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S16.E12: Kentucky Farewell

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Tom ambushes sleeping chefs and challenges them to make a dish using ingredients harvested from their gardens; for the last elimination challenge, the chefs bid on luxury ingredients at a thoroughbred horse auction house.

Air date: February 21, 2019

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Yay, Gail!

And, yay, I’m glad to have Michelle back.

Adrienne’s QF dish looked very appetizing; so fresh, and all that color.  The top three dishes all looked wonderful, and I’d have been happy to eat the bottom three, too.  I love veggies straight from the garden.

I was waiting for the cheftestants who paid out the ass for vegetables at the auction to find them at market price in Whole Foods (I don't shop there, so I don't know how special they get in their specialty item selections).

I think Kelsey went on for a while describing her dish at the dinner table, prompting Padma’s “Okay, that’ll be all for now” dismissal.  I like that she showed so much technique in that gumbo.

It was painful to watch Adrienne’s mentor talk about how she does some of the best plating of any chef he knows, while she frantically threw food on the plate.  I was worried for her the entire episode, because they spent a lot of time on her backstory, photos, etc.  Then I saw Justin’s dish and thought, nope, that was a red herring and it's him.  Everyone is competing on a very similar level at this point in the game, and any one of them can be the one to go home in a given challenge.  I hate to lose him, but I'd have hated to lose her even more.  It's tough to see someone go home for a good dish again, but that happens at this point in the game.

I couldn't believe Sara got that crazy-expensive ham and then used most of it for broth; I was most curious to see how hers turned out, because that was either brilliant or unbelievably stupid.  I’m glad it turned out so well.  She’s come on strong at just the right time.

I love to see the final five 80% women.  And I've liked Eric from the beginning (I've liked pretty much everyone this season).  It's always nice when I'm not rooting against anyone in the finals/finale, because I like everyone's food and the way they generally conduct themselves, so I may have an extra fondness for some (e.g. Adrienne, ever since she kicked absolute ass as Exec Chef in Restaurant Wars, and Michelle, because I like seeing her quiet style of strength respected) but there's no one I'd be disappointed to see win the title.

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Damn Damn Damn Justin was my favorite.  Guess he didn't see the article posted by Kelsey about never doing a duo of something.  And Tom also said he told them repeatedly not to do that.  So sad, so bad Justin.

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8 minutes ago, susannot said:

Damn Damn Damn Justin was my favorite.  Guess he didn't see the article posted by Kelsey about never doing a duo of something.  And Tom also said he told them repeatedly not to do that.  So sad, so bad Justin.

Justin is from my neck of the woods.  I'm going to try to hit up his restaurant.  It has really great reviews.

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I really liked Justin, wanted Adrienne gone before him. I wonder if the ultimate kiss of death on this show would be risotto two ways? 

Sarah's ego was already really big, that win would just make it worse. 

Voltaggio was very subdued tonight.

Hi Gail. Bye Graham and his glasses? 

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Justin... c'mon... didn't you watch Top Chef in prep for this? NEVER DO A DUO!  Arghhh!

If Sara takes this. I'm done. She might cook some good food, but she is so unpleasant. 

Some of the mentors seemed close to the cheftestants, some not so much. Interesting.

I wish they'd shown more of Keeneland. It is a gorgeous racetrack!

Edited by jackjill89
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Just now, dbell1 said:

I really liked Justin, wanted Adrienne gone before him. I wonder if the ultimate kiss of death on this show would be risotto two ways? 

Sarah's ego was already really big, that win would just make it worse. 

Voltaggio was very subdued tonight.

Hi Gail. Bye Graham and his glasses? 

Ha!  Duo of risotto/two ways.  Immediate death.

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Oh darn, I was rooting for Justin to win.  A woman will win this one, hopefully anyone but Sara. 

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1 minute ago, jackjill89 said:

Some of the mentors seemed close to the cheftestants, some not so much. Interesting.

Yes! In particular it felt like Voltaggio barely knew Eric, and was just there because it was an excuse to include a Top Chef alumnus.

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Awww, Justin from my Minnesota!  I was pretty sure he'd be sent home.  Sorry he didn't get to go to China.

Seems like Sara/h had two mentors in the judging group, cheering her on.   Hmmmm.

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41 minutes ago, Bastet said:

I think Kelsey went on for a while describing her dish at the dinner table, prompting Padma’s “Okay, that’ll be all for now” dismissal.  I like that she showed so much technique in that gumbo.

Sometimes I find Padma to be a little bit rude.  I thought the judges wanted their stories about their mentor.  Hell, last week they wanted a damn soliloquy about their food as it related to Ali (all due respect to him!)   Anyway, yay to Kelsey for making a great dish and for moving on in the competition.

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I loved all the Minnesota representation tonight, from Justin to J.D. to Gavin - he's back home in MN running some seriously amazing restaurants. Top Chef: Minnesota (filmed in the summer months, obvs) would be the bees knees.

Sara's soup really looked and sounded incredible, and to have her be such a clear winner that they sent her over to the side all by herself was quite a statement. I really wanted Justin to beat out Adrienne for that final spot but it seemed like his dish just couldn't justify it.

On an entirely superficial note: I hate Adrienne's omnipresent earrings in every color imaginable and hope someone can tell me they actually have some sort of deeper meaning. Second superficial note: as a similarly buxom lady, I feel like the producers did Sara and her bosoms wrong in that nightgown footage.

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This is one of those situations where Tom's complete unfamiliarity with West African food didn't really help his criticism of Eric's dish. Eric did a pretty decent deconstruction of waakaye. However, it's not usually served with a vegetable in the way Tom was thinking. It's sometimes served with a small salad or avocado, which I'm pretty positive is result of colonialism, globalization, and the diaspora. That being said, it's also not served with a pickled element either. Had Tom been more familiar with the cuisine or had Nilou, who seems to have more familiarity with West African cuisine, been there, the criticism of the dish might have centered on how the dish was a deconstruction, but also a fusion and elevation of something traditional. Simply by putting the pickled pomegranates on the plate he signaled that he wasn't going completely traditional in his flavors so his failure to include a veg really did make the dish a half finished thought.

12 hours ago, Bastet said:

I couldn't believe Sara got that crazy-expensive ham and then used most of it for broth; I was most curious to see how hers turned out, because that was either brilliant or unbelievably stupid. 

A leg of Iberico ham is easily $1,000 and Sara used it like a hamhock. Clearly it was delicious, but damn.

12 hours ago, dbell1 said:

I wonder if the ultimate kiss of death on this show would be risotto two ways?

12 hours ago, susannot said:

Ha!  Duo of risotto/two ways.  Immediate death.

Thanks for putting that out into the universe. Now I'm going to ponder what a duo of risotto would be. Risotto and arancini? Risotto cakes or crispy risotto pancakes (al salto)? Risotto soup or congee? Risotto battered fish? Steak roulade with risotto filling?

Edited by HunterHunted
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1 hour ago, HunterHunted said:

A leg of Iberico ham is easily $1,000 and Sara used it like a hamhock. Clearly it was delicious, but damn.

That's why I was so curious to see how her dish turned out and was received; as she acknowledged, this isn't something you would normally do with Iberico ham, so the judges were either going to clutch their aprons or agree with her that when you have the rare opportunity to get one for cents on the dollar you can "waste" a lot of it that way to help make an incredible dish.  I was kind of fascinated by the whole thing. 

Edited by Bastet
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A leg of Iberico ham is easily $1,000 and Sara used it like a hamhock.

I thought (hoped) Sara was doomed when she did that.  She would have been crucified on Chopped for "disrespecting" Iberico ham.  I have a horrible feeling that she's being set up for the win.  

I was a bit shocked when the judges chose Justin to leave instead of Adrienne.  I don't dislike her but it seems to me that he has been better all along.  Chris Coombs has certainly grown up.  I know that he's well regarded now but he was one of the most obnoxious contestants ever on Chopped.  Maybe the most obnoxious.  

I'm still hoping that Eric wins but I doubt they'll let the last remaining male beat out four females.  Women will start screaming even if he clearly deserves it.

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1 minute ago, mlp said:

I'm still hoping that Eric wins but I doubt they'll let the last remaining male beat out four females.  Women will start screaming even if he clearly deserves it.

I think he's as deserving as any of them.  I'm pulling for Kelsey, but I promise that I won't scream if he wins!  IMO, they're all pretty darn good!

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Padma has a producer in her ear piece telling her to move things along.  It isn’t her call.  I chuckled when she cut off the gumbo soliloquy.  

I wanted Justin to go to China but I knew he was a goner the minute I heard his dish. 

Sarah sure can cook and that was crazy luck or good creating that she actually got that ham and was able to make her mentor’s signature dish!  I wished I liked her more.  

I am baffled they chose China.  That is very far outside anyone’s wheel house.  

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Knew it would be Justin before the show even started.  I don't think he needs to win this show to be successful.  I am not a big follower....do they usually end Last Chance Kitchen before they go to the last place? I thought the finals was 3 or 4 people?  So with me  too being in the news all of a sudden Top Chef has 4 women left?  Just like Tom all of a sudden talking about African cuisine on camera to make himself look so inclusive. 

I really have not been wowed by any of them.  On an unrelated note...I hate it when Eric sweats. 

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RE: Going to China

"It's going to suck not seeing you there Justin."   Clever editing elves.

RE:  Fresh crabs from a can/crab shells in dish

I thought she was a goner LOL.   Clever editing again....the doom ingredient didn't doom her despite the shell.

Also.   Did they show Sara's braless boobs through her tank top upon waking?   Not nice.   However her best move was cheap Iberico.   Smart.

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I'm bummed that Justin got cut; although I had a bad feeling all week.  Since he's a local boy, he was the one I was rooting for.  I like Michelle, Eric and Kelsey the most of who is left.

Although are we sure he's not going to China?  Don't former contestants become sous chefs in the finale?

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7 minutes ago, Irlandesa said:

Although are we sure he's not going to China?  Don't former contestants become sous chefs in the finale?

Don’t know if this is really a spoiler but 

Spoiler

When Justin amd Brian were on Pack Your Knives Justin talked about all the looks Brian got in Macau because of how tall he is so they are going pretty deep for Sous chefs.

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Am I the only one who thinks that some of the chefs had never heard of Macau, never mind where it is?

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Oh boy, I don't even know who Kelsey is! The blonde?  I know the face, but not the name I guess.

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9 minutes ago, Brookside said:
11 minutes ago, Brookside said:

Am I the only one who thinks that some of the chefs would never have heard of Macau, never mind where it is?

I'd be right with them!  lol. Why didn't they just say China?  

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For the winningest, most perfect dish ever, we sure didn't see much of it either. And no one except the Bravo stooges and her own mentors were on camera commenting on it. I call bullshit and shenanigans. The fix was in and none of you can convince me otherwise. HATE her. She's going to win the whole thing and here is going to be yet another show that I'm done with.

Sad to see Justin go right after he finally grew on me.

I'm sorry, but I just wasn't impressed by any of the dishes, other than Eric's, at this stage. None of them really did anything for me. AND I'M TIRED OF THE DAMN PICKLES!

Also, the auction annoyed the ever-living shit out of me.

Edited by The Solution · Reason: Thought of something else I hated
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16 minutes ago, Thumper said:

I'd be right with them!  lol. Why didn't they just say China?  

Because Macau has only been apart of China since 1999 and has a very distinct food culture because of the Portuguese influence. I think I gained 10 lbs when I visited for three days. 

17 minutes ago, Aerobicidal said:

imagine Kelsey was thinking “McCow? Is that like what y’all call McDonald’s in the countries of the Britain?”

Kelsey went to the CIA and learned to make awesome dumplings quickly at Cafe Boulud under two of the top chefs in the world I am pretty sure she is familiar. 

I liked that the cashier wished Eric good luck using his name.

I missed it did the show if Adrienne used frozen duck or did this WF have fresh duck? Not sure where they shopped for the Louisville challenge but this one was in Lexington.

Edited by biakbiak
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Thanks, @biakbiak.  My geographical knowledge is limited. Portuguese influence -- interesting.  I wonder how it got absorbed by China?

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1 minute ago, Thumper said:

Thanks, @biakbiak.  My geographical knowledge is limited. Portuguese influence -- interesting.  I wonder how it got absorbed by China?

It’s similar to Hong Kong just replace the British for the Portuguese.

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2 hours ago, mlp said:

  Chris Coombs has certainly grown up.  I know that he's well regarded now but he was one of the most obnoxious contestants ever on Chopped.  Maybe the most obnoxious.  

Thank you for this!  When he appeared my first thought was "that's the  jerk who kept popping up on Chopped being as annoying and egotistical as hell".  He was definitely in Chris Burke/Matthew Grunewald territory.

Still can't say I liked him much in tonight's ep.  His protégé should have gone instead of Justin.

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Man,  Sarah sure made some fancy-schmancy  Ham and Bean Soup! 😁

Kelsey: Canned crab meat AND a piece of shell? Sorry,  but those heretofore have been PYKAG factors. 🔪

Adrienne: Isn't she always running out of time?

Macau,  AKA Macao: I live near a Sands Casino.  I'm betting TC is going to the super-sized one in Macau. 

https://www.sandscasino.com/macao/our-casinos.html

Edited by LennieBriscoe
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5 hours ago, LennieBriscoe said:

Canned crab meat 

She didn’t use canned crab it was a weird edit of her grabbing a can of something that wasn’t crab over her saying she was using fresh lump crab meat.

Etb: I guess I was wrong and she might have used canned crab because when she mentions it a second time she says it was canned but they show her picking through the containers that WF gives you their fresh lump crab meat in so who knows what it was.

Edited by biakbiak
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Sara is my least favorite of anyone left, and I think there are several instances this season where she could have gone home... but her dish tonight looked and sounded absolutely delicious. Out of all of them, it would be the one I would order right now if I had to choose.

I also thought Kelsey used canned crab meat. Lol. I couldn't believe it, but using fresh lump crab meat for a gumbo makes a lot more sense. That's what I heard her say, but the editing confused me and I thought she got her crab straight from a can. That also left me wondering why she grabbed so little of it. Anyway, the roux sounded interesting and was received well. 

Eric's dish is something I would like to try. This is why I am happy to see lesser known cuisines get represented. Not only does Eric do West African food, but he adds his own unique twists on a lot of the dishes he presents so I'm being shown food that I'm not familiar with, yet it looks appetizing. I would definitely be excited to eat something he prepared. One day, I'm sure!

When I saw Michelle's salmon I wasn't sure if it was cooked properly, but having heard the judges remarks about the crispness of the skin, (etc) it seems like it was pretty spot on in execution.

I think Adrienne or Justin could have gone home without either decision seeming unjustified. They both were clearly outcooked by others. But it seemed like Adrienne was pretty sure she was going home, and listening to some of the comments, I can understand why it would not have been a shock. The dish was not seasoned properly. Several judges remarked that the duck was very underseasoned, which is a mistake that simply shouldn't be made at this stage in the competition. The guest judge (whose favorite word is obviously "forward") seemed to prefer Justin's dish, so Adrienne's clearly had distinct flaws. It also looked a mess. Justin's mistake was trying to do the fish two ways, because there was just more on his dish to find fault in; had he just made the fish one way with the kimchi, it would have been more focused and Adrienne would have been sent packing instead of him. Coulda, woulda, shoulda... but I'm sad to see him go. He seemed to genuinely have fun throughout the competition and embrace the experience. 

I am wondering now if Kelsey is going to win the whole thing. I think it will be either her or Eric, at this point... but the preview for next week isn't looking good for Eric, although I doubt the final four will end up being all female. He's my favorite, but I like them all with the exception of Sara. I don't hate her as much as some do, and I don't think she's a bad person. However, she is abrasive and she simply hasn't performed as well as the other remaining chefs, despite her knowing everything and being the absolute best at everything. 

Edited by RealityWatcher · Reason: The Kelsey crab meat issue.
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The auction gimmick was a bust. I think it still has merit, but it probably needs to be used with more cheftestants and a real limit on their cash or some other limit on what they can buy. When Project Runway has an unconventional materials challenge, they limit the designers to like $20 and 15 minutes in Mood for buttons, zippers, clasps, and like a tiny bit of fabric. Or on Guy's Grocery Games (not the greatest show) when they do the inside aisles challenge, which prevents the contestants from shopping from the walls un a grocery store; this prevents them from getting fresh produce, dairy, and meat in most grocery stores. They also have the one item per aisle challenge. If they ever do an auction again, they need to pair it with some sort of limitation.

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Well, there went my dream of an Eric/Justin throwdown in the Finale.

And it's true, if they were given a garden, they should expect that it would be incorporated in a challenge sooner or later. And I'm glad that Justin won the Quickfire (didn't he have problems setting up the garden in the first ep?) and was so gracious in his TH after being PYKAG'd.

It hurt Eric to have to be asked about the connection to Bryan Voltaggio. If he had given a thought-out story to the judges (Tom), he might not have been slammed for not having a "complete" plate. Sara's probably was the tastiest, but she also gave the best spiel while presenting her food, helped by the obvious response by the mentor who inspired it. Adrienne's mentor's facial expression was a shade short of a sneer when she said (admittedly awkwardly) he likes mushrooms! he likes other ingredient! that's how he's the inspiration!

I did like what Kelsey's judge had to say about interns working in his kitchen.

Yeah, not looking forward to hearing Sara's crowing next week. It's very difficult to be happy for her. She was definitely very fortunate to have had two local chef-friends and mentors among the diners being very effusive fans.

Edited by Kaiju Ballet · Reason: Acronym dyslexia for PYKAG
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How long are these people there for the competition that they can actually plant gardens & use the vegetables that grow?

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2 hours ago, GaT said:

How long are these people there for the competition that they can actually plant gardens & use the vegetables that grow?

About a month. They started with a mixture of seeds and plants. But it’s also why so many of their veg were tiny.

I wonder why Sara was the only one who tended to her garden. I would have thought it would be a nice change to the downtime on the show. Though Eric did say when he planted he had never grown anything. 

Here is a blog post from the gardner who was in charge about the process.

Edited by biakbiak
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8 hours ago, HappyDancex2 said:

Anyone else find Oueta's use of "forward" too forward forward?

That seems to be the word of the day in the chef world.  I find it tiresome.  Also, the judges sure seemed to harp on the acidity or lack thereof with the food this season.  "Too much heat...…., not enough heat...…..,  acidity forward...…"   

7 hours ago, Aerobicidal said:

I imagine Kelsey was thinking “McCow? Is that like what y’all call McDonald’s in the countries of the Britain?”

Because living in the south precludes us from knowing geography or speaking properly?  Sigh. 

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Is it just me or is it now almost certain that the quickfire winner or cash prize winner from the episode before goes home on the next episode?   

If so, was it always this way and I never noticed?  

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6 minutes ago, Ellee said:

just me or is it now almost certain that the quickfire winner or cash prize winner from the episode before goes home on the next episode?  

Sarah won last week’s quickfire and is still here.

Before Eric broke it there was a pattern of someone winning the EC and then going home or being in the bottom the next week.

Edited by biakbiak
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Thought the same thing about the duck.  Her's looked definitely fresh in her shopping cart.  Interesting that Eddie could only find frozen duck when he shopped.  Manufactured drama for the show?

Tom looked like a dork in that hat.

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7 minutes ago, cameron said:

Thought the same thing about the duck.  Her's looked definitely fresh in her shopping cart.  Interesting that Eddie could only find frozen duck when he shopped.  Manufactured drama for the show?

Tom looked like a dork in that hat.

Probably just as simple as different WF stocking different items, I know that’s the case where I live. Last week they shopped in Louisville and this week they were in Lexington.

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27 minutes ago, biakbiak said:

Probably just as simple as different WF stocking different items, I know that’s the case where I live. Last week they shopped in Louisville and this week they were in Lexington.

Actually, there is only one whole foods in Louisville.  Since they were cooking at the Brown Hotel; they were probably using that store.  Same one where Eddie couldn't find fresh duck.

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While I do think there was a fix to get Sarah to Macau, I hope that this is where it ends.  Out of all the chefs at the beginning of the challenge, she appears to be the one whose food does not translate into an Asian culture.  She has done American farm-to-table food all season and I can see where the producers believe she will have trouble in China.  

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