SEASON 18 OF TOP CHEF IS HERE, and two (yes, two!) Houston chefs are competing for the ultimate prize ($250,000 and other things) in Portland, Oregon. We're keeping our eyes glued on Dawn Burrell (who's soon to open Late August) and Sasha Grumman (Sasha's Focaccia) as they battle each week (Thursday nights on Bravo).
The season continued with episode two Thursday night. How did our chefs do?
By the way ... SPOILERS BELOW.
How They Did
Once again, Burrell sees the lows and the highs of Top Chef. Contestants recreated a diner during the breakfast rush for the Quickfire Challenge, with the Houston duo facing off against one another on fried egg and veggie hash. The problem: Neither Burrell nor Grumman got their egg on the plate. Not good!
But Burrell bounced right back in the Elimination Challenge. Here the chefs drew knives to create a dish starring either beer or coffee. Then, just before service, they were told to team up. Burrell paired with Gabriel Pascuzzi on ribs with beer-infused watermelon. There was tension (Pascuzzi telling Burrell how to make ribs was not cute), but it didn't matter because Burrell's ribs were, in fact, fantastic. They were a high-finishing team and avoided elimination.
Welp. We should've realized that a spotlight feature on Sasha Grumman in episode one meant an impending elimination. Sadly, Grumman was the second contestant eliminated on Top Chef, and this after the A/V Club picked her to win it all. Dang.
As stated earlier, she took on Burrell in the Quickfire and did end up winning, though no brownie points were given. Obviously the Elimination Challenge was her downfall. She teamed with friend Brittany Anderson on beer-marinated pork loin with beer, milk stout vinaigrette, and coffee romesco and hazelnut crunch. Nope, didn't work. The judges didn't like it. She was gone.
If Burrell can ... you know ... get her timing down, she might just be a favorite. She certainly has the skills. As it is, she's one critical stumble away from meeting the same fate as our other local chef.
Of course, Grumman could still win Top Chef by first winning in the web series Last Chance Kitchen, where eliminated contestants face off in a one-on-one battle, the victor progressing each week until no more eliminated chefs remain. The winner of Last Chance Kitchen (sometimes two people who participate come back) gets back into the main competition.
She's on her way, beating the first eliminated chef, Roscoe Hall, with chicken-fried oyster with miso, cherimoya and green apple puree, and toasted pistachios. Now she'll have to beat everyone who's eliminated week after week after week. That's a lot of victories, but if anyone can do it, maybe it's Grumman.