‘Top Chef’ preview: The ladies bond as a rattled Stephanie confesses being in the bottom 3 was ‘wicked scary’ [VIDEO]

“That was not just a little scary. That was like wicked scary.” That is how Boston-based “Top ChefAll-Star Stephanie Cmar describes her experience of being one of the bottom three during this week’s elimination challenge that honored L.A. food critic Jonathan Gold for what Padma Lakshmi dismissed as an “Indian taco” (watch video below).

“I thought it lacked salt. I thought it lacked acid. It lacked a point of view” was the show’s host blunt critique of her dish at the judges’ table. Stephanie tells fellow chefs Karen Akunowicz and Nini Nguyen, “Just that ounce of doubt — it grows.”

Karen observes, “So much of the competition is mental. If you have a bad cook you get into a bad head space.” Nini adds, “The women here are so talented. But I think that, like, we don’t have the confidence level as some of these dudes.” Cue the sound of distant male laughter in the background.

Recalling the last time she was on Bravo’s cooking competition show back in 2015, Karen says, “I just got kicked in the face all the time. I definitely thought I was a piece of shit. Ruined me for years. But having a group of people who have got your back is a really good way to get through this competition.” Nini says, “I believe you were very brave to be a cook.” Hmm, what was that noise?  At least it causes these gals to burst out in laughter.

SEE ‘Top Chef’ season 17 has a new after-show: ‘What Would Tom Do?’ [WATCH VIDEO]

We will see how these talented women fare next week when the chefs must create food inspired by the paintings hanging in the Getty Museum in Los Angeles. At the end of “Gold Standard,” Stephanie was shown in scenes from that upcoming episode as she checked out portraits of nudes — the figures reminded her of tortellini pasta.

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