leave your inhibitions at the door
I’m wondering if they buffaloed us again.
Last year, Nicholas won after a whole season of being near the bottom and extremely hated by just about everyone with eyeballs. Throughout the season they made him look like a complete jerk who was generally undeserving of the title. Yet, he beat out the nicer, oft-winning Nina in the final.
In my season recap, I made the argument that he did deserve to win. What I didn’t talk about was the villain edit. We only see a fraction of all the video that they take throughout the season. I’m pretty sure that every contestant has their moments, but they just chose Nicholas because he had a couple more of them. It’s classic television editing – you have to make people give a crap about the stars, positively or negatively.
This year, it’s Melissa’s turn to be the surprise. She was super sweet so the editors didn’t have much to work with in terms of the villain edit – unlike the not-so-dearly departed Aaron. But she definitely looked completely amateurish and out of her league. Then she started coming on and winning. I’m wondering if they intentionally made her look like she wasn’t that good?
Will her momentum continue in the finals?
As for the others… There’s six weeks between what we last saw in Boston and the finals in Mexico. In that six weeks, Mei crammed hard on her technique, including a stage at a Mexican restaurant. Gregory spent the time stewing about how to recapture his early season Mojo.
We see the three of them arrive in their villa and as soon as you can say “Tequila body shots,” Tom comes and takes them upstairs where the finale of Last Chance Kitchen is still going on. Dougie, who was doing well all season until undercooking foie gras, was up against George. He was the guy who was first to get kicked off, was brought back, and lasted a few weeks by making unimaginative yet well-executed dishes. Without much ado, Dougie was crowned winner and back in the final four and they immediately sent them off for the Quickfire Challenge.
In that LCK cook-off, Dougie was wearing his Top Chef jacket, but apparently they didn’t want him wearing it after that. Jeez, you’d think they’d give him a minute so he can put on another shirt…
They had to create a dish that highlighted a Xoconostle, a treasured variety of prickly pear. The winner got an advantage in the next elimination.
Gregory: Garlic shrimp with olive oil, prickly pear sauce, & Xoconostle relish
Dougie: Xoconostle & tomatillo stew with roasted peppers and pepitas
Mei: Ribeye Tataki with xoconostle salsa and nopales salsa verde
Melissa: Salmon ceviche with Xoconostle, leche de tigre, & prickly pear salad
Least Favorite: Gregory, the olive oil overpowered the Xoconostle.
Second Least Favorte: Mei, meat wasn’t cooked correctly.
Each got an envelope with an local artist’s name with whom they would collaborate the next day. The artist would do their thing and the chef would make a dish that represent the artist’s work. They were cooking for a crowd of 150, so they got to choose two sous chefs from the pool of eliminated contestants. Since Dougie won the Quickfire, he chose first.
Dougie (with Adam, Katsuji)
Melissa (George, James)
Mei (Rebecca, KerriAnn)
Gregory (Katie, Stacy)
Favorites: Gregory, Doug
Winner: Doug, who got to take home the artist’s work
– Yeah, Melissa wasn’t going to win. Of the three hers was the one I’d order last, but I’m not much of a pasta person.
– This is clearly who the top three should’ve been all along. I wish they would’ve described Dougie’s dish more, but they wanted to make his victory a surprise. He’s a machine!
– It sounded like they really loved Gregory’s, so maybe he’s found his mojo?
– They were in Guanajuato, which is in the middle of absolute nowhere. I’m glad they didn’t go to Tulum, because then every rube would want to go there. If it’s ok if you go, though. You’re a good rube.
– This was one of the best episodes I’ve seen in a long time. The food in the Elimination Challenge was wildly creative, the dishes fit to the challenge, were gorgeous, and definitely fine dining –worthy.
– They packed so much into this episode. This is in stark contrast to previous years and even last week where they really were spreading shit out.
– I loved the artwork that Melissa’s and Greg’s guys did.
– In my past two trips to Mexico, I did a bunch of shopping at supermarkets. Yeah, it’s hell. Clothes, motorcycles, and food all within steps of each other. And stacks of eggs on a shelf in the middle of the store, unchilled.
– They had a quick snippet of Adam and Katjusi having fun… Damn I miss Katsuji