Mon. May 20th, 2024

Former ‘Top Chef’ champ Buddha Lo recaps season 21, episode 5, which started with a challenge themed around chef Carson Gulley

<p>David Moir/Bravo</p> Dan Jacobs, Rasika Venkatesa

David Moir/Bravo

Dan Jacobs, Rasika Venkatesa

Buddha Lo is a two-time Top Chef winner, executive chef at Hūso in New York City, and a Saratoga Spring Water brand ambassador. He is sharing his thoughts after each episode of Top Chef season 21, set in Wisconsin, offering a unique perspective as a former cheftestant.

Warning: This article contains spoilers.


The chefs went shopping at the farmers’ market in Madison this episode. I was in Madison when judging episode 4 and made a point to visit because it is the largest farmers’ market in the U.S. and it’s amazing. The chefs didn’t know the nature of the challenge beforehand and were shopping blind, making for an interesting episode.

They were on-their-toes when shopping thinking about possibilities, like not using their ingredients or having to swap.

Related: Top Chef‘s Dan Jacobs Opens Up About His Rare Disease: ‘It Was the Best of the Worst Possibilities’ (Exclusive)

<p>David Moir/Bravo</p> The chefs at the farmers' market

David Moir/Bravo

The chefs at the farmers’ market

For the challenge, the chefs had to adapt a sauce recipe from Wisconsin cooking pioneer Carson Gulley’s recipe to incorporate into their farmers’ market ingredients. Contestants drew cards to determine the sauce and Laura went through all the cards which was a tactical move that worked in her favor. Charly also got lucky with a sauce that favored his strengths giving him the win. Michelle got raisin sauce, and that was probably the most difficult. While it wasn’t a success, she has been cooking strong this season. 

<p>David Moir/Bravo</p> Laura Ozyilmaz on Top Chef episode 5

David Moir/Bravo

Laura Ozyilmaz on Top Chef episode 5


The Elimination Challenge was similar to Restaurant Wars. The chefs were invited to the Harvey House in Madison to sample a Supper Club.

They were divided into two teams each with five courses and $1,000 to shop. In teams I have been involved with, we gave equal amounts of money and shared if we had leftover money. Teamwork is key to winning — you have to work together to ensure the whole team is safe.

I felt like most people struggled. Danny only ended up with $75 and could not buy all his ingredients and it was an example of his team not being cohesive.

Laura seemed to go over her allotted share. She made two desserts — a tres leches cake and a drink.

Related: Top Chef: Buddha Lo Takes a Seat at the Judges’ Table and Two Cheftestants Pack Up Their Knives and Go


Dan won with a smart idea to do the creamy dip and the textured “soil.” It sounded delicious. It was up Dan’s alley. He had the local advantage. If I was in Australia and everyone was cooking Australian, I wouldn’t hold back either.

<p>David Moir/Bravo</p> Charly Pierre was sent home on Top Chef episode 5

David Moir/Bravo

Charly Pierre was sent home on Top Chef episode 5


After winning the Quickfire, Charly lost the Elimination Challenge. He cooked his rainbow trout for 25 minutes for a fish that takes only 3-4 minutes ensuring that he would be sent to Last Chance Kitchen. It almost sounded like that fish got cremated. Winning is about nailing your key component and Charly didn’t. There’s nothing that the judges can judge you on if the star of your dish isn’t cooked properly.

There’s starting to be a separation of who’s cooking interesting food. Restaurant Wars is just around the corner — and that’s like the halfway point, when the challenges are going to get tougher. They better get ready.

Top Chef airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET on Bravo.

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By admin