Last Chance Kitchen 12/12 (spoilers)
So once again the chefs (individually) have to cook with the item that eliminated them, this time using both carrots and pickles. I'm still amazed at what they can do in 30 min, being told what the item is, gathering ingredients, cooking and plating it all - pretty amazing. The other chefs made me think of Chopped or Next Iron Chef getting all nervous watching the contestants rush to finish their dishes.
These descriptions are pretty basic but Tyler makes shrimp ceviche w/ cooked and raw carrot and pickles, Eliza does scallops crusted in paprika w/ brown butter carrot mash and some pickle succatash (?), CJ makes trout w/ charred pickles, carrot tops and carrot puree. A few small things were wrong with each of them but Tom liked them all and says CJ used the ingredients in the most interesting way. CJ of course thinks he's going to the finals. Not much else to say about this.
CJ annoys me. He keeps talking about "making his food" and how it will help him win - wasn't the burger his idea??
Did somebody already say this on the main Top Chef threads? .... Tyler reminds me of Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh. With the self-defeatist attitude of his, he had zero chance in this competition. I think the girl with the curly red hair is in the same boat. Oh, another thing, Tyler, lose the "take the 'L' out of lover because it's over". It was stupid when you said it in the stew room and you felt the need to say it again?
This last chance kitchen was particularly boring. Tyler already lost in his mind because he wasn't cooking *with* CJ but *against* him. Eliza was a gracious loser when she was told to pack her knives. She didn't seem to have much fight in her nor the desire to get back in the competition. She was glad to have properly cooked a carrot and would have happily walked off on that positive note.
CJ has almost zero chance of making it back into the contest. But he does have a decent chance to make an impressive run and redeem himself.
I don't think even the strongest of competitors could reliably win 10+ LCK challenges back-to-back. The odds are just too long. Worse, at least some of the competitors who will surely find themselves in LCK later in the season are probably better cooks than CJ - at least some of CJ's talk about upping his game was just bluster (see my criticism of his lamb kabobs two weeks ago).
But LCK does seem to remove some of the mental pitfalls of the main competition and favor those who are just good cooks. This might favor CJ for a while. He might also wind up facing weak-to-mediocre competition for a few weeks, which should help. Even though I've been critical of CJ, i still see him as a solid favorite over the likes of Josie and Micah, and a marginal favorite over several other competitors. A few newly learned tricks might serve him well here, though a little hay ice cream after a stage at Noma doesn't exactly make you Rene Redzepi or even a Voltaggio.