Top Chef Colorado recap: Authentic dishes win every time


Even the most accomplished chefs can stumble. In this Top Chef Colorado recap, authentic dishes with heart make a memorable impression.

In this Top Chef season, the chefs have taken on various challenges. Like other seasons, the most difficult challenges aren’t technically difficult. Instead, the challenges with personal connections can cause chefs to stumble. In this Top
Chef Colorado recap, even favorite chefs can be sent home early.

This week’s quickfire challenge had the cheftestants reimagine classic kids’ food. Instead of the flavorless chicken nugget and limp spaghetti, the chefs needed to update these dumbed down foods. Although the chefs had to cook on small sized kitchen tools, the concept is an important one.

One of the key elements from this challenge is understanding that a children’s meal doesn’t have to be dumbed down. Kids can and will eat good food. Whether it is the home cook or the national chain restaurant, everyone needs to give kids the opportunity to eat better tasting, good for them foods.

Looking at all the chefs’ dishes, anything that these cheftestants created would be a great addition to a kids’ menu. What could surprise some people is the kids’ top choices. The salad with grilled cheese croutons and the cauliflower crust pizza were top picks. Both dishes had lots of vegetables yet delivered on the familiar style.

Top Chef Colorado recap, photo provided by Bravo

The winning dish was the cauliflower pizza by Adrienne. By winning the quickfire challenge, she received immunity in the elimination challenge.

It was interesting that the three top dishes for the quickfire were made by women chefs. Their dishes weren’t necessarily overly complicated, but those dishes were thoughtful. Each one blended healthy aspects but still appealed to the children. The clarity in their dish and approach helped to put them on top.

The idea of clarity and thoughtfulness would be key in the elimination challenge. For the elimination challenge, the theme was for the cheftestants to cook a dish influenced by their heritage. These types of challenges are always emotional.

Everyone has a meal that they can remember cooking with family. From the classic holiday table to the Sunday dinner, cooking with family can be part of a tradition handed down through generations. While those dishes in the home may be the best food memory, recreating a version in a professional kitchen can be difficult.

In this challenge, many of the chefs struggled. It may sound trite to say that emotions seep into cooking, but it can be very true. In this challenge, the sentiments and memories overshadowed the good cooking technique.

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Three dishes that were thoughtful and well executed rose to the top. The top three chefs were Chris, Tanya and Joe. Joe’s dish was the most chef-y dish of the three. He took the flavors from his family inspired dish and elevated it. From the concept to the plating, this dish was very conceptual yet very well executed.

Tanya’s gumbo was humble yet powerful. Her mom’s classic gumbo recipe was on point. The depth of flavor was excellent, even in the limited about of time. Little touches added to the beauty of the dish. It was clear that this dish is one that resonates with her personally.

Chris’s dish, fried chicken, collard greens and a biscuit, was unapologetically simple. He created a beautiful, yet simple plate of food. From the perfectly fried chicken to the melt in your mouth biscuit, it was clear that Chris knew who he was.

Granted, this dish was something that Chris makes all the time. Whether called soul fool or heritage cuisine, the chicken and biscuits had heart. Chris showed that a dish with deep personal connection can extremely memorable for everyone. Authenticity lead him to victory.

Top Chef Colorado recap, photo provided by Bravo

The winning chef was Chris. He effectively created a delicious dish while showcasing that emotional connection. Unfortunately, other chefs didn’t achieve the same level of greatness.

Truthfully, many chefs struggled in this challenge. Still, the judges nominated three chefs for elimination. Tyler, Joe and Bruce were in the bottom. These dishes were very muddled and suffered from big technical flaws.

Tyler’s dish suffered because it was too many ideas on a single plate. Even though Tyler didn’t know or understand his heritage, he tried to combine too many concepts on a single plate. The Southern California/Swedish dish didn’t work. The concept needed some big editing.

Joe’s dish suffered from execution. While he tried to be ambitious in his dish, the pasta dish had too many flaws. From cold pasta to weak flavor, the dish needed help. Sure cooking with grandma can be a memorable experience, but that dish needs a little more for a Top Chef competition.

Bruce’s dish had a big technical issue. His lamb wasn’t cooked correctly. The dish appeared somewhat deconstructed but it really lacked coziness. A goulash dish needs to be inviting. This dish wasn’t the comforting bite that the judges sought.

Top Chef Colorado recap, photo provided by Bravo

The chef eliminated from this Top Chef Colorado episode was Tyler. This elimination shows that even one of the top competitors can have a bad day. His muddled dish was couldn’t be saved by his past success.

Looking back on the first episode, Tyler was the first elimination challenge winner. He was confident in that win and how previous Top Chef winners had won the first challenge. While chefs do need some arrogance in the kitchen, no one can stand on the laurels. No one is safe in Top Chef Colorado; the chefs need to remember that concept.