“Top Chef” Season 15 premiered last week on Bravo, with San Francisco, California resident Melissa Perfit being the first chef sent packing. Of the remaining 14 first-timers, plus the four returning contestants from seasons past who are waiting in the wings, who followed Melissa out the door in the second episode? This week the players battled against each other in a fierce Mise En Place relay challenge. Later on, renowned chef Alex Seidel invited the contestants to his farm to learn the basics of farm-to-table cuisine. The chefs then had to team up to create progressive meals incorporating mystery ingredients from the farm into each dish.
Below, check out our minute-by-minute “Top Chef” recap of Season 15, Episode 2, titled “Smile and Say Mise” to find out what happened Thursday night. Then be sure to sound off in the comments section about your favorite chefs, which dishes from the episode looked the tastiest and who you think can go the distance to win the title of Top Chef. Keep refreshing/reloading this page as we’ll be updating live.
9:59 p.m. – “Previously, on ‘Top Chef’!” Poor Melissa was told to turn in her knives after her yukon potato puree with braised pork shoulder and fennel salad failed to impress the judges. After appearing in the bottom three, both Adrienne Cheatham and Carrie Baird now have a lot to prove heading into the second week of competition.
10:02 p.m. – For tonight’s Quickfire it’s the seasonal classic, the mise en place relay race which pits the chefs against one another in teams to see who can prepare food–chopping, shucking, cutting, etc.–the quickest. The relay: (1) peel & brunoise a quart of shallots, (2) peel, destem and slice a quart of mushrooms, and (3) clean and portion 20 pieces of beef tenderloin. As a rule, each chef can only handle one item, but more than one chef can handle a task at once. The team that wins will contend in a second stage with the time left on the clock to cook against one another for immunity in this week’s main challenge.
10:06 p.m. – Although the blue team finished the first two stages quickest, they only left one chef to portion the beef in the final stage compared to the two available for the green team to handle the task. Even with that disadvantage, Bruce Kalman was able to pull through for the blue team and secure the win with just 10 minutes left on the clock for them to cook their dishes using the three ingredients.
10:16 p.m. – After a taste test of their dishes, Rogelio Garcia (meat didn’t sit and sauce was broken) and Tyler Anderson (focused too much on the carrots) were the least favorites while Brother Luck (comforting, visually great) and Joseph Flamm (great flavors with acid and umami) were the best. The winner was Joseph!
10:21 p.m. – For this week’s elimination challenge the chefs will work in the same teams to create a progressive menu with each course containing one specific ingredient. They’ll serve a dinner party of 20 at guest judge Alex Seidel’s farm, where they’ll find out the secret ingredient later in the episode.
10:26 p.m. – Upon arrival at the farm, the chefs learn that they’ll be using Seidel’s cheeses that they make at the dairy. Before they get to cooking, the chefs get a quick tutorial at the dairy on how to cut cheese curd as well as a tasting of all the cheeses that they’ll have available to them for the challenge–there are four cheeses and each will have to be used in one of the four courses they’re preparing.
10:30 p.m. – During menu planning, Laura Cole (of the green team) had been excited about taking on the dessert course, but was shut down by Joe Sasto who dominated the conversation and chose that course for two other chefs. Later at the grocery store, Joe continued to butt in to the choices of other chefs which rubbed many of them the wrong way.
10:41 p.m. – During check-ins in the kitchen with Tom Colicchio, Joe is worried about the quality of the lamb that they’re using for his dish especially after seeing the superior quality of the lamb being used by the other team. Tom even has to show Joe’s partner Tu David Phu how to tie a better knot when he’s tying the lamb. Joe and Tu’s dish hits another snag later when portions of it overcooks in the oven.
10:49 p.m. – On the blue team, Adrienne is paired with Claudette Zepeda-Wilkins for their first course which is supposed to be a cold-smoked fish with zucchini and cheese. Unfortunately too much time is spent teaching Claudette how to cold-smoke that the flavor of the fish doesn’t come out as intended. The green team did a play on the classic cheese and cracker for their first dish. Head-to-head, Fatima Ali‘s and Laura’s dish impressed the diners more.
10:52 p.m. – Joseph and Bruce handled the blue team’s second course, a beef agnolotti stuffed with the farm’s feta. Carrie and Joe made a potato and ricotta dumpling for the green team. Head-to-head, Carrie and Joe’s dumpling was a big hit with the diners, but the blue team also impressed.
10:54 p.m. – In the third course, Joe and Tu’s lamb was up against Rogelio and Tyler’s lamb. Prior to service, Joe was still concerned that the lamb came out inconsistent. Funny enough, the judges actually found Rogelio and Tyler’s to be cooked inconsistently and Joe and Tu’s simply came off as a poorly butchered and unfinished dish.
10:56 p.m. – Finally, for dessert, Brother made a blueberry tart with ricotta for the blue team while Christopher Scott and Tanya Holland made fried dough with feta and orange ice cream which Padma called one of her favorite desserts in “Top Chef” history.
11:01 p.m. – At Judges’ Table, the green team learned that they won the challenge, despite the fact that their meal also included the worst dish of the day. Fatima and Laura earned high marks for their first course cracker and Joe and Carrie won the judges over with their dumpling. The dish considered the worst of the day was, as expected, Joe and Tu’s lamb. Luckily they were saved from elimination by the high quality of their team’s other three dishes.
11:04 p.m. – Ultimately, the winning chef was Carrie for creating the best aspects of the judges’ favorite dish of the night. As for the blue team, Claudette and Adrienne’s first course was on the chopping block for the lack of smoke in their smoked fish. Also up for elimination was the lamb course for failing to use the cheese in a better way and for the poorly cooked meat.
11:13 p.m. – With two dishes and four chefs facing elimination, the judges came down harshest on Claudette, who was asked to pack her knives and go. She’ll now head to Last Chance Kitchen where she’ll compete against all-stars and eliminated chefs for a chance to re-enter the competition.
Here are the answers to Gold Derby’s contest questions for “Top Chef” Season 15, Episode 2:
Who will be eliminated? Claudette Zepeda-Wilkins
Who will be in bottom 2, but safe? Adrienne Cheatham, Rogelio Garcia and Tyler Anderson
Who will win the main challenge? Carrie Baird
Who will win the Quickfire challenge? Joseph Flamm
Will anybody quit the competition? No
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