Top Chef: Hands Off
April 29, 2023 10:26 PM - Season 20, Episode 7 - Subscribe

This week's guest judge is the food rebel Gaggan Anand. After a quickfire inspired by emoji, the teams eat a dish, 'Rainbow World', prepared for them by Gaggan involving licking a plate that is covered in geographic goo. The elimination challenge? Prepare a dish that is visually stunning, sends a message, and... can be eaten without utensils.

The emojis for the quickfire:
Of note, VIctoire picks last after the herd thunders in, and picks sushi - and does poorly with a fish-and-rice dish. Ali picks the four leaf clover, interpreting it as a 'green leaf' and making a fresh salad. The winner? Buddha, who uses cold-face to make a frozen dessert.

The elimination challenge inspires the chefs a lot; the top three are Ali (a vegan kibbeh raising the climate concern over beef), Charbel (a sauce-and-bread evoking the spirit and flag of Lebanon) and Amar (a cross-cultural Thai salad), with Ali taking it home.

On the down side was Dale (a Can-Mex mole with a flabby chicken), Victoire (a tribute to the starchy roots of Africa that lost flavour), Tom (a melting, goopy pumpkin mousse). In the end, Dale goes back to Last Chance Kitchen.
posted by Superilla (6 comments total)
This was an interesting one. Victories seems really spotty, sometimes doing amazing stuff and then sometimes just getting on her face. It's interesting, and I hope she figures it out sooner so she stays longer! Ali interpreting the clover as green leaf is funny as it undermines the stated message that emojis are universal. Either they are and his interpretation is valid, or they're not and you need to explain them. Also Dales message was pretty basic on the elimination? You need to try other cultures food so you can make bad versions of it doesn't seem that inspired.
posted by Carillon at 12:01 AM on April 30, 2023 [2 favorites]

Happy to see Dale go! He’s a chump.
posted by sixswitch at 6:10 AM on April 30, 2023 [2 favorites]

We ate at Gaggan in Bangkok. The entire bill of fare was emoji. There was a dish called Lick It Up, and when they served it they brought a boombox to the table and played the song of the same name by Kiss.

It was an amazing meal and dining experience!
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 11:56 AM on April 30, 2023 [3 favorites]

I liked both challenges - enough structure to guide the chefs but enough room to play. I liked that the emoji had plenty of extra alternatives, so that even Victoire had a few to choose from (no idea why she chose a food she wasn't familiar with rather than something like 🌈 that provided a lot of room for inventiveness). Didn't like that they seemed to dock Ali for missing the symbolism of the πŸ€; I thought his dish fit his understanding of the emoji. Emoji are one of the clearest things to me that cultural interpretation is relative - especially earlier in the emoji days when there were a bunch of Japanese things 🍑🎏🎎🈚🏩 that I had no real idea about and no corresponding western ones.

And nice that both challenges tied in with the guest, who also seemed to be someone the chefs were very into. It's always cool when the chefs get to try someone's dish as an inspiration.

I was worried about the overloaded main challenge - in theory there are three criteria (message, utensil free, beautiful) but in practice the third is part of the typical judging rubric anyway and the first was kind of ignored, which is fine to me. Dale was a fine choice to go home; I want Victoire to get a little more steady.
posted by Superilla at 3:54 PM on April 30, 2023 [1 favorite]

I hate how Dale talks as if he's doing Mexico a favor by liking one (1, One) Mexican dish. No one is waiting around for your opinion, Dale!
posted by tofu_crouton at 4:10 PM on April 30, 2023 [3 favorites]

I didn't like the quickfire. They were so quick to tell Ali he was "wrong" about his interpretation. Then, the winner was so straightforward - a frozen skull? It didn't really seem creative, just transcribing the emoji to food. But Buddha is getting on my nerves so maybe I was predisposed to be annoyed with him. Enough with the moulds already!

Main challenge: I thought Charbel would take it with his amazing flag. Lots of cool dishes here.
posted by Emmy Rae at 5:18 PM on May 8, 2023

« Older Movie: Are You There God? It's...   |  Lost: Special... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments