Top Chef: Lay It All on the Table
May 30, 2024 11:05 AM - Season 21, Episode 11 - Subscribe

A familiar face returns to the competition from “Last Chance Kitchen.” In this week’s Quickfire challenge, the chefs must put their detective skills to work when Tom cooks up a dish that Kristen and Gail couldn’t resist and left little on the plate after tasting it. The chefs ask Tom a series of yes and no questions to determine what ingredients they need to recreate the dish. For the Elimination Challenge, the chefs leave it all on the table when they’re tasked with serving their creations directly on a tabletop to Kristen, Tom, Gail, and guest judge and two Michelin star chef Curtis Duffy.
posted by Frayed Knot (12 comments total)
Can not BELIEVE Manny didn't go home! His ability to be just-above-the-worst week after week after week is something else.

Loved the Quickfire this week, what a great concept. Hope that makes it into the permanent rotation.

So who y'all got for top 3 at this point? Danny seems like a sure thing. I'm rooting for Dan and Savannah, but Laura sure nailed the challenge this week, and had a strong showing in LCK.
posted by Frayed Knot at 11:08 AM on May 30

Manny has been consistently low (almost half the main challenges he’s been in the bottom) but Michelle missed the mark hard. Like, it seemed not even close on this challenge, and that’s the game on TC. A bummer since I think she could have had an interesting finale.

Danny, Dan, and Savannah seem like the obvious picks for the last 3 but it doesn’t take much to turn the standings upside down.
posted by supercres at 1:15 PM on May 30

I can see this challenge being either someones dream or nightmare, and I think that played out in the actual results. Michelle just felt lost, and Manny gets to live another day. I worry that Savannah peaked the last few weeks, but the hand cut and mid showing this week are going to get her knocked outo before the finale.
posted by Carillon at 1:19 PM on May 30

Okay so nobody has talked about the real shocker — Manny’s girlfriend!
posted by sixswitch at 6:19 PM on May 30 [1 favorite]

Hopefully she gets along with Kevin.
posted by sixswitch at 6:20 PM on May 30 [1 favorite]

Sixswitch, I was also shocked! I had basically convinced myself Manny was gay. Shows what I know!

I thought the Quickfire was funand interesting. In the elimination, I thought Michelle made the classic mistske of not having confidence in her food—she ran away from what she does best, and that was her downfall. I’d love to see her come back in a few seasons with 100x the confidence in her vision and her flavors and just kill it, like Melissa did.
posted by epj at 8:34 AM on May 31

It seemed like Michelle maybe got distracted by the "artsy" things other people were doing and somehow felt she had to do that too, despite being totally uncomfortable with it. And she missed a big chance! She's a BBQ pit master, right? She coulda just loaded up a table with a couple slabs of ribs and an assortment of sides!
posted by dnash at 12:41 PM on May 31

Man, I love Michelle. In the first half of this episode, Manny looked exhausted and mentally done with the competition. I really thought he'd be going home.

Laura's tablescape looked so good, and I would love to try one of Dan's puffins.
posted by gladly at 6:31 PM on May 31

The look that they showed Danny giving Laura when she stepped back into line was chef’s kiss. He hasn’t forgotten how she hosed him with her over-purchasing and leaving him with scraps for that earlier team challenge.

It is a travesty that Manny has skated this far, but Michelle really did go way off the rails there.

Laura’s dessert table looked fantastic. Buddha’s table on Dish with Kish did, too. I hope cheftestants in future seasons will be doing a little art history homework beforehand so they don’t embarrass themselves.

It was good to see Savannah bounce back for the Quickfire. I wouldn’t count her out.
posted by jimw at 8:04 PM on May 31

I'd first seen the tablescape plating on the UK TV show Bake Off: The Professionals, where it's a regular dessert challenge each season, so I was looking forward to seeing what the chefs would do for this on a challenge where they could go sweet or savoury.

It was obvious from the get-go that Michelle was feeling very uncomfortable and intimidated by what she perceived as her lack of artistic talent, and it showed so much, both in her concept and execution. Although I agree Manny has skated along this season, being second least-worst so many times, he actually understood the need to serve across the table, and his food wasn't as bad as Michelle's. So, although I'm sad to say it, it was the right decision for Michelle to PUHKAG.

I also want to try Dan's puffins! They looked so light and fluffy, but with a crispy outside. Yum!

I think Laura was smart to do a dessert, as I think dessert components fit better in a challenge where, by its very nature, you're spreading food out so it'll go cold. But Danny's border was just beautiful, and I think his artistic concept was best. I must admit I was taken in by the producer shenanigans in the edit about the burned rice, as he was able to salvage enough for the meal, and, of course, the judges aren't going to want to eat a full meal at the start of judging when they've got five others to eat.
posted by essexjan at 5:32 AM on June 1

My first thought was noo, We Want Plates, but then I came to see the appeal as a grazing situation.

I think Michelle is a top notch chef but she shit the bed in this challenge so she had to go, but Manny is only just hanging in there.
posted by h00py at 4:02 AM on June 2

Very bummed to see Michelle go home. She was my favorite, mostly for being such an underdog. I love seeing a BBQ chef kicking ass. Even worse that she missed LCK by an episode, so she'd gone for good.
posted by hydra77 at 7:17 AM on June 6

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