After seeing the title of this episode, I’m less excited than usual about tonight’s Top Chef Recap. Tofu? Really? Is that still even a thing? Dawn, Jamie and Maria are excited to be part of the final six. Three women of color! For the quickfire, the teams are working in pairs to make a dish from fresh fruits and vegetables. Maria and Shota are apparently Team Padma. Gabe and Jaime are Team Gail. Byron and Dawn are Team Tom. Not really sure I understand the whole team thing just yet. Oh, they are cooking for their judge who will decide which dish is better. Then, Richard Blais will select the winning dish of the top three.
To make matters more interesting, the judges tell the chefs what sort of dish they want. Tom wants something tangy and crunchy, Gail would like something smoky and charred and Padma wants something spicy and tart. This is Maria’s challenge to lose and that’s making Shota nervous. Dawn seems off to a good start. I’d love to see the three girls in the top three. Maria’s tortilla actually loses to Shota. She’s pissed. Byron and Dawn both made pork dishes. Tom prefers Dawn’s recipe. Jaime’s skirt steak loses to Gabe’s pork loin. Now it is up to Richard to choose the winner. He chose Dawn. She seems shocked. She won $10,000.
We move very quickly on to the Tofu tournament. This episode is going very quickly. What else is going to happen tonight? The six chefs will go head to head tournament style. The first two matched up are Maria and Shota. This is Shota’s challenge to lose. He’s the tofu guy. So, this time, Maria is the nervous one. Oh they are going to a tofu store. That is going to be the time filler. Also they will be serving their food in a Japanese garden.
The chefs all have to plan for three rounds of cooking because they don’t know who will win each round. Gabe seems to share my sentiment about tofu. He’s not into this challenge at all. Dawn has a lot of experience with tofu. The last round is dessert tofu and everyone is hoping they don’t have to do that. Maria is trying to make a tofu tamale, but she is not happy with how things are going. The tournament is going down at the Portland Japanese Gardens. It’s a really beautiful location.
Maria and Shota are the first to face off in round one. Shota is making tofu six different ways! Because of course he is. Maria’s tamales are not cooking fast enough. She’s in trouble. Gabe is making? Beans? Something Mexican? Dawn’s “cyro-vaccing” her tofu in a braising liquid didn’t work properly. She could be in trouble. Jaime is doing a Vietnamese dish. I’m not sure what Byron is doing just yet. Shota and Maria are up first. Somehow, even with undercooked tamales, Shota and Maria TIED. Why do they have an even number of judges? Shota wins and she is safe.
Very Close Decisions
Up next we have Gabe’s braised tofu and soy bean against Dawn’s West Indian brown stew with braised tofu. Once again the judges tie. They finally settle on Gabe for the win. Byron is doing tofu three ways, but he is really worried about Jaime’s dish. Jaime wins the third round. Maria, Dawn and Byron must go head to head in a fried tofu round.
Dawn is making Nashville Hot Tofu which is a play on Nashville Hot Chicken. Maria is making some sort of tofu mole. Byron is making some kind of “bar food” with what looks like shrimp. Dawn sliced her hand and needed a medic at the very end. She bleed into her pickles that were supposed to be her garnish and also to replate. The other chefs came to help her. But she was still a plate short. Maria’s fried tofu with mole sauce gets good feedback. The judges are only allowed to choose either Maria or Byron for the win since Dawn didn’t get up ten plates. One of the judges wanted to vote for her anyway. Aw. Maria got nine out of ten votes!
It’s Dawn and Byron in the dessert challenge. The loser goes home. Dawn has no real plans for her dish and seems defeated. Both dishes are very similar. The judges have to get together to talk. It’s really a struggle for them to decide. I love how much these chefs love each other. It’s so nice to see. Byron is eliminated. It’s so sad when any of them go. I don’t even know who to vote for for fan favorite. I love them all. I’m off to watch Last Chance Kitchen. See you in comments!