Top Chef: The judges finally send Chris home

TOP CHEF -- "Portland-ia" Episode 1809 -- Pictured: Chris Viaud -- (Photo by: David Moir/Bravo)
TOP CHEF -- "Portland-ia" Episode 1809 -- Pictured: Chris Viaud -- (Photo by: David Moir/Bravo) /

If you are a chef and you are going to appear on a food television series of the caliber of Top Chef, you should be able to make good pasta from scratch, right? We can all agree on that or am I wrong?

Making fresh pasta is something almost any home cook can do by watching a YouTube video, so for someone who has trained in fine dining, it should be like boiling water. Or so you would think. But it turns out that wasn’t the case for Chris, who honestly should have been sent home long before now.

On the other hand, a pair of formerly under-the-radar chefestants continued to climb the Top Chef leaderboard with one getting a long-overdue victory. And while Shota is still clearly the one to beat for the title Top Chef, the gap between the chefs is growing smaller by the episode.

For the Quickfire Challenge, Top Chef brought in Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein, creators of Portlandia, for what could be the most obvious guest appearance in television history. The focus was on everything hip and retro and self-professed hipster Dawn came away with the win with her fonio grain and semolina flour quickbread with pancetta jam.

Gabe finally gets a much-deserved Top Chef victory

For the Elimination Challenge, the chefs had to create a recipe that could be prepared in 90 minutes and be simple enough to appear in a cookbook so that a home cook could make it. To test their recipes, they would prepare them alongside four Top Chef All-Stars who would be following the recipe they created.

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If we’re being honest, while many of the dishes wowed the judges, everyone had some issues with the actual writing of a recipe. From lack of cooking times to botched measurements to instructions that ran for four pages, not a single All-Star was able to make their version of a dish without some problems.

And this is why chefs hire editors to work on their cookbooks.

By the time Judges’ Table arrived, it was fairly obvious who was going home, but of course, I’ve thought that before. Gabe, Shota, Maria, and Dawn all receive top marks, with Dawn’s salmon with buttermilk, gai lan, and olive puree and Shota’s soy-braised pork belly with turnip puree both receiving high praise. But it was Gabe’s steamed black cod in banana leaf that took the victory.

That left Byron, Jamie, and perennial bottom-dweller Chris bringing up the rear. And after a third failed attempt at making pasta, this time a sorghum gnocchi with green romesco, Chris is sent home. The fact a chef with the skills of Sara went home before someone who can’t make pasta is still shocking to me.

With Chris leaving that means there are six remaining cheftestants and a leaderboard that looks like this:

  1. Shota
  2. Dawn
  3. Gabe
  4. Jamie
  5. Maria
  6. Byron

Shota remains at the top and seems unbeatable with Sara gone. Dawn jumps to the No. 2 spot thanks to another strong performance and Gabe moves all the way up to No. 3 with a solid and convincing win. Meanwhile, Byron needs to stop overthinking things or he may be the next chef to leave Portland.

Things are starting to come down to the wire with six chefs left. Plus there’s the return of the winner of Last Chance Kitchen to consider. Can Shota keep this up? Can Dawn finally take the top spot from him? We’ll find out soon.

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What do you think Guilty Eats Nation? Did Chris deserve to go home? Is not being able to make pasta enough to be sent home? Leave a comment below and let us know or join the conversation on our Twitter and Facebook pages.