July 13, 2024

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Top Chef: Wisconsin recap, episode 14: Drive to victory

Top Chef: Wisconsin recap, episode 14: Drive to victory

Top chefs

Cruising to win

Season 21

Episode 14

Editor’s rating

3 stars

Photography: David Muir/Bravo

Going into “Cruising to a Win,” it sounded like any of the three Top Chef: Wisconsin The finalists had an equal chance of withdrawing. This season has been up and down in many ways (Kristen’s effectiveness as a host, the ambiguity of some of the challenges, and the apparent plot to get Sue out of… Last Chance Kitchen on Top chefs True), but Danny, Dan and Savannah had small paths to glory. Danny was a clear and early favorite with his creativity and experience in fine dining. Dan had a story of overcoming obstacles as a chef who tried out the series 11 times, and was a favorite among the judges so often that he proved a Kennedy diagnosis would not hold him back. Savannah went on a late-season tear, winning challenge after challenge and taking risks that revealed her growing confidence. It seemed like every one was worth it…until Danny pulled out a shell-shaped cookie sheet, started making little flowers out of his products, and served one of his sauces in a clamshell. Those are the movements of Buddha Lu, which are catnip Top chefs Judges.

The elimination challenge is very straightforward: each chef needs to cook a four-course progressive meal. Interestingly, although the cruise ship is now based in Aruba, there is no real confirmation from the judges that the chefs are using the island’s flavors or location as inspiration; “Just blow us away” As guiding inspiration for their final meals, Savannah and Dani come up with similar ideas revolving around important food memories, while Dan follows the idea of ​​”living in the moment” inspired by Chef Masaharu Morimoto’s suggestion in the previous episode that they all enjoy this culinary experience and not overdo it. Think about it. Then it’s time to pick your sous chefs from Laura, Amanda, Michelle, Manny, Sue, and Kalina, Dan picks his former teammate Damanda, Savannah picks her friend and fellow Southerner Michelle, and Danny picks Manny, a choice that makes me say “Oh no” out loud. I love Manny; Manny also has experience in fine dining, but Danny seems like a demanding and demanding person to work for, and I’m not sure how this pairing works!

After discussing their meal ideas extensively (Danny brings in all the seafood, Savannah brings the Southern inspiration, and Dan works on a batch of flavors), they go shopping, and this is where I tell you it’s probably the only dramatic part of this first half. The episode is when Danny keeps losing Manny: “The biggest guy in the grocery store, and I couldn’t find him.” A little montage of them walking around the grocery store in circles, missing each other repeatedly? It’s corny and adorable. Sure, Dan has a little hiccup when a grocery store employee cooks sardines instead of cleaning them and has to switch to snapper, but isn’t that really just a reflection of the theme of living in the moment?

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Back in the cruise ship’s (still cramped) kitchen, the chefs get to prepare and meet Emeril Lagasse, and it’s very nice of them all to be starstruck. Savannah has Laura working on pasta dough after she did an unexpectedly good job with fresh pasta in the season premiere. Dan is working on a dish inspired by Danny’s soba cha buckwheat tea from two previous challenges. Unsurprisingly, Danny pushes Manny to move faster and do more, and a little tension develops between them when Danny learns that Manny squeezed all the watermelon he bought for dessert, when he was supposed to keep some of that watermelon in the back for Watermelon Balls. Sorry! But Danny decided to enjoy the lemonade instead, and considering how much the judges liked the lemon and hazelnut spread from last week, it seems like a smart choice. He’s also eating seaweed candy, which sounds confusing, but maybe it is In reality The perfect salty-sweet snack I’ve been searching for my whole life? I will stay open!

One of the biggest changes this season has been the emphasis on having a good time between Kristen and the other judges and competing chefs, and we get more of that with breakfast on the morning of the finale. Kristen cries, everyone talks about how important this experience is, and Tom expresses his admiration for Savannah to clarify that she’s a UNC fan and not a Duke fan, which might be the most humane thing Tom has ever done and makes me love him a little bit. (I’m bound as a Terp since UMD was in the ACC with Duke to believe they’ll always be the worst.) Then, it’s time for more preparation, and for me, I cackle with unbridled, shocked indignation when Danny gives Manny a chance. A complete list of tasks and tells him “All of these… should take 40 minutes total.” Joel McHale in The bear-You will be proud! And bless him, Manny’s really trying, charring Danny’s cabbage with extra care and noticeably panicking when he realized he hadn’t cooked the spiny lobster tails all the way through. This guy just wanted to do good for Danny, and there’s a purity there that I adore.

There are problems in the kitchen, though, outside of Danny and Manny’s dynamic. Dan likes the texture of his salted tuna, but I’m not sure seafood should ever be described as “jammy,” and Savannah realizes that her pasta dough has a bad texture. Naturally, both of these wrinkles become problems during governance. To make it easier to read, I’ll write down each chef’s final meal:

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Dan

First course: tuna tartare, ruby ​​red grapefruit, Caribbean pepper puree, black garlic labneh

Dish 2: Grilled Snapper, Ginger, Scallions, Braised Squash, and Smoked Snapper

Third course: oxtail ragu, dumplings, piklis

Fourth course: yogurt mousse with coriander, olive oil, salted potato chips and grilled pineapple

Danny

First course: scallops, habanero leche de tigre, breadfruit, and nori tole

Second course: smoked mussels, plantain, charred cabbage

Third course: Spiny lobster with macha sauce, pumpkin, persimmon and chaza sauce in Burmese curry style

Fourth course: piragua con leche, inspired by Puerto Rican ice, with watermelon sorbet, acodado yogurt, candied seaweed, condensed milk and Antigriddle seal.

Savannah

First course: salted fish pie, sweet potato mash, pickled mussels, habanero honey glaze.

Second course: spiny lobster agnolotti, lobster broth, almonds, grapes

Third dish: seared grouper, banana mofongo, butter sauce

Fourth course: Banana buzz cake, pineapple lime granita, coconut and rum sauce

The first course is essentially a wash, with Dan’s appetizer praised for its “addictive” flavour, the Savannah’s pie for its crunch, and Danny’s scallops for their perfect cooking. Dan seems to gain an advantage with the second dish because Savannah’s dish is so flawed (her pasta dough is fluffy, the almonds are unnecessary) and because no one knows how to eat Dani’s pile of ingredients. Savannah stays in the bottom tier with her third round (all the judges are criticizing her bananas because she’s not… Proper mofongo), while Dan and Danny seem to be tied down, and the judges especially like Danny’s two sauces. The final course is another possible link, because each judge has separate praise for each dessert. But when Christine called Danny’s dessert a “perfect ending” to the meal and Tom said it had to be a special dish? It was an indication that Danny’s mistakes (not enough salt in his entree, not giving directions for his second course, and unevenly cooked lobster in the third round) were judged less egregious than Dan’s or Savannah’s, and he ended up as the first . Puerto Rican, Dominican, and Muslim chef. Thank God Danny! Enjoy all that money.

Looking back at this season overall, I’m grateful Top chefs I abandoned the overly manic façade of the first episode, and eventually came around to Tom and Jill joining Kristen in judging the Quickfire Challenge. I also think it’s good for competitors to have big prize money handed out, even if it’s already been funded Shepherd with a recent serious scandal. The latter two feel the changes will help Top chefs To be a better experience for both contestants and viewers (and any other organizations looking to improve their damaged reputation). I’m still not convinced whether Kristen will be able to offer more to the judges than her previous win, and I think this season’s group of contestants could have been stronger, and so do I. to be sure Which Last Chance Kitchen It should be just for the eliminated chefs, not some terrible obstacle course that someone might try to get on the show from the beginning. but Top chefs Move forward, and so should we, to Season 22. And if you still miss Padma Lakshmi, can I interest you in her comedy?

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• Tom Hat Watch: We’ll never get it This is good once again.

• Dishes I wanted to eat in this episode, course by course: Savannah saltfish; Danny smoked mussels. Danny’s spiny lobster. And Hummingbird Cake in the Savannah. It was pretty clear that Savannah wasn’t going to win, but I thought her dishes had an attractive comfort to them.

• Remember when I said last week, “If someone makes an aguachelli for the final challenge, I swear I’ll track down Tom and eat one of his hats”? Danny said he was thinking about making aguachile which made me very nervous! I had great luck with the leche de tigre axis! I was a little shocked that he didn’t do anything related to his beloved islands.

• I always wonder what happens to competitors who could They are selected as sous chefs for the finalists but are then passed over. Can they still spend time at the final episode’s destination? Do Kalina, Laura and Sue get a short vacation or are they sent home immediately? The latter seems difficult when you’re all on a cruise ship together.

• I loved seeing Aruba represented when the competitors met on the deck of the cruise ship to get the details of the elimination challenge. My partner and I traveled there about a decade ago, and these… trade winds It is not a joke!

• Should we add fresh pasta to the list of dishes that contestants should stop trying? Top chefs? It rarely seems to pay off! Move over, risotto.

• Thanks everyone for reading the recaps for this season!