Top Chef Episode 1: House of Chef-presentatives
After watching the first episode of Top Chef, I think it’s safe to say that this season is definitely promising. Taking place in Washington, DC., the previews include Nancy Pelosi and tears in the kitchen. Two things I’m eager to see! Even though there are so many cheftestants (17 to start with), so far there are definitely some front-runners. But let’s just begin with the quick fire.
The quick fire (a mise en place) combined lots of speed, as well as poise. Take a look at Angelo in photo above. He looks intense!
There are four stages, and only the quickest chefs go on to the next round. The others are eliminated, leaving four chefs at the final round. The cheftestants had to peel 10 potatoes. Kenny won that round. Then they had to brunoise, which means to dice in a small fashion, 10 cups of onions. Kenny won again. The guy is a machine.
Side note, Kenny came off as extremely confident at the beginning of this episode, almost arrogant, but so far he’s definitely at the head of the pack.
Then the cheftestants had to break down four chickens, which is pretty nasty. I had never seen that before, and would rather not see it again. Needless to say, Kenny won, with the following cheftestants at his tail: Angelo (he wants to win every competition this season), Timothy (who talks way too much), and Alex (not too much of an opinion on him yet).
The final stage required the guys to use all of the ingredients in a dish. Angelo won the challenge and came away with $20,000. Kenny finished in second place. As I mentioned before, there are definitely front-runners. Kenny and Angelo are it.
On to the real elimination challenge. The chefs are in groups of four (chosen by the top four mentioned above), and each has to cook a dish to represent themselves and where they are from. This is where the fun begins. After the cooking miscues, last-minute changes and the terrible decision to make a dessert, it was pretty obvious that chefs John and Jacqueline would be in the bottom four.
The winning four consisted of Angelo, Kenny, and Alex (all part of the first top four) and New Jersey Kevin. Angelo made Arctic Char with Pickled Shallots, Chile Tapioca and Smoked Bacon Froth.
Interestingly, Timothy (one of the chefs who made it to the first top four) ended up in the bottom four, along with Stephen (Mr. Annoying), John (Dreads) and Jacqueline (Self-Taught).
John is eliminated. He made Maple Mousse Napoleon with Crisp Macadamia Nut and Vanilla Sauce. The judges could not even taste the maple. John teared up, which was pretty sad. But it’s like, man you should not have made a dessert! Come on!
I’m hoping I’ll start to get more familiar with all of the cheftestants in the next week or two, so I can comment on how close my first impressions were to their personalities.
EPISODE 1 RECAP:
Official Episode Title: House of Chef-presentatives
Challenges: Quickfire - The 17 chefs are to compete in a three-round mise en place tournament. The prize is $20,000.
- Round One: Peel 10 potatoes; fastest 12 move on to Round Two.
- Round Two: Brunoise 10 cups of onions; fastest eight move on to Round Three.
- Round Three: Break down four whole chickens; fastest four move on to the final round.
The final four chefs are given 30 minutes to make a dish with the ingredients from the first three rounds, plus items from the Top Chef pantry.
Elimination – Create a dish that represents where you are from
Winner: Angelo Eliminated: John
Chefs Remaining: Angelo, Alex, Amanda, Andrea, Arnold, Ed, Jacqueline, Kelly, Kenny, Kevin, Lynne, Stephen, Tamesha, Tiffany, Timothy, Tracey
All photos are from Bravo.