Just a few weeks remain in “Top Chef” season 13, and while we’re glad Orange County’s Amar Santana has made it this far, nearing the end means the pressure is racheted up to a fearsome level. He returned to the safe middle last time, after the previous week’s French-food pinnacle—and with so few competitors left, there’s not much middle to inhabit. But surviving until the final is key, and we’ll happily take the safe middle to get there.
This week the action’s in San Francisco, where fancy toast is the basis for a Quickfire with sudden-death consequences. Elimination by toast? So it appears—watch the preview here. Then, the show takes a nostalgic turn when the cheftestants, judges, and guests move on to chef Hubert Keller’s Fleur de Lys, site of the very first “Top Chef” season. They’re ostensibly bidding the restaurant farewell—which is kind of weird, considering it closed in 2014. Temporary resurrection is apparently achieved with a dose of reality TV magic—does it look fully functional in this video?
After that feat, I can only wonder what the elimination challenge will be. Not to mention, who wins and who loses. This must be a two-eliminatee ep… one in the Quickfire and one in the second challenge. Of course, we’ve seen all manner of deviation from form, so almost anything can happen. There is only to watch.
Catch up on my earlier Taste of Orange County “Top Chef” posts here.
UPDATE: Well, the worst happened. In the sudden-death Quickfire, Amar Santana was eliminated, and all over a benighted piece of toast. Of course this means he moves to “Last Chance Kitchen,” along with Carl Dooley, who was knocked out in the elimination challenge. Both face the formidable, or at least formerly formidable, Jason Stratton—in the three-way fight, Stratton is eliminated for good and Dooley and Santana are left to face off for the remaining spot in the final four. We won’t know the outcome until next week, when the winner joins the other three finalists in Las Vegas, but I think we all agree on who we’re pulling for. Go Amar!