Top Chef: Little Tools, Big Challenge
December 28, 2017 7:18 PM - Season 15, Episode 4 - Subscribe

The chefs channel their inner child to make upscale versions of kid menu classics for Curtis Stone, Padma, and kids of local culinarians. But there’s a catch, they can only use child-sized cookware, utensils and mixers creating more than pint-sized problems. Then, after a visit to a food incubator assisting immigrant women, the chefs must dig deep into their roots to present dishes based on their own heritage for Immigrant food influencers, including Alon Shaya, Nilou Motamed and Mourad Lahlou. (Summary from Bravo)
posted by duffell (16 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
When Fatima announced that she'd been given goddamn grilled cheese and was making a fucking salad, I literally shouted "What is wrong with you?!" at the TV. When one of the kids said she liked it, I shouted, "WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU, KID?" But I gotta give Fatima her props, she wound up in the top 3 of the quickfire. (Yay, I like Fatima!)

Padma's new hairstyle is beautiful! I love it! Also, yay, Gregory was at the table with the judges! Gregory's hair is totally snazzy too.

I thought this episode was fantastic overall, which was a relief--the last 3 were a disappointment. I thought the chefs' talents were on full display here, and they got some great personal stories about food and family. The risk with an episode like this is that somebody is going to pour their fucking hearts out onto the plate and the judges will just tear their dish to shreds. Thankfully that didn't happen here--quite the opposite.
posted by duffell at 8:00 PM on December 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

I thought it was really interesting that the bottom 3 chefs were those who made a dish from their ancestry, but not their heritage. That's a really risky move; I have a varied ancestry but no way would I make Chinese or Russian food unless those cooking styles were already in my wheelhouse as a chef. Tyler could have avoided this, as one of the judges said, by embracing his Southern California roots and saying, yeah, we ate tons of local veggies before it was cool! This is the kinda stuff I ate growing up! There was no need to put a Swedish meatball on a plate with steak.

Personally I would probably have made a killer meatloaf (with a brown mushroom sauce, no tomato-based ketchup sauces here!), or spaghetti and meatballs - those are the foods that say family and heritage to me. My grandmother's spaghetti sauce recipe is still in the family, written in her own hand, even though she died before my dad ever met my mom. No other marinara sauce tastes quite right to me, and I'm in my 30s and have tasted a lot of pasta sauces!

Either that or I would have made my AuntFreedom's she-crab soup. Maryland represent!
posted by chainsofreedom at 5:43 PM on December 29, 2017 [1 favorite]

This was a really strong and enjoyable episode, I thought. And the main challenge was what I love in Top Chef: just make something that reflects your heritage. That’s it. No gimmicks (that, uh, was well-represented in the quickfire.)

And I would have eaten that fried chicken in a heartbeat.
posted by hijinx at 8:37 PM on December 29, 2017 [1 favorite]

Can we talk about that double LCK here? Of course, like a fool, I was somehow expecting to actually know the winner at the end, like someone who hasn't watched all 14+ seasons multiple times.

Anyway, I approve of this twist and am anxious to see how it plays out. I like all three of the competitors and would like to see them all continue, so no matter the outcome I'll be both pleased and disappointed.
posted by Superplin at 10:09 PM on December 29, 2017

Gadzooks but marcel's hair continues to baffle and confound me. What is happening there?
posted by mumblelard at 6:51 AM on December 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

(Oh yeah, I also completely dug that this episode was basically, “Hey. Immigrants are America. That's a good thing.” I'm fine with my reality cooking shows taking a stance on this. And, also, Comal is a fantastic place.)
posted by hijinx at 7:36 AM on December 30, 2017 [4 favorites]

Anyone have a biscuit recipe they like similar to Chris's?
posted by dilaudid at 1:55 PM on December 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

I enjoyed this episode too. As is often the case with these 'memories' challenges, the chefs who cooked from their hearts and souls and kept it simple came out on top. I like Chris and I'm glad he won.

I loved it in the Quickfire when the contestants were cracking up at the comments the kid judges were making. I wouldn't be surprised (this being Bravo) that there was some coaching of the kids before the tasting, but it was still funny.

As for LCK, we all know how much Tom fucking LOVES Kwame ...
posted by essexjan at 3:06 PM on December 30, 2017

Oh, I also liked how all the contestants were in the kitchen after service eating Chris's leftover biscuits. They looked like they were enjoying the hell out of themselves and hating every minute of it, because they knew that it meant they had all just lost. Like, several of them had "Ooohhhhh, this biscuit is so good, I'm so angry!!!!!" face.
posted by chainsofreedom at 10:14 AM on December 31, 2017 [2 favorites]

Is it too early to make predictions on the final three?
posted by mumblelard at 11:10 AM on December 31, 2017

Predict away! I'm not feeling confident enough to make a good prediction myself, but I'd love to hear yours.
posted by duffell at 2:30 PM on December 31, 2017

Alright, but this would be much more fun if everyone threw in their predictions for ongoing trash talking and post finale mockery.
My final three would be: Fatima (FTW), Mustache Joe (bless his heart), and Chris (Great Scott!) Scott.
And for the FanFare TopChef elimination challenge, my next three knife packers are: Tu (Duh!), Adrienne (Adrian), and Tanya (sad trombone).
posted by mumblelard at 2:56 PM on December 31, 2017

ok ok ok...

I'll throw my predictions out there too, then, though they'll probably wrong by the next episode: Chris, Adrienne, and Fatima. I think Brother and Joestache will get tantalizingly close, but no cigar. And I think when Joestache goes, it's gonna be petty AF.
posted by duffell at 5:59 AM on January 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

I also think Bruce is due to go home very soon and it's going to be an "oh how shocking" moment for the other chefs even though he's been a hot mess from Day One.
posted by duffell at 6:00 AM on January 1, 2018 [2 favorites]

I'm not going to prediuct anything because absolutely everything I've said to Mrs. conifer while watching this season has been proven wrong, usually within a minute.
posted by conifer at 6:39 AM on January 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

If Mustachijoe doesn't make it to the final three then I predict he goes down in flames during restaurant week. Either an executive chef control freak meltdown or wearing a vintage zoot suit working front of house while still trying to make an overcomplicated dish himself.
posted by mumblelard at 6:50 AM on January 1, 2018 [7 favorites]

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