Thursday’s Top Chef All Stars LA was a family affair, as the cheftestants were not only surprised by the arrival of loved ones, but also by the news that these friends and family members would be playing a part in the competition.
For us, episode 5 of Top Chef All Stars LA represented everything that continues to make the show the gold standard for cooking competition programming. Like Kentucky Fried Chicken’s secret recipe of 11 herbs and spices, Top Chef’s magic elixir remains elusive to others.
In a fun, interesting twist, the chefs entered Top Chef kitchen for the Quickfire Challenge only to find nothing more than cell phones awaiting them. On the other end of those phones were loved ones, whose responsibility it would be to describe in great detail the dishes they were eating at Guest Judge Nancy Silverton’s Osteria Mozza. With only those verbal cues to work with, the chefs set out to recreate what their friends and family were eating.
Cooking for both immunity and a $10,000 prize, the chefs played culinary telephone by attempting to replicate one of three dishes:
PORK DISH: Pork chop with prosciutto braised beans, charred radicchio & fennel fronds
FISH DISH: Yellowtail collars with fingerling potatoes, Calabrian chili sauce & cilantro salsa verde
STEAK DISH: Hanger steak marinated in balsamic vinegar with arugula salad, parmigiano reggiano
Upon finishing their respective dishes, each chef’s loved one texted a photo of what they were served at Osteria Mozza, leaving us pretty impressed at the results. Actually, blown away is more like it, as most everyone rocked the challenge.
Not only was this one of the more enjoyable QC’s we’ve seen on Top Chef, but adding unexpected layers through the contributions of loved ones was a nice bonus. Whether it was Jen’s sister Jessica including “one fork and one wine glass” to the description of her dish or Lee Anne’s mom going radio silent for a bit because she was too busy polishing off hers, there was no shortage of fun throughout the challenge.
OUTCOME: As impressed as Nancy Silverton was with the chefs, she identified Melissa, Lee Anne, and Kevin as being her favorite renditions before awarding immunity and $10,000 to Kevin. And despite cooking the wrong protein altogether, Bryan also earned praise from the guest judge.