“I think I need to start making some better life choices,” said Karen Akunowicz, eliminated for the second time from “Top Chef: All-Stars L.A.” She fought her way back into the competition on “Last Chance Kitchen” once before, but was she able to do it again against Kevin Gillespie? This was the finale of “Last Chance Kitchen,” so which one of them earned their right to return to the main competition next week? Or perhaps did neither of them get back in? Watch part one of the final “LCK” showdown above, and scroll down for part two.
Akunowicz was eliminated in “Colossal Coliseum Kaiseki.” The challenge was a meticulously detail-oriented Japanese meal, so her uneven slicing of her duck and her improvised roasting technique were enough to get her sent out. But head judge Tom Colicchio liked the jasmine tea flavor Akunowicz infused into her meal. So her redemptive battle against Gillespie was to make a dish highlighting the flavor of tea in some way, shape or form. Since great minds think alike, both chose to make a seafood dish — Gillespie grilled some tuna, while Akunowicz poached cod.
Colicchio liked both dishes, and their fish preparations were spot-on. Unfortunately for Akunowicz, her sauce was a little “murky,” and since the basis of the challenge was to utilize the flavor of tea, Gillespie’s dish was the more successful. So there was no redemption for Akunowicz this time as she had to pack her knives and go for good. “Getting eliminated sucks, and I’m super bummed,” she admitted on her way out. “But Kevin’s a great chef. I’m going to be cheering him on.”
But not so fast. There was a twist. Colicchio presented Gillespie with one more challenge he had to get through to decide if he would truly be resurrected … or rather, three more challenges. Watch the last gauntlet Gillespie went through below, and let us know if you agree with the outcome.
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