‘Top Chef’ 16 episode 10 recap: One chef’s ‘hoop dreams’ are shattered after a 3-on-3 cooking tourney

On last week‘s “Top Chef,” David Viana, the chef from Tom Colicchio‘s hometown, sang the blues as the 9th eliminated chef. Luckily he won the most recent “Last Chance Kitchen” and so he’s still alive in the competition. To get back in he’ll have to go head-to-head against the chef that failed to score in this week’s concession stand themed challenge on the basketball court at the University of Kentucky.

Below, check out our minute-by-minute “Top Chef” recap of Season 16, Episode 10, titled “Hoop Dreams,” to find out what happened Thursday, February 7 at 8 p.m. ET/PT. Then be sure to sound off in the comments section about whether or not the right decision was made at this week’s Judges’ Table.

8:01 p.m. – After last week’s Judges’ Table, Michelle Minori is riding the high of her first Elimination Challenge win of the season. For her it was an emotional win that boosted her confidence and proved that she was even underestimating herself. On the flip side, Eddie Konrad is feeling the sting of a near-elimination and his second back to back low placement (after four consecutive high placements, including a win).

8:02 p.m. – To help Padma Lakshmi with this week’s Quickfire Challenge, alum and Kentucky native Ed Lee was in the kitchen to judge the chefs’ dishes that used only one of three bouillon cube seasonings. To make things tough those seasonings were the only ones they could use and could only be accessed by the chefs working together to solve four riddles in order to unlock the seasonings within the 35 minute solve + cook time.

8:09 p.m. – After tasting each chef’s dish, Ed thought that some people used too much bouillon and others not enough. His least favorite dishes were Michelle’s fritto misto with beef bouillon for a lack of creativity and not enough bouillon taste and Justin Sutherland‘s over-seasoned chorizo and clams with chicken bouillon. His favorite dishes were Sara Bradley‘s “delicate and balanced” roasted monkfish with chicken bouillon, Eddie’s caponata with mint & poached scallops with chicken & vegetable bouillon that had good texture and a playfulness to it and Eric Adjepong‘s eggplant with hanger steak and vegetable bouillon that made Ed actually like eggplant for once. Ultimately the winner was Eddie, earning him an advantage in the next challenge.

8:14 p.m. – For that Elimination Challenge that Padma referred to as a “three-on-three” game she told Eddie that as the Quickfire winner he would get to sit out the game on the sidelines with the judges while the other six chefs cooked. Yes, that meant he won immunity and the opportunity to not even cook for one challenge. The other six got to choose teams of three on their own, selecting: Eric, Justin and Adrienne Wright on one team and Sara, Michelle and Kelsey Barnard Clark on the other. In the challenge the two teams were tasked with serving three courses of arena food to a crowd of University of Kentucky basketball fans in head-to-head battles.

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8:24 p.m. – At Rupp Arena on the UK campus the chefs met up with their “assists” for the week: Caitlin Steininger and Brian Young as sous chefs for the Eric/Justin/Adrienne White Team and David and Kevin Scharpf for the Sara/Michelle/Kelsey Blue Team.

8:27 p.m. – Each team got to independently choose which order they’d present their dishes, but because both had chicken and waffles on their menus they agreed to let those two dishes compete against one another.

8:33 p.m. – For the actual competition, the arena was set up with a full crowd and the works as far as announcing, hype, cheerleaders and music was concerned. The teams cooked live in center court as the crowd watched and cheered them on. Though the teams had agreed on pitting chicken and waffles against one another, Sara’s were not ready for the Blue Team and so they switched to have Kelsey go instead.

8:35 p.m. – Helping the series judges pick winners were Hunter Lewis, editor-in-chief of Food & Wine magazine, and John Calipari, coach of the UK basketball team. In round 1 for the Blue Team Kelsey presented a “Kentucky proud dumpling” with pistou and ponzu and for the White Team Adrienne presented fried chicken & waffles with bourbon syrup and pickled watermelon rind. Across the board the judges considered both dishes terrific, but in the end four judges gave the win to Blue and only two judges to White and so Kelsey was the first winner.

8:38 p.m. – For the second round, Eric put forth a tamarind glazed drumette with herb confetti for White and Sara was ready with her “Big Blue Nation” chicken & waffles with coleslaw for Blue. In the spirit of competition trash talking, Tom confronted Sara with the rumor that she had used boxed mix for her waffles while the White team had made theirs from scratch. At that point Justin and Eric encouraged the crowd with a “home made” chant that incited boos for Sara from the crowd.

8:43 p.m. – When it came to critiques, Tom told Sara he loved the coleslaw and chicken, but the waffle was too soft. On the other side, he really liked Eric’s drumette as did the rest of the panel. Not surprisingly, all six judges selected Eric’s dish as the winner, forcing a tie between the two teams heading into the last round!

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8:45 p.m. – In the third round Justin served a “juicy Lucy” with pimento cheese, mustard BBQ sauce, bourbon onions and duck fat raised pork belly for the White Team and Michelle plated sweet & sour ribs with cucumbers and peach & Calabrian chili sauce. Though the judges were complimentary of both dishes, all six held up their white cards meaning the White Team won unanimously again and were the challenge winners!

8:47 p.m. – Later in the locker room Sara expressed her frustration that another chef threw her boxed waffles under the bus to Tom causing her to be heckled by the crowd and ultimately tanking her chances at a win in her round.  Adrienne admitted to it and apologized because it wasn’t malicious in any way, but Sara was hurt and thought maybe the other chefs were being more competitive than she thought.

8:49 p.m. – With the winning White Team, the judges were thoroughly impressed by all three of their dishes, despite Adrienne’s losing her match. Between the three they selected the one with “mind-boggling” technique which was Eric’s drumette! That marked Eric’s second Elimination Challenge win of the season, making him the second overall and only one left standing with that stat.

8:55 p.m. – With the losing Blue Team, Ed told Sara that he liked her chicken better than Adrienne’s, but because the waffle wasn’t up to par it brought the whole dish down. Tom loved the sauce on Michelle’s ribs, but the ribs themselves were wet and not as good as the sauce. Kelsey’s dumplings were the only Blue dish that won and so it seemed she’d be spared from elimination, leaving both Sara and Michelle vulnerable.

8:59 p.m. – To decide which chef would go home, Tom said it came down to the one that messed up on something they fundamentally should have executed properly. In that sense it was Michelle who was eliminated for her underwhelming ribs. She joins Nini Nguyen as the second chef this season to be eliminated immediately after winning the previous challenge.

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NEXT WEEK: For the KFC-inspired Quickfire Challenge the chefs have to cook their own version of fried chicken and in the Elimination Challenge they are asked to celebrate the life and career of Muhammad Ali through their food that they’ll serve to his daughter Laila Ali.

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