With just 10 Boston cheftestants left, things got heated on “Top Chef” Wednesday night. The Season 12 contestants battled it out for a win and a cash prize in the “It’s War” quickfire challenge with guest judge, chef Jamie Bissonnette. Their elimination challenge had the chefs going back in time, making a Revolutionary War-themed meal on a budget.
For episode 5's quickfire challenge, the chefs went head-to-head, picking their own competitors in a Reynolds-sponsored competition. While each of the chefs brought out their best in an effort to win the $10K cash prize, ultimately it was Gregory, the competition’s front-runner, who walked away with the win.
“There really only one person to me who knocked it over the green monster and out of the park,” Jamie said before giving Gregory first place for his steamed shrimp dumpling with ginger and herbs. “If you had a New York City dumpling truck, there would be a line around the block," he said.
After going directly up against Mei, a longtime dumpling chef, Gregory said he was thrilled to win over her traditional pork dumpling dish and the other top five quickfire chefs. “[I] Definitely took a risk and I feel so proud of myself that I was able to beat out the dumpling princess today,” he said.
Unfortunately for Gregory, his win did not make him immune from the weekly elimination challenge which had the chefs creating dishes based on the five most critical battles of the Revolutionary War. Host Padma Lakshmi announced that the 10 remaining contestants would be split into two groups for the competition, with the top five quickfire chefs on one team and the losing five on another. The winning team would be safe from elimination.
Competiting directly against one other chef was not the only cause of tensions of the cast. Despite being required to serve 100 people at the historic Watertown Arsenal, there war-themed dishes also had a rationed budget, with each team only allowed $1K in grocery money.
After the cooking battle, which resulted in the quickfire losers (red) team’s loss, and Aaron Grissom's tense words with his competitor Katie (“If [Katie’s] chocolate cake kills me today, I will shoot myself in the face”), the Tacoma, Washington, chef was sent packing for his subpar Asian-inspired pork meatball with scallop noodle dish. “Aaron, I think you just tried way to do way too much with this dish and I think you let your team down and yourself down,” judge Tom Colicchio said.
Despite being eliminated, Aaron, who was the only chef on Season 12 without an educational background in the culinary arts, bowed out of the competition gracefully. “It’s been a complete honor and a pleasure just to stand in the grace of all of you,” Aaron told the judges and his co-stars. “I’ve had an amazing time and I just thank you for that.”
“Top Chef” airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. EST on Bravo.