Top Chef Power Rankings, Finale Part 1: Magic Tricks And Molecular Gastronomy

03.14.16 7 months ago • 18 Comments

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I won’t bury the lede this week, people: Amar is back, and heading to the finale! Is it any coincidence that he’s the only contestant this season to have personally fed me fancy ham? Not a chance. Let this be a lesson, chefs, if you want that Uproxx bump you’d better stock up on cured meats.

Obviously, we’re getting ahead of ourselves. This week, the remaining chefs — J-Rock, Mike Ms.Abella, and Cornbread — headed to Vegas, where they were joined by this year’s Last Chance Kitchen winner, the previously noted Amar Santana, aka Big Sleazy, aka Ham Dad. All agreed that Big Sleazy was a strong competitor, though they weren’t thrown by the twist.

“I’m ready,” said Cornbread, “I’ve seen this show before.”

Ah yes, so have we Cornbread, so have we. The gang barely had a chance to cool their heels in the swanky hotel room before they were whisked off to their first challenge, which was a doozy: trying not to look down Padma’s dress while she dealt them some cards.


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Just look at the heroic restraint Tom Colicchio is showing, not to mention highly-evolved peripheral vision. You can tell he’s been doing this for 13 seasons.

Anyway, the cards — gambling! Vegas! get it? — were for a challenge with the theme of… uh… class warfare? As Padma explained it, when playing cards developed in the middle ages, spades were originally intended to represent royalty, hearts the clergy, diamonds merchants, and clubs the peasantry (also, barbers were doctors and sometimes they put holes in your skull to let the bad stuff out). Each contestant had to choose a card, and could cook only with the pantry assigned to their corresponding card suit. Amar drew the club, meaning he had to cook using only peasant food. Marjorie, meanwhile, drew the spade, meaning she could with the royal pantry. I mean, it’s the second to last challenge, why not dole out totally unfair assignments based entirely on chance?

While Amar was limited to beef tongue and chicken livers, Marjorie’s pantry for a king turned out to contain sumptuous delicacies like… uh… Stone beer and… Sriracha hot sauce.


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