The six remaining “Top Chef” All-Stars still in the competition — Stephanie Cmar, Melissa King, Gregory Gourdet, Bryan Voltaggio, Brian Malarkey and comeback kid Kevin Gillespie, who triumphed in “Last Chance Kitchen” — are one episode away from heading to Italy for the Season 17 three-part finale.
On this week’s episode, Jonathan Waxman, who was once dubbed “an elder statesman of the new California cooking” and previously competed in “Top Chef Masters” in 2010, is a guest judge. Brian is the first to shake his hand in a crowded kitchen at Waxman’s former restaurant Michael’s Santa Monica and says, “A walk back in time, my friend.” Jonathan says, “Forty years ago, but it seemed so much bigger back then. Every time I walk back, it’s small.”
He asks Brian what he is making, and he answers, “Veal, truffles and chanterelle mushrooms.” Jonathan says, “Not so bad.” But then head judge Tom Colicchio spies a bunch of fruit behind him. Brian explains, “I have this fruit and stuff but the fruit isn’t liking the truffles so much. So I’m trying to figure out how to balance the whole dish.” Jonathan simply tells him, “Have fun doing this, Brian.”
They next stop by Stephanie’s work station. She explains, “I got the scallops with spaghetti.” Tom notes that she is doing a twist on Jonathan’s signature dish, which is angel hair pasta with Chardonnay cream sauce. She says that it is “a little nerve-wracking making this dish for him. These are legends and I don’t want to embarrass myself.” She is making agnolotti pasta stuffed with asparagus and seared scallops. Jonathan praises her pasta as “pretty” and tells her, “You actually have the best corner, by the way. This is where Nancy Silverton used to be a cashier.” Stephanie jokes, “No one would trust me with their money.”
Watch the clip below and tune in at 10 p.m. ET/PT May 28 to see how Brian will perform his fruit balancing act.
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