Top Chef Season 21 episode 7 recap: Off to the sausage races

Top Chef Season 21 episode 7 sausage races
Top Chef Season 21 episode 7 sausage races / Bravo

After capturing the chaos on the plate, Top Chef Season 21 episode 7 had the cheftestants ready to swing for the fences. Stepping into a legendary Milwaukee location, everyone was eager to win the sausage races and the outcome came down to the final inning.

Top Chef Wisconsin has done an excellent job of highlighting iconic locales and historic complexities of the state. While everyone assumed that there would be a lot of dairy and cheese throughout the season, sports are an integral part of the state’s culture. Even though the filming period might not have allowed a trip to the Frozen Tundra in Green Bay, another sporting classic was the focus of this episode.

For the Top Chef Season 21 episode 7 Quickfire, the cheftestants had to flambe a dish. While there were few parameters for the challenge, everyone wanted to win the cash prize. The flames definitely brought the heated competition to a head.

Given that Top Chef Wisconsin added prize money, not safety, to the Quickfire Challenges, the creativity in these rounds have been impressive. In some ways, the monetary connection seems to have more value than safety. For the Top Chef fan, the new competition element has brought more excitement to the beginning of each episode.

After announcing the top three dishes, Danny’s smoky aguachile, Kevin’s shrimp flambe au pastis, and Amand’s baked Hawaii, another twist was thrown at the chefs. Those three cheftestants had to cook another round to earn the win, and the prize money was doubled to $20,000.

For the second part of the Quickfire, the three cheftestants had to create a charred dish. While the flambe component required a deft hand, the char flavor needed keen execution. There is a fine line between a lovely earthy, char note and a burnt, acidic flavor.

The three dishes were quite different. Everyone watched in awe as Kevin expertly broke down a squab and prepared a lovely plate of juxtaposed flavors. From the charred squab to the green curry yogurt sauce, the contrasts were impressive.

Amanda went with a lamb chop (although it seemed that she originally thought it was a pork chop). The charred corn relish brought a nice contrast of sweet yet earthy.

Lastly, Danny made a charred branzino with a charred poblano and avocado. The fish was perfection and the slight spice with the creamy avocado was a celebration of textures and flavors.

Danny won the $20,000 Quickfire prize in Top Chef Season 21 episode 7. He seems to be hitting his stride at this point in the competition.

While the Quickfire had the cheftestants moving carefully around the flames, the Elimination Challenge had everyone ready to race to a win. Although immunity is off the table going forward, no one wants to be sent to Last Chance Kitchen.

Top Chef Season 21 episode 7
Top Chef Season 21 episode 7 judges table / Bravo

Using the iconic Milwaukee Brewers Sausage Races as inspiration, the cheftestants had to create dishes using the five sausages that run the bases during the baseball games. After drawing knives to separate into teams, the tensions were a little high. Given that Danny and Laura had some clashes over the food budget on a previous team challenge, there was more careful planning in this shopping trip.

While the sausages raced to determine the food progression, the outcome seemed to work well. After all, starting with the hot dog is always a good idea.

Overall, the head to head challenges were tough. There were only two scenarios where one chef trounced the other one. For example, Michelle, who struggled in the Chaos Challenge, rebounded with a flurry in this challenge.

In battle Polish sausage, Michelle wowed the panel with her etouffee. The sausage flavor was woven into every element. It was hearty, comforting, and a great way to use the sausage.

Even though Savannah’s pierogi was good, it was not as sausage forward. A great dish that does not follow the brief is not going to beat a dish that nails the challenge concept.

Another big win came during the battle between Kaleena and Kevin. Top Chef fans know that risotto can be the kiss of death on the show. Although Kevin nailed his risotto, the dish was more about cheese than Italian sausage. Again, he did not follow the brief.

Kaleena’s potato gnocchi with Italian sausage and Calabrian chili ragù wowed the judges. It had a great depth of flavor and the panel was quite impressed.

Overall, the other battles were quite close. Soo just overtook Danny with his take on a Korean Hot Dog. Manny’s chorizo dish edged out Laura’s chorizo kebab.

The team winning decision came down to Dan’s traditional brat on top of a potato pancake versus Amanda’s rye spaetzle with a mustard sauce. Although both dishes were safe, Amanda’s plate had a little more creativity and earned her team the win.

Although there was not necessarily a prize for being the MVP of the Elimination Challenge, Michelle earned that honor. The judges appreciated how she was able to bring her Southern flare to the sausage challenge. Going back to the statement made several episodes prior, Michelle captured that “you be you” mantra that the judges want to see.

Unfortunately, the three bottom chefs were Dan, Kevin, and Savannah. Given that the judges’ loved Savannah’s dish, even though it was not sausage forward, it was an impressive, delicious dish. She was not going home.

Dan’s dish was uninspired. Even though he is the only Wisconsin chef in the competition, he missed this challenge completely. In some ways, he should have nailed this idea since brats are a classic state food. The dish was not bad, it was just blah.

Kevin missed the mark because his dish was about cheese, not sausage. While he can take solace in nailing the risotto, he forgot about the main part of the challenge, the sausage. Since he did not follow the challenge’s brief, Kevin was sent home.

What is next for Top Chef Season 21 episode 8? It is time for Restaurant Wars. Will this classic challenge cause a shake-up in the competition? Be sure to watch new episodes every Wednesday night at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Bravo. Episodes can be streamed the next day on Peacock.