Top Chef: This Is Not Glamping
January 5, 2018 4:46 PM - Season 15, Episode 5 - Subscribe

In a competition first, Tom surprises the chefs with a twist that changes the game. After the shock wears off, the chefs are sent camping to make a 5-star meal outdoors, only to learn an unexpected storm welcomes them with a fresh blanket of snow forcing them to pull out every trick in their playbooks. With only a few heat sources and limited local ingredients, the chefs must get resourceful if they want to remain in the running. Chef Naomi Pomeroy joins the judges in the beautiful but chilly Colorado Mountains. (Summary from Bravo)
posted by duffell (11 comments total)
I could've seen any of the top 3 winning that challenge, really, but I was still a little surprised that it went to Bruce over the other two. Personally, I was pulling for Carrie... for sentimental reasons. Early on in my courtship with my wife, when we were living in rural Malawi, she baked me a birthday cake over a goddamned fire. To this day, that is the best freaking cake I have ever eaten.

Poor Tu. I mean, it was clearly his time, but he's a real mensch and I'm sorry to see him leave. This show's always better when there are nice people in the kitchen!
posted by duffell at 4:51 PM on January 5 [2 favorites]

I really wish Top Chef was more like Last Chance Kitchen at this point. I just want to see them cook and be creative with food and I know that there have always been challenges like this one and the food truck one but there just seems to be so much focus on putting them in shitty situations and having them make food vs "here is a crazy method/ingredient/other challenging thing that you have to work with or make but you can still use an actual kitchen." This is starting to feel like Cutthroat Kitchen or something instead of just letting chefs be chefs and rise to a food challenge.
posted by primalux at 5:56 PM on January 5 [1 favorite]

That’s true, but all night smoking and stuff like that is what I see in the same vein as this one. I felt the ep was fine overall, not great, but genuinely did like seeing two chefs come back. It was the rare reality show twist I didn’t see coming!
posted by hijinx at 9:03 PM on January 5

I thought Carrie made the classic mistake of fighting the challenge vs. embracing the constraints of the challenge. She did a great job of rolling with the punches like the lack of a dutch oven and wound up in the final three, but it was not a smart strategy.

In a great meta moment, Lee Anne, who was the culinary producer on the show for four years, critiqued the Ingredient 3 ways strategy that Tu used. Even if one way is the best, even if two of the ways are very good, if the third way isn't good, that is what the judges will remember. Ingredient 3 ways is a demonstration of culinary mastery and technique under controlled conditions, but on Top Chef it is usually a demonstration of insecurity or indecision. Pick one way and make it the best.
posted by mumblelard at 5:55 AM on January 6 [1 favorite]

I also noticed that they never mention her career as a producer on the show when they mention Leann.
posted by tofu_crouton at 9:04 AM on January 6 [1 favorite]

That’s bananas.
posted by hijinx at 11:54 AM on January 6

IIRC--and I guess it's been 10+ years now?--"three ways" used to be a much more common tactic on the show. I think its fall from favor is at least as much a result of its fall from favor in ambitious restaurants as of tactics.
posted by praemunire at 12:30 PM on January 6 [1 favorite]

Poor Lee Anne: after the stress of LCK, before she even gets to settle into her victorious return, she has to hike through knee-deep snow, pitch a tent, construct a makeshift cooking station, and work in the dark/plus all the next day to knock out a fine-dining dish. At high altitude. While 40-ish and pregnant.

And she nailed it! That woman is a beast. I'm sure all the other contestants are scared to death of her. I would be.
posted by Superplin at 3:11 PM on January 6 [3 favorites]

I'm sure the editing has a lot to do with it but I'm already tired of being told in every single sentence uttered by her or about her that Leann is pregnant.
posted by conifer at 11:26 AM on January 9 [2 favorites]

So what happens now with LCK? I checked on the website last night but there wasn't a new episode. Do they bring in 4 new veterans and start over? I think that might be cool . . .
posted by chainsofreedom at 1:18 PM on January 12

chainsofreedom - There's a new LCK up today. I watched it earlier. It's regular-style, no new veterans this time.
posted by primalux at 5:22 PM on January 12

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