Top Chef Recap: 9/19

This week’s Top Chef had the chefs cooking for a once in a lifetime chance to go to Aspen for next week’s finale.

“Being in the top five, it just feels amazing,” Dale said right before Sara M. expressed that “everyone is really excited because this tells you whether or not you’re going to go onto the final 4.”

The Quickfire Challenge was one of the most special ones thus far in the season. The cheftestants were taken to the legendary Le Cirque in New York City where they were greeted by renowned owner Sirio Maccioni.

Treated like VIP, literally, they were served a 13-year-old sea bass special on Le Cirque’s VIP-only menu.

After they devoured every last bite of the deliciously perfect dish, the chefs were told that their Quickfire Challenge this week was simple: re-create the dish that is now in their stomachs.

“Ok it took 20 years, now you have 20 minutes,” Brian complained about the time constraints.

All the cheftestants quickly scrambled to gather utensils, ingredients, and bits and pieces of their memory, with no time to spare.

Sara M.’s nerves got the best of her, and she was not able to complete her dish. Hung’s re-creation was appraised most similar to Le Cirque’s dish, and he was winner of the Quickfire Challenge.

Padma made sure the chefs knew how important this Elimination Challenge really was, by telling them that this was “the last challenge between you and the finale.” Talk about being nervous.

The chefs were taken to the French Culinary Institute where they were told they have three ingredients to make a delectably scrumptious dish: chicken, potatoes, and onions. They would also serve their creations to the culinary legends and professors of the FCI.

According to Lakshmi, the simpler the ingredients, the greater the test of the cook’s real talent and ability to make a good dish.

Casey let everyone know that “[she] live[s] and breathe[s] culinary, this is [her] career, this is what [she] love[s].” We’ll see how far that hopeful thinking gets her in the end.

With an extra half hour to cook because of the Quickfire Challenge win, Hung took his time with his dish. Calling Brian’s dish “a pile of mess,” he sure was confident that he’d be going far this week.

Though Hung may be arrogant at times, this week he was rightly-so. His dish made it to the finale, along with Casey, Dale, and Brian’s, but Sara M.’s just didn’t make the cut. So close.

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