‘Top Chef: Last Chance Kitchen’: First World All-Stars battle for survival was a blast from the past [Watch]
Samuel Albert and Dawn Burrell were the first two chefs eliminated from “Top Chef” season 20, which has brought together winners and finalists from around the world. They had to pack their knives and go on very different dishes for very different reasons, but their face-to-face challenge on “Last Chance Kitchen” to try to stay in the competition tapped into what they have in common. Watch their “LCK” episode above.
Albert was ousted in “London Calling” on a vegetable dish where he failed to clean his prawns properly. Multiple judges were served dishes with the prawns’ intestinal tracts not removed — a truly unappetizing mistake. Burrell was eliminated in “Rice, Rice Baby“; she tried to make a black rice congee, but she didn’t have enough time to cook her rice fully, resulting in a dish that was crunchy when it should have been creamy.
But their shot at redemption had nothing to do with prawns or rice. Instead, “LCK” host and judge Tom Colicchio presented them with familiar ingredients from their pasts. Burrell was a finalist in “Top Chef: Portland,” while Albert was a winner of “Top Chef France.” So Colicchio tasked them with recreating dishes they made in their finale episodes — except this time they’d only have 30 minutes.
Albert made a Japanese-French fusion dish of grilled salmon with mushroom cream, mushrooms, and pine nut vinaigrette. Burrell whipped up a pan-roasted lamb saddle with shito tomato salad and herb bread crumbs. And the winner was … Burrell! Though she had some trouble initially cooking her tomatoes and balancing the heat in her dish, she ultimately had the more flavorful meal. Colicchio didn’t get enough Japanese flavor from Albert’s Japanese fusion, and he also needed to season his dish more.
“If I have the opportunity as my dream to open a restaurant in the US, definitely I will also have to adapt the palate,” admitted Albert, who is now out of the competition for good. “They like salt.”
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