Season 14 of Top Chef took place on December 1 in Charleston, South Carolina. The food show witnessed eight new chefs and eight returning veterans. It started with a Quickfire Challenge where the new chefs were told to prepare a quick chicken dish. Each chef was given a whole bird and told to create as many dishes as they wished from it.
Quickfire Challenge and Elimination
The executive chef for the state of Alabama, Jim Smith, implemented his concept with a combination of chicken livers, strawberries, and ranch dressing. While most of the chefs could just make a single dish in the permitted time, Silvia Barban, the Italian chef, prepared two dishes—tagliatelle with chicken ragu.
The head judge, Tom Colicchio, loved Barban’s tagliatelle, Emily Hahn’s Asian BBQ wings in tamarind and chili glaze, and Smith’s fried chicken innards with bitter lettuces and strawberry vinaigrette. All the three dishes were scrumptious but the one that won Colicchio’s heart was the fried chicken innards with bitter lettuces and strawberry vinaigrette. Smith won the Quickfire Challenge.
Gerald Sombright got knocked out of the Quickfire Challenge as his dish looked too greasy and also the garnish was overcooked. He prepared smoked buttermilk-poached chicken with chicken jus and wild mushroom and sweet potato fricassee. He was the first contestant to get ruled out.
Sam Talbot made grits with coconut milk, maple syrup, with some other touches and kept it simple and original. Casey Thompson also made grits as she felt the time limit was not sufficient to make a whole dish. Her under-cooked dish ruled her out of the Quickfire Challenge.
Shirley Chung made egg custard with bacon and corn. Katsuji Tanabe mentioned over a dozen ingredients in his dish but judge Graham criticized him for not including more veggies in his Mexican adobe-style shrimp and grits.
Brooke Williamson made a Scotch egg dish where he substituted ground shrimp for traditional sausage on the outer layer of her runny-yolked egg.
John Tesar prepared a Korean shrimp dish and grits with faux kimchi plate with sloppy red streaking around the edges,that made him lose.
The newcomer, Annie Pettry, made pan-seared chicken breast with panzanella, fennel puree, shaved fennel and black garlic jus. She got knocked for her crouton-y salad and landed in the bottom three, but she managed to stay in.
For all those who missed it, you can catch the next episode of Top Chef on Bravo Thursdays at 10:00 p.m. EST.
“’Top Chef’ Season 14 Premiere Recap: Newcomers Face Off Against Veterans; One Contestant Goes Home,” US Magazine web site, December 2, 2016;
http://www.usmagazine.com/entertainment/news/top-chef-season-14-premiere-recap-who-was-eliminated-w452585, last accessed December 2, 2016