Top Chef: Tournament of Tofu
June 4, 2021 5:45 AM - Season 18, Episode 10 - Subscribe

Tom, Gail and Richard Blais join Padma for the Quickfire Challenge where the chefs must go head-to-head to satisfy the judges’ cravings with a dish featuring Chipotle’s 53 real ingredients. Then, Ed Lee enters the Top Chef kitchen and tells the chefs they will be competing tournament style for the Elimination Challenge. The chefs duke it out at the Portland Japanese Gardens, where they must create dishes featuring various textures of tofu. In this multi-round battle, the chefs will go head-to-head to earn their spots in the competition, and the losing chef will be eliminated on the spot.

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posted by everybody had matching towels (9 comments total)
Did this episode....not have a winner? Or did it have three winners?
posted by everybody had matching towels at 5:46 AM on June 4, 2021 [1 favorite]

This season, man. There’s just such different energy from covidtimes. The way Maria and Byron helped out Dawn after her mandoline accident, the all-stars in the bubble / on the panel...
posted by sixswitch at 8:56 AM on June 4, 2021 [2 favorites]

I was worried Maria was gonna spin out after losing twice to Shota, but she didn't! I'm gonna miss Byron but it seems like it was his time. Now I'm not really sure who's next to go home. I hope it's missing-stair Gabe, but he seems to be cooking well sadly.

Anyone else bummed by the LCK final?
posted by Carillon at 1:29 PM on June 4, 2021

i also really really appreciated that they threw tofu at a bunch of chefs who dont cook with or eat it regularly and not one of them said anythign stupid or crude about it? i mean maybe the editors just did them all a favor but that alone feels emblematic of the change in tone and general "softness" (i mean this in a good way) of this set of competitors.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 1:33 PM on June 4, 2021 [4 favorites]

LCK final was sort of anticlimactic (and I’d have preferred seeing more from Sara than Byron anyway) but they did that “defend your turf” thing last season, it’s just that Kevin Gillespie made it past the gauntlet. It’s weird that it seemed much easier for Jamie to make it back in the first reentry than this was.

Glad that Dawn’s injury didn’t doom her, but thought it was a little strange that they summarily dismissed what sounded like a pretty good dish from consideration.

Shota is very fun to watch, hope he makes it to the finale.
posted by supercres at 3:55 PM on June 4, 2021 [1 favorite]

thought it was a little strange that they summarily dismissed what sounded like a pretty good dish from consideration

If you don't finish plating all the servings for the judges, you're ineligible to win (though you don't automatically lose). Since there were only three and the bottom two were to do the last round, she was automatically in the last round.

Losing Dawn to an injury would've been very depressing.

Sara losing to Byron was!

I love seeing a chef specializing in a non-"classic Western fancy restaurant" cuisine, like Eric from a couple of seasons ago, doing well, but has Maria ever cooked a non-Mexican/Mexican-fusion dish on the show?
posted by praemunire at 7:17 PM on June 5, 2021 [1 favorite]

It's funny because what I remember about Ed Lee was that in an early episode in his season, he cuts himself and continues working with his good hand while the poor medic tries to get his profusely bleeding hand fixed up.

I felt bad for Byron. It was his time but when everyone else was so equal and then he was just way below, it was depressing. I liked his send off to the judges and his fellow contestants.

Maria probably should branch out but I want her to win anyway because I like her so much.

The longer this season goes on the more I like Dale as a judge. They can go ahead and replace all the Richard Blais appearances with Dale imo.

What was the dress code for that event at the Japanese garden?! Everyone's outfit was W I L D
posted by Emmy Rae at 7:37 PM on June 6, 2021 [1 favorite]

I've been to that garden. It's very pretty! But, yes, no idea what they were going for with the clothing. It looked like maybe Padma's outfit was Native American beadwork; perhaps the tribal elders they cooked for earlier in the season gave it to her and she wanted to wear it on-screen? (Apologies if I'm wrong about the style.) Kwame was clearly making a bid for attention.
posted by praemunire at 10:13 PM on June 6, 2021 [1 favorite]

I’m very glad Dawn didn’t get out essentially for slicing her finger, but I am so sad about Sara in LCK. I’m glad she got some confidence in her weird food, though, and it doesn’t seem like she was totally devastated.

I totally agree that about missing-stair Gabe, I have been rooting against him from the beginning and I’m not sure why. Everyone else seems kinda bonded and friendly and I’m not sure why he’s just…not.
posted by charmedimsure at 11:36 PM on June 6, 2021 [2 favorites]

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