‘Top Chef: Seattle’ has more twists and turns than Mercer Island Way. In its tenth season, “Top Chef” is putting its cheftestants on an emotional roller coaster and throwing viewers for a loop — after loop, after loop.
Return of the Mack / Double Elimination
First, host Padma Lakshmi springs it on the chefs that past seasons’ favorites C.J. Jacobsen, Josie Smith-Malave, and top flirt Stefan Richter — who as a threesome judge this season’s first quick fire challenge — will don chef’s jackets and join the competition. Now, in last night’s episode (Nov. 28, 2012), it’s announced the challenge would result in two chefs being sent home — a double elimination.
Last Chance Kitchen
Ultimately, Carla Pellegrino and Chrissy Camba are asked to pack their knives, but the twists continue after the show. In a webisode on BravoTV.com, head judge Tom Colicchio visits the eliminated chefs — Jeffrey Jew and Kuniko Yagi, along with Carla and Chrissy — to inform them, “We’re doing ‘Last Chance Kitchen’ again.” As in last season, the eliminated chef each week will compete against the prior week’s “Last Chance” winner, and the last chef standing will return to the “Top Chef” competition.
One More Last Chance
Kuniko is the winner of the first “Last Chance” round, leaving Jeffrey, Carla and Chrissy in the running for — seriously — yet another surprising chance at redemption. Bravo announced this morning that fans can vote to bring back their favorite eliminated chef through the “Save A Chef” campaign. Each week, one chef who is technically out of the running will be put back into contention by receiving the most tweets and texts.
Zap2it spoke to Carla about the new twist, and she admits at first she was not pleased. “I felt confused,” Carla says, asking herself, “Do I want to go back there? I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go through it. I was set to go on with my life.” Carla, a colorful character whom many fans were disappointed to see go so quickly, eventually came around. Now she says her phone is “blowing up” and she’s ready to compete.
During the first round, Pellegrino says she lacked the drive to win. “I wasn’t playing. I’m so bossy and I’m so loud, but this is not me trying to win; it’s me day by day.” The loud and colorful Brazilian born chef, whose food is influenced by her Portuguese and Italian descent, realizes she should have focused more on a strategy for the game. “I wasn’t trying to prove anything, and I think I should have,” she says. And with “Save A Chef” now in the mix, Carla just might get the chance to do that.
For her part, Chrissy says she was immediately elated to hear of the new twist, but she’s not sure of her potential to be voted back in. “I know it’s a popularity contest, and I’m not the hottest chick on the block,” Chrissy tells Zap2it. “But hopefully I can come back and do what I planned to do, which is win ‘Top Chef.'”
It looks like “Top Chef” is going to continue to inundate viewers and competitors with weekly shockers. In a preview of next week’s episode, Colicchio angrily tells the cheftestants, “This was actually a pretty poor showing … There’s an entire team going home.” It can’t feel good to disappoint Chef Tom. But it sure will be fun to watch the chefs squirm.