Hi everyone!!! And welcome to Denver, Colorado for Top Chef season 15! I am legit so excited to recap this show, not only because it's my third year in a row, but also because I need a break from writing about female oppression, rape, abusive husbands and tech-based mind-hump mysteries. And yeah, that means I should get off Twitter. ANYWAY! Who's ready to roll with me???
Let's meet everyone!
Fatimi Ali from New York, New York by way of Pakistan
Tyler Anderson of culinary hub Simsbury, CT. He used to be a punk rocker which will for sure probably not make him a smrter-than-thou arsehole
Carrie Baird, repping for Colorado and the Latter day Saints
Adrienne Cheatham also from New York, New York and feeling the pressure of being the first black female Top Chef. Also maybe a little rushy!
Laura Cole from totally not made up city name Denali National Park in Alaska
The first of our Joes; Joseph Flam of Chicago WHO TOTALLY KNOWS HOW TO MAKE AN ITALIAN SUB, OKAY??
Next up is Rogelio Garcia from San Fransisco via Mexico City!
Tanya Holland of Brown Sugar Kitchen in Oakland, CA!
Bruce Kalman, who looks like someone squished Robert Downey Jr. and squeezed him into a chef's jacket using only sweat and brylcream.
Brother Luck, who has the best real name ever! Of Colorado Springs, CO
Ginjaninja Melissa Perfit of San Francisco, CA who is all set!
Tu David Phu who looks Vietnamese and cooks Vietnamese but sounds alllll California. He's also from Oakland!
Mustache Joe Sasto III of Los Angeles, OF COURSE
Chris Scott, purveyor of fine Amish soul food in Brooklyn, New York. He has a GREAT voice but Amish wat now?
and finally but not leastly: Claudette Zepeda-Wilkins from San Diego, CA
We've got chefs from all over the country! Okay, mostly from California with a little local Colorado flavour and New York sprinkled in, sure.
Padma is back and looking AMAZING!
She asks about nerves, side-eyes the confident ones and all of a sudden we're in a Quickfire Challenge Potluck Party already! 45 minutes to cook anything they like, roll credits!
Bruce hits the proteins first, he's worried he'll end up with something stupid like chicken wings. *cut to Tanya preparing chicken wings* / oh hai Tanya, whatcha making? Nice editing! She's written two cookbooks!
Mustache Joe is taking a big risk and doing pasta in 45 minutes, Carrie thinks that is just far too crazy for day 1. Nobody can stop staring at his train robber face wombat.
Carrie did a lot of potlucks in her time as a Mormon, just maybe not at Top Chef level...She's doing grilled bruschetta and Imma have to take a hard pass.
Joseph is a woodfire guy, which is good because everyone else is working those regular ovens like a part time job. Except Tu, he's making a salad and we're all worried about that, aren't we? We are. I'm also worried about Melissa, who hasn't ever cooked competition style before and the timing is going to kill her.
The judges show up during the last five minutes, hi Tom Colicchio, Gail Simmons and Graham Eliot! 10/10 would hump all. NO ADDED PRESSURE with them watching! Oh,sorry, ALL THE PRESSURE.
I don't know, dude, it looks really, REALLY hard.
The judging is potluck-style, everyone including the cheftestants eating together and talking about the dishes:
Oh Claudette, no honey, no. I am impressed she made a mole sauce in 45 minutes, however, if only it looked less like extruded poo.
A couple of notes: Brother Luck opened his restaurant on Monday, he's just hoping it's there when he gets back.
Everybody knows Bruce Kalman, I think even I know Bruce, or at least I shagged a bunch of his doppelgangers back in the early aughts.
The chefs have to vote for their favourites and least favourites, the bottom two are:
Melissa (unevenly cooked potatoes) and Carrie (unfocused bruschetta)
The Top Three are Tu (my bad, his salad was fine), Joe (mustache) and Joe (fresh snapper), Tom would have brought in Chris's dumplings as well but it is Tu who wins the first immunity!
JoeStache took a moment to point out how much older Tanya is; I hope she crushes his ridiculous mustache wearing arse.
Now it's time for their first Elimination Challenge! Feeding meat and potatoes to 200 Denverarians in Laramir Square.
Side note: I LOVE Denver; it's practically Canadian!
The chefs travel to get ingredients, Fatimi waxing nostalgic about watching Padma on a travel show in Pakistan
And now it's WHOLE FOODS TIME!! Laura thinks she's at a disadvantage because they don't have Whole Foods in Alaska, but her and her kiddo have watched every season of Top Chef and she knows to head to the meat counter first! There seems to be a lot of plans for braising meat and pork shoulders particularly, is there enough time?
Tyler is going for "porky, salty, sweetie and smokey. The four dwarves of Pork." He's taking a risky stance; he's making a brand new untested dish every time on Top Chef. Dude. Is that wise? You haven't got much time and if you don't even know what it's supposed to be like? You seemed nice.
Bruce knows all about this type of event, he's done two-hundo outside a zillion times. Alone? Without an army of sous chefs?
Joe and Joe are both doing tartare.
Tom and Graham come in for a temperature check, Chris has a fantastic voice and an interesting menu planned.
Carrie talks about her something or other but I couldn't listen because I was too focused on her hands because she was using a mandolin and Tom and I were worried she was gonna lose a slice off a finger.
Tom is wary of Rogelio's sirloin-filled croquette; Rogelio would have liked that constructive criticism 30 minutes ago, peez!
The ovens are ALL in use. ALL. People are getting creative, except Bruce who is getting flustered and needs a lot of help.
I told you this guy is used to working with an army of sous chefs! Tu admires Bruce and so he helps him, I dunno, man.
Oooh the Top Chef house is gorgeous! It is odd to think of sleeping in a bunk bed with a bunch of other adults in a house, though, Claudette hasn't had any adult roommates. ON PURPOSE. She does have two kiddos and works three jobs as a single mama. Hey, me too!! I have three kiddos and three jobs, though. I love this picture of her and her daughter.
Bruce is worried about his choices, so he'll probably win. Actually, Top Chef isn't one of those reality shows that manipulates perception with editing, I kind of love that.
It's Challenge Day at Larimer Square and Tu is STILL helping everyone! He gives his induction pot to Joe Stache and heats his stew up on a hotel pan. No way that didn't scorch. Good thing he has immunity, yo.
Fatima is the only one using chicken in her deconstructed samosas, I am very excited to see what she does with those flaky-looking things she keeps shuffling up and down with her fingers.
People are wandering over and saying hi to Carrie, she has fans! And then we're into it and the cooking is on!
Everyone gets good reviews, except Carrie who gave Tom a burnt chip, Melissa who didn't braise her pork long enough, Adrienne whose dish was too sweet and Laura's dish needed saucing.
Side notes: Brother Luck did a purple puree for the Columbine, the state flower and awww! I just read the book Columbine and I'm super happy to hear something that's not about what happened at Littleton. Also: Tyler made a rude comment about serving tartare on crackers so I was bang on the nose about the arrogance.
Top Three are:
Fatimi: whose samosas were adored by all
Joe Stache: don't remember, lots of ingredients and flavours
Tyler: Padma couldn't stop talking about his perfectly crisping potatoes so maybe this Cooking All New thing will work out for him
And Tyler takes it! FINE. I was hoping for Fatimi, she was so happy Padma liked her food.
In the bottom are Carrie, Adrienne and Melissa and I am afraid we are losing the ginger in our kitchen. It could go either way between her and Carrie, who's been super erratic in her cooking, but alas, it is Melissa and she cries and we're almost done.
Just before we wrap, Tom mentions that there is something different with Last Chance Kitchen this year and what does that mean? I haven't watched but it seemed pretty straightforward? I'll look online.
So what did you think?? Did you love it, HGM? I was so happy to see fancy food and the TALENT again! Woo hoo! Until next week!