Top Chef Colorado episode 9 recap: Nacho your best

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Top Chef Colorado episode 9 saw two favorite chefs pack their knives and go. Why are all the fan favorites leaving the Top Chef kitchen?

After a successful Restaurant Wars, everything seemed to be looking up for the chefs in the Top Chef kitchen. But, Top Chef Colorado episode 9 recap is quite shocking. Two fan favorite chefs were sent home. One week a chef is on top and another week that chef is packing his knives. Top Chef Colorado is more of a roller coaster than Rocky Mountain highs.

Top Chef Colorado episode 9 recap: Nacho your best, photo from Bravo

This week’s episode opens with a Sudden Death Quickfire. These challenges are sometimes more about understanding the ingredients versus being the best chef. For this Quickfire, the chefs had to incorporate edible flowers into their dish. While many people think of edible flowers as a pretty garnish, they can be quite flavorful.

While the obligatory squash blossom was used, other chefs went out of the comfort zone. Yes, chive and onion blossoms aren’t too out of the box, but these ingredients were used smartly. Or, were used smartly in most dishes.

Top Chef Colorado episode 9 recap: Nacho your best, photo from Bravo

The winning dish was Carrie’s fancy toast. While some of the other chefs scoffed at serving a Michelin star chef toast, Carrie created a flavorful, balanced dish. Using the lavender in the honey was a bold statement. This flower could have turned her dish into a perfumed mess. Instead, her dish was an example that simple, done well, can bring home a win.

Carrie seems to be on a roll. Could her initial missteps in the first couple of episodes been just a fluke? Since then, she has been on fire. Yes, her dish in the Olympic themed episode was a fail. Still, she had immunity from winning the Quickfire. Could the Colorado chef be a forgone conclusion for the finale?

Top Chef Colorado episode 9 recap: Nacho your best, photo from Bravo

Unfortunately, three chefs had to cook for their lives in the second round of the quickfire. Both Joes and Chris had a second cook to determine which chef was packing his knives. Each chef had to create a dish with cauliflower, actually cauliflower as a substitute.

Chris was safe. His dish was smart and flavorful. Unfortunately, the two Joes made dishes that produced a gag from Tom. Chicago Joe made a cauliflower risotto. While it sounded like a smart choice, the texture of the cauliflower was not right. Mustache Joe made buffalo cauliflower. Putting the cauliflower in the smoker changed the texture to something quite unpleasant. Much to everyone’s dismay, Chicago Joe was eliminated.

Last week, Chicago Joe won Restaurant Wars. He has been on the top numerous times. These Sudden Death Quickfires often have really good chefs being sent home. Truthfully, Mustache Joe should have left. Cumulatively, his dishes have been worse. Still, this elimination is based on the single dish in front of the judges. Somehow, that dish wasn’t the worst.

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With the Super Bowl this weekend, it was obvious that Top Chef Colorado would have a tailgate/football influenced episode. The remaining chefs competed in the ultimate Top Chef tailgate. The three teams of two had to create an innovative spin on classic tailgate food.

When it comes to tailgate food, football fans want good tasting, hearty, real man food. There should be no edible flowers, tweezer garnish or molecular gastronomy on these plates. The chefs definitely went that direction with their plates. But, some dishes were more successful than others.

Truthfully, all the chefs struggled with this challenge. The judges weren’t turning their noses up that the chefs were making nachos. They were miffed that the chefs weren’t making great nachos. These chefs have great pedigrees, they should be doing more, better and even great dishes. This challenge should not have been treated like a throwaway.

Top Chef Colorado episode 9 recap: Nacho your best, photo from Bravo

Not shocking, Carrie, with her teammate Chris, were the winning team. Their riff on poutine with chili was smart. It had a lot of layered flavors. There was depth to the dish and it was satisfying to eat. Too bad there wasn’t some good craft beer from a previous episode to drink with it.

For their win, both Carrie and Chris got Super Bowl tickets. Who would have thought when this season was filmed that the Eagles would be in the Super Bowl. Chris, a huge Eagles fan, gets to see his team in the big game. Either the Bravo producers are physic or they are extremely lucky.

Unfortunately, the other two teams had big issues. Bruce and Fatima made two dishes. While their idea was to have each of their flavors shine, the dishes didn’t pair well. Bruce’s steak was delicious and kept him safe. Then again, he knew the guest judge. Bruce knows everyone. Could this situation be an advantage to keep him in the competition?

Top Chef Colorado episode 9 recap: Nacho your best, photo from Bravo

Fatima’s nachos had one big failure point. The nachos were soggy. No one wants to each nachos with a fork, especially at a tailgate. While substituting lentils for beans was smart, the whole dish was amiss. The chicken was flavorful, but everyone wanted something more.

The other team of Adrienne and Mustache Joe had issues, too. What could have been the big downfall, the ribs, weren’t bad. Given the limited timeframe, the ribs were relatively tender. Who would have guess that the ribs wouldn’t have sent Adrienne home.

Top Chef Colorado episode 9 recap: Nacho your best, photo from Bravo

One of the biggest problems with this team’s dish was the friend mac n’ cheese bite. It was soggy and bland. Who wants a flavorless lump of fried cheese/pasta? Mustache Joe is definitely off his game. The whole dish was a heavy, upon heavy bowl of food. Maybe if this challenge was in the Frozen Tundra of Green Bay the dense dish would be better. Still, this dish was a miss.

In another shocking surprise, Fatima was sent home for her nachos. She never seemed to find her stride in the competition. Like other fans, it would have been great for her to showcase more mid-eastern flavors. The robust spices never seemed pungent enough.

As Top Chef Colorado episode 9 recap comes to a close, can fans guess which chefs will be in the finale? Is it a forgone conclusion that Bruce and Carrie will be in the finale? Can Chris pull an upset? What do you think?