Take the chefs out to the ballgame! Season 12 episode 3 of “Top Chef” brought the Boston, Massachusetts, cast to Fenway Park for this week’s competition in “The Curse of the Bambino.” Ahead of their elimination challenge, the 13 remaining chefs competed in a sudden death quickfire challenge. With chef and Blue Ginger owner Ming Tsai serving as a guest judge, the contestants had to make a dish incorporating the use of different varieties of tea as an ode to the Boston Tea Party.
Despite Ming’s unease over Gregory’s combination of fruit and fish in his strawberry and white tea-infused dish, he ultimately chose him as the winner of the quickfire competition. Calling his creation “spot on,” Ming commended Gregory for having the best sauce of the day.
“It feels so good. I’m definitely here to play,” Gregory said after winning immunity.
Unfortunately for Aaron, his inability to grab the yellowtail in time left him utilizing a protein he was unfamiliar with cooking, monkfish cheeks. His gun powder spearmint tea meal ultimately failed to impress Ming and fellow judge Padma Lakshmi, the duo both deeming the fish overcooked. After placing last, Aaron was forced to pick another contestant he felt confident he could beat in a sudden death cook-off. The Tacoma, Washington, native with no formal culinary education chose Katie, a Minnesota-based culinary instructor, to be his competitor.
“It’s an easy choice,” Aaron said. ”Katie’s cooking style really bores me and I would really like to beat a culinary school instructor.”
While Katie said she felt confident she could beat Aaron, her homemade pasta dish (made in 30 minutes with boiling water as her only source of heat) came in second to Aaron’s shrimp springroll. Due to Aaron placing first, neither chef was sent packing.
After Aaron’s shocking winning, the chefs were informed that Fenway Park would play host to their next culinary competition. With three hours to cook in the “Top Chef” kitchen and one-hour to prepare in the concession kitchens on-site, the chefs were given the task of making a fine dish inspired by a classic stadium snack.
Despite being granted immunity in the quickfire challenge, it was Gregory who was deemed the winner in the elimination challenge for his roasted duck and peanut dish. The judges called his ballpark meal beautiful in both appearance and taste.
“It feels good,” Gregory said of his second consecutive win. “I just want to keep pushing very, very hard and keep trying to be as creative as possible.”
Following Gregory’s win, the judges deemed chefs Ron, Keriann and Katsuji’s dishes the bottom three of the day. So who was sent home? Ultimately it was Ron, an Atlanta, Georgia executive chef and restaurant owner, who as told to pack his knifes after serving an oversized fish croquet and popcorn soup.
“It was just kinda hard to get past the messiness of it,” judge Tom Colicchio said.
“I’m better than what I showed today. There is no doubt that I’m better than the people who are still in that kitchen right now,” Ron said.
Despite his initial negativity over being sent home so early in the game, Ron later called his time on the series positive.
“This experience kind of reaffirmed my pure passion for food and cooking,” he said. “It’s easy to get distracted by all the non-food parts of running restaurants. I’ll definitely go back with kind of a renewed vigor for doing what I know I love doing, cooking great food.”
“Top Chef” airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. EDT on Bravo.