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Dec 14, 2011 12:21 PM

Top Chef - Texas - Last Chance Kitchen (spoilers)

I have a theory about the Last Chance Kitchen. While any chef can be told to PPYKAG due to one bad dish or even a bad element to a dish, I think that we will not see a singe chef be the reigning LCK champion for too long. I think that the longer a chef lasts in the main competition likely means that chef is either more talented than those who lost before them or at least they know how to play the game better. What will probably happen now is that I will be proven wrong.

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  1. Thanks for starting this John.

    I think I agree, no chef will reign long in LCK. I don't think it's necessarily a matter of talent, but more so a matter of experience at high pressure timed challenges.

    And yeah, we'll probably now see Whitney go to the end ;)

    1. That's a good point.

      On the Nyesha, Dakota, Whitney contest, it would have been ironic if Dakota had won. There's no amount of groveling she could do at that point. Whitney was very gracious.

      I was thinking that with LCK, chefs have to be sequestered for longer now, after losing. In the past, once their elimination episode was aired, they could go home, couldn't they? But, now the entire cast has to stay until the end and that adds months to their exile. Exciting when you're on top, but not if you've lost. And, do these chefs get to see the competition, or what happened or does the newest chef(s) just show up and they're just as surprised?

      This is a good idea to start w thread like this--it's nice to be able to talk about it and not be worried about spoiling the end.

      7 Replies
      1. re: chowser

        I read an interview with Richie Farina after he was eliminated, in which he mentioned something about how much he and Chris learned on the show and how they made various menu changes when they both got back to the restaurant. Which leads me to believe that everyone is back home at this point.

        How long ago was this thing filmed? I'm guessing several months?

        1. re: davis_sq_pro

          Yeah, I think eliminated chefs are holed up until they film the episode that determines the finalists. Then everyone can go home but be hush hush until they reconvene to film the finals.

        2. re: chowser

          No, chowser, all eliminated cheftestants are sequestered for the entire 30 days of filming (pre-finale). It doesn't take months to film; Tom's noted in a previous season's blog that filming is about 30 days. Each QF/EC challenge takes a maximum of 2-1/2 to 3 days, usually only 2 days. They get a night of rest and are back at it the next morning.

          This is what they sign up for - a 30-day (or so) sabbatical from their restaurant, and then most of them are part of the finale a month or so later. By having all of them fly to wherever the finale is, it's yet another way to avoid letting the cat out of the bag as to who didn't or did win. The finale is usually filmed pretty close to the end of the season, IIRC.

          If eliminated chefs were sent home, the word would be out immediately that they didn't win, making watching the show a moot point.

          1. re: LindaWhit

            That makes sense--sorry I don't know what I was thinking.

            1. re: chowser

              And I believe they did the filming this past summer - hence the 100+ degree temperatures for the entire season.

          2. re: chowser

            I agree, Chowser, except for one point. If you have already lost the competition, you can hang out in town and be the ultimate tourist on THEIR dime! :D Wonder if their families could come for a visit if they have lost already? Plus, that "face time" on future shows is probably pretty valuable for future employment/cookbooks/speaking engagements!

            1. re: Lesjes89

              I don't think they're allowed to tell anyone how they did or didn't do before it airs. These shows all have nondisclosure contracts with huge penalties.

          3. Here's LindaWhit's wrap up of week 7's LCK.

            For LCK - both Nyesha and Dakota get their envelopes at the TC house. They show up and see Whitney. And the four previous guys all show up to watch. The challenge is to use only a wok as their cooking pot, and they have to use one special ingredient in honor of the hosting state - cactus. 30 minutes using cactus and any other ingredient in the TC pantry. Richie asks Keith quietly if you can eat cactus raw, and Keith replies yes. Keith asks how Dakota is doing; she's shaking. Keith asks Nyesha what direction she's going in - she said Asian. Keith tells them they have 10 minutes to go, and then Andrew asks Whitney what she was going to do - she's doing a chicken-fried rice with cactus.

            Whitney does a Cactus and Chicken-Fried Rice with Sriracha.
            Nyesha does Asian Style Scallops with Prickly Pear Garnish, Cilantro and Thai Basil
            Dakota does a Shrimp Tostada with Watermelon and a Prickly Pear Shooter

            Tom then calls over the 4 guys to try the dishes. Tom tells the 3 cheftestants that they all worked the cactus into their dishes very well. Interesting winner!

            Thanks Linda for letting me copy & paste this.

            At the end Nyesha ousted Whitney. I'd like to see Nyesha make the come back but it's going to get prgressively harder each week to keep the jacket.

            10 Replies
            1. re: jcattles

              YAY, Nyesha! The one eliminated contestant I was bummed about.

              1. re: jcattles

                After reading Hugh's blog, he thinks very highly of Nyesha, she could go the distance. In this case her elimination was more Dakota's then her fault, though as pointed out she should have/could have done more checking on the progress of the most important element, but she either had put her trust in Dakota or felt she didn't want to be shrekish. In any case she has the skills to beat many of the chefs that remain.


                1. re: JuniorBalloon

                  shrekish has made the TC lexicon on Chow very quickly!

                  1. re: LurkerDan

                    Is that from my usage or is there really a Chow Lexicon of popular words?


                    1. re: JuniorBalloon

                      Just saw its multiple usage on the other thread, and then it jumped to here. And I knew what it meant.

                2. re: jcattles

                  Nyesha ousted Whitney but what about Dakota? She wasnt asked to take off her jacket.

                  1. re: C. Hamster

                    My understanding was that the 3 of them were competing against each other for the jacket, not Dakota & Nyesha against Whitney, Therefore, Nyesha is the reigning champion on LCK. Dakota & Whitney are done.

                    1. re: C. Hamster

                      Dakota and Nyesha were wearing chef's jackets, but not a Top Chef jacket (Dakota's was dark, so it may have seemed like a TC one). Dakota didn't have TC jacket on to take off.

                      1. re: LurkerDan

                        Thanks, jc and ld

                        I get it. Now Nyesha gets her Top Chef jacket back until someone beats her.

                    2. re: jcattles

                      "I'd like to see Nyesha make the come back but it's going to get prgressively harder each week to keep the jacket."

                      Well, considering that they've kept several chefs who don't seem to be of her caliber, if those are sent packing in the next few weeks she may not have as difficult a time for a while. And, more to the point, it's getting tougher for all of the chefs (still in competition) to stay each week and not have to PYKAG.

                    3. I generally agree, but Nyesha may be an exception, because she didn't get eliminated because of her poor food, she got eliminated because of Dakota's mistake.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: LurkerDan

                        It's so arbitrary and unfair. For both Nyesha and Dakota--I felt bad for both, especially w/ how Dakota acted about it.

                      2. My favorite LCK moment thus far is when Keith gave Chuy his chef's jacket and it enveloped Chuy when he put it on.

                        9 Replies
                        1. re: John E.

                          That was funny. It's also interesting and nice to see how the eliminated chefs appear to watch out for the other chefs. Asking questions and keeping them thinking about what their doing.


                          1. re: JuniorBalloon

                            Oh, I think that's just the ex-cheftestants wanting to have good footage to put together an audition tape for Next Food Network Star. :)

                            1. re: debbiel

                              That is such a snippy, internetish thing to say! :)


                              1. re: JuniorBalloon

                                I got the impression that they are encouraged to ask the questions; some of the questions seem far too wooden to be spontaneous.

                                1. re: LurkerDan

                                  That absolutely could be. One that sticks out was during the burger competition. Someone asked if they were going to grill or pan fry, they answered pan fry and that someone said you better start heating a pan as they were running out of time and the chef had clearly spaced on it.

                                  I'll have to listen more closely next time for the sound of wood. :)


                                  1. re: JuniorBalloon

                                    I think that was Chuy. Maybe. I just remember it actually drew an "Aw" out of me.

                                  2. re: LurkerDan

                                    The peanut gallery is all set up by the producers, not that they do not actually like each other. I'm also sure questions are suggested by the producers before hand.