyed peas and greens. She says that and then gives them mushroom broth (gross) and blacked peas with some kind of unknown green, Portuguese sausage,cashews and cilantro. Cilantro? I’m kind of mortified by this concoction. Padma says she has done a good job incorporating her roots in the dish. So says the Indian woman. This southern girl is appalled. Chef Wu says it has lots of vegetables and tastes healthy. That’s Chinese for what is this shit?
Look at Kelsey work Tom Colicchio! She smiled and said, “Anything I saw in the market that I thought was umami I put in that broth.” Way to butter him up and speak his language! Graham Elliot fell under her spell too. Oh Graham. I had such faith in you,
The liked the chefs who wove their own stories in the dish. Kelsey and Michelle were top two. Is Kelsey going to umami her way into a win? YES! YES SHE DID! Kelsey wins! Sigh. I love Kelsey but her talk with Tom won her this challenge. Michelle was robbed.
Mon Dieu! Chefs Arguing With The Judges?
Oh MY GOD ERIC! SHUT UP! Adrienne is the clear loser of this challenge. You don’t get to respectfully disagree with Padma. EV-VER! You just bought yourself a plane ticket home!
Tom points out to Sara that cauliflower grits are not grits. Padma said that Sara’s dish was too salty from the ham hock. This is not a thing in the south. I’m just sayin’.
Graham Elliot tells Adrienne that a one bite dish wasn’t appropriate for Chinese New Year. Adrienne thankfully one ups Eric by disagreeing with Graham! Tom says he didn’t taste the ginger. Adrienne says the ginger was everywhere in her dish. Yes, please keep talking Adrienne.
Adrienne is eliminated. They didn’t get a sense of generosity from her dish. I don’t think we have seen any generosity with Adrienne this season.