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Top Chef Recap: It's Just a Really Crowded Field at This Point

Two episodes down, plenty more to go.

Jason Stratton
Jason Stratton
Top Chef [Official Site]

Last night we saw night two of the two-night premiere of Bravo's Top Chef with Seattle's own Jason Stratton. At this point in the competition, with 15 other chefs running around, Stratton gets a little lost. It's expected because because he's not an egomaniacal so-and-so, a whiny piece of work, or "the super sassy chef from Kansas City"—the sort of people standing out at this point, and not for altogether good reasons. He seems to be keeping his head down and letting his food do the talking.

The elimination challenge is a team-based pop-up dinner focusing on different Los Angeles neighborhoods. The group is divided into four teams, and they're assigned to cook Mexican, Korean, vegan, and Persian food. Stratton's team lands at the Korean restaurant, which they seem upbeat about.

When the judges arrive, Stratton serves the team's four dishes, including his own chilled noodles with iced radish broth, cucumber, Asian pear, and egg. Overall, his team nets mixed reviews, but the judges seem to like Stratton's dish. They dig his noodles (duh), say that the Asian pear is a nice addition, and don't mention any criticisms. But nor do they seem overly blown away.

In the end, the Persian pop-up team wins, and it's no surprise given the judges' unequivocally enthusiastic response to their dishes. The winner this episode is Marjorie Meek-Bradley, who produces a yogurt mousse with pistachio sponge cake and saffron orange syrup that wins everyone over despite their skepticism about desserts on Top Chef.

The vegan team completely tanks, and they're up for elimination. Getting the boot is Renee Kelly, the aforementioned sassy Kansas City chef. Poor thing, she'll never live that description down. She heads to Last Chance Kitchen against last nights eliminated contestant, Garret Fleming.

Episode 3 airs next Thursday at 10 p.m. on Bravo. Meanwhile, Eater National has a  great overall recap of the two-part premiere.