‘Top Chef’ Houston ‘Last Chance Kitchen’ Recap: Sarah’s Kitchen


A a long, long time ago (OK, six weeks ago), Sarah Welch was eliminated from the main competition of Excellent chef. The following week, freshly booted Ashleigh Shanti falls into Last chance kitchenwon and came back.

As Ashleigh returned to the competition, Sarah ground him down in the Last Chance Kitchen, knocking out chefs left and right to get to this moment.

Losing to Ashleigh is on Sarah’s mind this week, the Last chance kitchen finale, where Jae Jung stands between her and returns.

Sarah Welch prepares whipped goat cheese for her first course. // Always: YouTube

“Gotta beat Jae with a stellar dish,” Sarah said. “I don’t want a repeat of what happened with Ashleigh where I was on a streak and someone hit me on the head and go back into the competition. So that means a lot because I really want to take that. .

Chief Judge Tom Colicchio says their challenge is to create something creamy, chewy and crunchy in 30 minutes. The thing is, he won’t be judging – they’ll have to present their food to a panel of five “culinary experts”.

Sarah makes something she’s already made at her restaurant, a crispy delicata squash with whipped goat cheese and spicy raisin relish. This strategy has served her well in the past and she is not going to change it now.

Jae, who was fired for doing something she’s never done before, is doing something she’s never done before. She boils shrimp with an andouille emulsion and crispy potatoes.

The two feel quite confident that they have prepared the winning dish. They bring the six plates to the table next to their designated color – red for Sarah, blue for Jae – and leave the kitchen.

last chance kitchen
Top Chef’s latest tester chefs vote for the Blue Dish (Jae’s Shrimp Boil with Andouille Emulsion and Crispy Potatoes) or the Red Dish (Sarah’s Crispy Delicata Squash with Whipped Goat Cheese and Spiced Raisin Relish ) in Part 1 of the Finals. // Always: YouTube

Tom goes to the stew room where the rest Excellent chef The cheftesters decompress from their elimination challenge, which involved creating a space-worthy meal. They are confused. Evelyn doesn’t know if they’ll taste the food or start cooking again.

Tom says they’re going to do a blind tasting. They make their decisions and then place the chosen card face down in front of them.

Jae and Sarah return to the kitchen and the chefs are appalled to see that Sarah is still in the competition. Tom says both dishes were good but it doesn’t matter what he has to say as the chefs will weigh in.

But since it is Excellent chef and Tom is sadistic, he says the challenge is not over.

Jo sums it up succinctly by asking “What kind of cool hell is this?”

And part 2 starts now! The chieftestants do not choose the winner; every vote means more time on the clock to cook one more time, which is a cruel and unusual punishment. The leaders reveal their choices and Sarah wins. Sarah gets 45 minutes to Jae’s 30 and Sarah, even though she won, looks exhausted and unhappy. Tom also brings Excellent chef alum Shota Nakajima, one of last season’s finalists. He will judge part 2 of this challenge with Tom.

last chance kitchen
Sarah Welch (left) and Jae Jung face off in Part 2 of the Last Chance Kitchen finals. // Always: YouTube

Now Sarah and Jae can make whatever they want and use whatever they want. Sarah gets a head start and decides to make ricotta gnocchi. It’s something she’s done before, but things seem a little dicey for her as she makes the dough – it’s too wet but she keeps going. She says the extra time allows her to be present and intentional with every choice she makes. She makes a crumb of parmesan bread and a relish of black olives and sardines. She also frys garlic and fresh herbs for extra texture.

While she makes gnocchi, Jae just stands there, cool, calm and collected waiting for the clock to hit 30 minutes. It seems she has the edge because she watches Sarah and knows what she’s doing, plus she has time to plan what she’s going to do instead of frantically running around the pantry and grabbing random things.

Finally, it’s time for Jae to get into the competition and her plan is to make spaghetti squash with red snapper.

Tom comes one last time for his judgment walkthrough. He walks around and sneers near Sarah’s station and comments that his dough is too wet. Could this be the end for Sarah?

Time is up. Sarah presents her pomodoro gnocchi. “This is one of my favorite meals to eat in the heart of summer in Michigan. [when] the tomatoes are simply exceptional. (Facts.)

Jae offers her sautéed snapper with spaghetti squash noodle salad in clam broth with a drizzle of brown butter.

It’s the moment of truth for Sarah’s gnocchi.

“At my restaurant, Craft, we’ve been making gnocchi every day for 20 years. They’re good gnocchi,” says Tom.

Shota and Tom are racking up compliments for Jae’s snapper dish: the fish is perfectly cooked, the broth is nice and shiny, and the clam broth has good saltiness. It looks like a home run.

Top Chef Portland finalist Shota Nakajima and Chief Judge Tom Colicchio review the final dishes. // Always: YouTube

But it’s not enough to overtake Sarah, who takes one last time, a record seven wins to become one of the last six competitors of this season of Excellent chef. And with that Sarah becomes the first Excellent chef Michigan contestant who is currently working at a restaurant in Michigan to make it this far in the competition.

The remaining five TsChief Operating Officer the contestants congratulate Sarah. “I’m surprised it doesn’t say ‘Sarah’s Kitchen,'” Ashleigh says, pointing to the sign that says “Last Chance Kitchen.”

“I’m back, baby,” Sarah said. “I like You Last chance kitchen. But it’s time to go get my ass kicked by five amazing chefs.

Watch this season of Top Chef at 8 p.m. Thursdays on Bravo and stream Last Chance Kitchen on YouTube after each episode. For more information, visit bravotv.com.

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