Top Chef: Cabin Fever
May 15, 2020 7:59 AM - Season 17, Episode 9 - Subscribe

The chefs head to the mountains outside of Los Angeles to go to a summer camp where they are challenged to an outdoor grilling Quickfire for Padma and "Top Chef" Kentucky winner Kelsey Barnard Clark.

This elimination's been coming for a while, but boy I was hoping it'd be Malarkey instead.

"No time to go shopping! But time to take Sharpies and black out all the brand names on the products on the shelves!"
posted by praemunire (10 comments total)
 
Ah Lee Anne. Sorry to see her go, been a fan since Season 1. But it became clear over the last few challenges that she just wasn't up for it, too many mental errors. At least she got the quickfire win on the way out the door.

This was a weird challenge to have right after Restaurant Wars, but I guess it was supposed to be a Mother's Day thing?

My money is now on Kevin to come back in, and win the whole thing.
posted by Frayed Knot at 12:11 PM on May 15


Lee Anne leaving to the surprise of no one. I was worried for Melissa when she just passively took the scraps leaving her with that failed salad.
posted by xtine at 2:19 PM on May 15 [1 favorite]


I was worried for Melissa, then excited that Malarkey might leave, and then Lee Anne bombed both of her dishes. Every time she comes back I always think she'll have a leg up having worked behind the scenes for a few years. Was not to be. At least she got to hear nice stuff from Randall Park about her restaurant.

LCK: Kevin's French omelet looked bad to my eyes, much more like a mottled diner trifold that a homogenous cigar-shape, but I guess Tom knew what he wanted. Unless there's a surprise elimination of a Quickfire beast like Gregory or Melissa, Kevin might be on easy street to make it back in, though I feel like Tom keeps teasing "just one more" or maybe "just one more after the next one". Melissa, Kevin, and Gregory would seem to be the frontrunners.
posted by supercres at 3:27 PM on May 15


I knew it was coming but I at least hoped she'd outlast Malarkey. Again, petty person...

I'm glad Melissa stayed. I never liked challenges like this. Except maybe when the food was in blocks of ice last season as it was fairly entertaining. I'm a sensitive weirdo though and don't like unfairness.
posted by kanata at 7:53 AM on May 16


Whew
posted by tofu_crouton at 2:19 PM on May 16 [1 favorite]


kanata, you can come be petty right by me. That's all I really wanted from that subplot of the show.

Yeah, I don't like challenges where the burden of the challenge falls unequally on the competitors for reasons not having to do with their varied skills and experience. The thought that the clearly insanely talented Melissa might have gone home because she wasn't inclined to shout and push for her share of the "sketchy" provisions is ridiculous.
posted by praemunire at 2:36 PM on May 16 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I don't like challenges where the burden of the challenge falls unequally on the competitors for reasons not having to do with their varied skills and experience.

Exactly this. I'm no fan of Malarkey, but they didn't leave him a space on the line, ffs. Oh shocker, the person who got no food and the person who got no cooking space are in the bottom!
posted by donnagirl at 6:06 AM on May 17 [1 favorite]


I was surprised Kelsey was making a guest appearance already. It makes me worried about how her post-win business is going.

I spent the whole episode being pre-emptively furious that they might send Melissa home.

Melissa & Karen: "I'm going to try to plan for a cohesive meal"
Everyone else: "gimme the good stuff!"

We were laughing that in their sparse pantry they had gruyere.

This is partly just because I'm already annoyed that Voltaggio is on his little vacation here, spending the whole time shocked he isn't just walking away with the whole thing ("I thought Kevin and I would be battling it to the end"), but man I hate it when he wins, too. He used the best ingredients, had a good spot, as far as I can tell made no compromises, and then continually makes the exact same food he made from the very beginning and even to his last season on the show. He's good at what he does. He is not changing and developing. Go home, Bryan, you're boring.
posted by Emmy Rae at 6:44 AM on May 17


I can't say I agree about Mel or Marlarkey.

No one told or required Melissa to make a salad, that was completely up to her. And once she saw there were no indgidents, it was again her very bad decision to stick with it. Tom said it well (tho maybe it was in LCK?) -- she got stuck on an idea, and refused to change.

And Malarkey got screwed, to be sure but by the other contestants, not the rules. He asked for a meeting about service, and instead everyone just went and did their own things without anyone saying so. He was clearly (and justifiably) pissed at them, as we saw after service when they were all sitting around the fire. And he was in front of the judges cuz he served overcooked, watered-down shrimp and grits, not because of how he served it.

Both deserved to be in the bottom. I was *terrified* that Melissa was going to be eliminated. Of those left, she's my personal favorite, and I'm rooting for her. But she really REALLY blew it on this one.
posted by Frayed Knot at 11:58 AM on May 17


I'm already annoyed that Voltaggio is on his little vacation here, spending the whole time shocked he isn't just walking away with the whole thing

Bryan V. had clearly decided that his approach to the early-round challenges, and especially Quickfires, will be to make a recipe he has handy and is very comfortable with that has even the vaguest connection to the challenge, confident that the food will always be good/sophisticated enough to keep him around (over people taking risks that don't pan out or screwing up trying to meet the actual challenge) even if he's being chided for not paying attention to the challenge parameters. I bet we're about to see a shift in strategy (and narrative); this episode was practically a chord change or drum roll. Obviously this strategy only works if you have enough experience and skill to routinely turn out good enough food, but it's still irritating.

Even with that approach, I don't think TC is much of a vacation for anyone. Bryan V. and several others are looking kinda ragged.
posted by praemunire at 12:25 PM on May 17


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