Last week’s episode in one sentence: The blizzard hit in the middle of the recap—Ripple‘s Marjorie Meek-Bradley won for a killer halibut dish while Shaw Bijou‘s Kwame Onwuachi barely escaped the axe after channeling some unpleasant memories of growing up.
This week’s episode in two paragraphs: First up, a Quickfire challenge that was pure food porn. The cheftestants had 30 minutes to make an appealing looking plate out of junk food for Instagram, a la Chef Jacques Lamerde, the alias of Christine Flynn, the executive chef at Toronto’s iQ Food. The winner (later revealed to be Karen Akunowicz) would be the dish with the most likes in 24 hours on Instagram.
In the Elimination Challenge, teams of three had to serve a couple of hundred diners at Beefsteak, a charity fundraiser that harkened back to earlier, more manly times apparently, when tables full of food were filled and men would eat without the benefit of utensils or plates. Unsurprisingly, almost every chef overthought the challenge and did something dainty when what the judges wanted was hunks of meat that could be ripped at the table. Man-bun owner Phillip Lee made the only dish with bones on it—lollypops of lamb—and won. San Diego’s Chad White was sent packing for an ahi tuna dish that really didn’t fit the event.
D.C. Performances: Onwuachi was in the middle of the pack with peel-and-eat shrimp that were unevenly cooked. Meanwhile, MM-B was in the bottom group but was universally praised by the judges. It says a lot when you can escape elimination by making vegetables and milk bread rolls for a bacchanal. Those rolls are supposed to be on the menu of MM-B’s forthcoming pastrami restaurant, Smoked & Stacked.
D.C. Wins: Quickfires, zero. Elimination challenges, four (Meek-Bradley, 2; Onwuachi, 2). Last Chance Kitchens, two (Garret Fleming).
Confidence Rating (out of 10): 7. Onwuachi is looking much less formidable. Is he this year’s Jen Carroll, the supremely talented chef who can’t get out of his own head? Meek-Bradley, however, looks pretty great every time she bakes something. Could she overcome the longstanding Top Chef curse against baked goods? Maybe.