Top Chef: Shellfishly Delicious
June 25, 2021 5:16 AM - Season 18, Episode 13 - Subscribe

The remaining chefs get an early wake-up call from Padma to go meet guest judge Brooke Williamson and dig for clams for their Quickfire Challenge. In the Elimination Challenge, the chefs honor the area where James Beard spent his summers, creating both a hot dish and a cold dish with one of his favorite ingredients, Dungeness Crab. Kwame Onwuachi and Nina Compton serve as guest judges this week to help determine which chefs will move on to the finale.

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posted by everybody had matching towels (6 comments total)
So Gabe makes a hot dish for his cold dish and leaves one of his plates incomplete on the hot dish (which, it seemed, a lot of the judges thought highlighted sunchoke more than crab) and yet he still gets to stay?

I knew they'd pull that bullshit at the end, but at least Dawn is still in with a chance.
posted by essexjan at 6:00 AM on June 25, 2021 [3 favorites]

Yes, I was really hoping his technical failures would bounce him. Just give it to Shota. (A surprise Dawn win would be perfectly acceptable, mind you, but it doesn't look good.)
posted by praemunire at 9:01 AM on June 25, 2021

Either Dawn and Gabe really were that close or they always planned this. It's so hard to tell with the editing (and ofc the not-tasting). Gabe and Shota have been absolute powerhouses in elimination challenges*; I think some of that carries over into choosing finale format (final 2 or final 3), if not selection for the finale. Hopefully Shota's dominant performance will put him in good place for the finale; my guess is that he'll be able to pick his sous.

* Gabe and Shota had 3 and 4 elim wins, 3 and 5 additional times in the top, only 2 and 1 weeks in the bottom, respectively. Shota's bottom was for that corn dog. Sara was the only other person to win more than one elimination challenge.

I really liked Top Chef Canada's finale format of letting 4 people serve half of their finale meal and then axing two of them to serve as sous for the final two.

I went to Shota's Taku over the weekend. Bonkers good. Should've gotten the Jello shots and the "Fuck It" bucket but had some drinks and vegetables down the street as an amuse and ended up getting a smaller plate.
posted by supercres at 3:55 PM on June 25, 2021 [3 favorites]

To clarify: I think it's entirely possible that the producers told the judges, "We want at least Gabe and Shota in the finale. It's either the two of them or all three." Or maybe that was the judges' bias going in. It doesn't feel defensible now in hindsight of Gabe's firing, but I can understand how that production decision could get made at the time.
posted by supercres at 4:06 PM on June 25, 2021

It's pretty common to advance one "extra" contestant when it's close. In this case, with both Dawn and Gabe having made technical errors, maybe they felt it would be most fair.
posted by praemunire at 4:47 PM on June 25, 2021 [1 favorite]

Shota's cooking these last two weeks has been just phenomenal. The cheese dashi last week was bonkers-creative. The sushi this week was gorgeous; shame he didn't complete the other piece, but the one he did was masterful. And that daikon dish, good heavens, wow.

I like Dawn a lot too but I want Shota to win. There, I said it.

It was nice for them to honor James Beard's legacy and it reminded me of a shameful bit of my alma mater's history; Reed College expelled James Beard in the early 1920s for being gay.
posted by Nelson at 5:41 PM on July 1, 2021

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