Top Chef: Stumptown USA
May 10, 2021 9:20 AM - Season 18, Episode 6 - Subscribe

The chefs are transported into a magical kitchen forest with their prep tables gone and replaced by stumps for this week’s Quickfire Challenge where they must make a dish featuring Tom’s favorite ingredient – mushrooms. Then in the Elimination Challenge, the cheftestants will be paired up to create a surf & turf dish featuring local fish and game for members of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla. But first they’ll get to learn and taste some of the initial foods of the area. With a double elimination on the line, Dale Talde joins the judges’ table.
posted by everybody had matching towels (9 comments total)
Submitted a request to add Last Chance Kitchen as a new show - I don't know if anyone has strong feelings about LCK being spoilers so erring on the side of caution there.

Despite there being three teams in the bottom, it seemed pretty obvious who was going home. Poor Nelson. I hope his knee is okay.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 9:27 AM on May 10, 2021 [1 favorite]

We had smelt a lot growing up, as it was an inexpensive fish. I didn't even know it had a flavor, beyond "greasy." So go team S!
posted by praemunire at 10:37 AM on May 10, 2021 [1 favorite]

Gabriel seemed like he really expected to go farther in the competition. It was interesting though watching Sara and Shota crush it, they've both been super strong, so not surprised they won (minus the black dog at the drive in).
posted by Carillon at 10:49 AM on May 10, 2021

Gabriel sorta got the villain edit so far, overriding a few female chefs on team challenges with decisions that didn’t go well. Laughed when he was like, I grew up here and have been a chef here my whole life and... had no idea about any of the Indigenous foods / tribes.

I’ve really been enjoying the lack of assholes, so far, although as someone mentioned last ep Gabe is a bit of a milkshake duck.
posted by sixswitch at 11:42 AM on May 10, 2021

I wonder if they have someone new designing challenges this season. While their heart has definitely been in the right place, and I appreciate that pandemic restrictions really blew up some of their cherished formats (are we even going to get Restaurant Wars this year?), some of the main challenges have already been of a more silly and arbitrary nature, such that they felt more appropriate for Quickfires. Cooking with indigenous foods, after taking instruction from indigenous experts = great idea. "Surf and turf" combining foods that just aren't ever combined = not so great. There's a fine line between a challenge hard enough to sort the contestants and one where it doesn't seem like the show itself knew what winning solutions might look like. Admittedly, strong contestants won this one (and the judges indicated that everyone did a good job), but I wonder.
posted by praemunire at 12:37 PM on May 10, 2021

I enjoyed this challenge, learning about ingredients I'd never heard of before. I was very happy to see Sara and Shota win, particularly as Shota specifically sought out Sara for the challenge because he wanted to work with smelt. Gabriel was clearly stunned to be eliminated and I'm sure he blamed Nelson entirely.
posted by essexjan at 1:01 PM on May 10, 2021

I thought this was a really cool challenge! I am so curious about the taste of duck potatoes.

I had been assuming Nelson would be next to go. Not gonna miss Gabriel. His sign off about how he was going to come back and kick their asses was so annoying.

There were multiple moments where it was clear that Dawn doesn't like Gabriel but I appreciate that they don't try to play up that type of drama.
posted by Emmy Rae at 1:53 PM on May 10, 2021 [1 favorite]

Just about every eliminated contestant so far this season has said “thank you for the opportunity”. Gabriel said… nothing
posted by sixswitch at 2:34 PM on May 10, 2021 [2 favorites]

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